Neighbours

Noisy neighbours: where to start!

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Noise is a major instigator of disputes between neighbours. Whether it be a loud party with music blasting into the early hours of the morning each and every weekend, consistent yelling throughout the days or inconsiderate mowing of the lawn disrupting the sacred Sunday sleep in, noise disputes arise in an abundance of situations and can be difficult to approach.

Noise is legislated under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and is defined to include both vibration and sound. The Act makes provision for “offensive noise” being noise that is harmful to a person outside of the premises emitting noise, or noise that interferes with the response or comfort of a person outside of the premises in an unreasonable manner. In order to determine whether noise falls into this definition, the nature, quality, character and level of noise is to be considered.

Despite some noises being specifically prohibited under Regulations that Police and Local Council govern, neighbours can be uncertain about how to approach noises that don’t easily fall into this category. So what do should you do?

1.     Raise your concerns with your Neighbour in a pleasant manner

Whilst one of the simplest options, it may be overlooked to have a pleasant conversation with your neighbour. Noise issues may be simply resolved and neighbours may then be made aware of the impact of their behaviours.

2.     Mediate

In the event that your neighbours don’t respond in the reasonable manner you hope for and the problem continues to persist, you can engage a mediator (being a neutral third party) to assist in resolving the dispute. This gives the neighbours an opportunity to talk with each other and clarify their position on the dispute, talk and be heard. The mediator then can help the neighbours develop options that may resolve the dispute, that perhaps parties had not yet considered.

3.     Consider a Noise Complaint

If the noise continues and your neighbour is unwilling to compromise or reduce their noise, a complaint can be made to Police or the Local Council.

Whilst this may be a person’s first consideration, it should be considered whether the noise and “offense” arising from the noise validates potentially deteriorating the relationship you have with your neighbour. It is essential to remember that whilst some activities can be noisy or annoying, neighbours will continue to reside near you and some things can be tolerated rather than inflaming a situation which could worsen.

4.     Apply for a Noise Order

As a matter of last recourse, a person is able to make an Application in the Local Court addressing the noise and seeking a binding, enforceable Order that the neighbour stop or control a certain type of noise. This is known as a noise abatement order. Essentially, the neighbour will be prohibited from breaking the Order and could face legal consequences for the breach.

If you require advice on how to approach a neighbourhood dispute, would like further information on mediation avenues, have queries about noise complaints or require representation to respond to a noise complaint, Coutts has the experience to assist you. To receive personalised advice on your particular issue, please contact (02) 4647 7577 to book an initial appointment with our Disputes Resolution Team.

If you have any questions or for further information contact:

Riley Earle
Lawyer
riley@couttslegal.com.au
02 4607 2114

 

 

 

This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

Mediation – Know the basics

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Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process which aims to resolve disputes in a cost effective and efficient manner. The mediation process allows those involved in a dispute to meet with an independent third party, known as a mediator and genuinely attempt to reach a resolution prior to court proceedings.

The mediator plays a crucial role in mediation, acting as a neutral person responsible for ensuring that parties have an opportunity to communicate their goals, issues and desires to reach a resolution across a wide range of disputes. The additional benefit is that all discussions within mediation are kept confidential.

Mediation has cemented itself as a successful step in resolving disputes across various areas of law including but not limited to family law matters such as property settlement and neighbourhood disputes.

Further, parties are able to participate in mediation in public formats, such as community justice centres or privately through mediation centres. Therefore, the timeline for when parties can meet to discuss their dispute may vary as per the avenue they select.

What are the benefits?

Mediation is known for the many benefits it offers to parties of a dispute. Such benefits include:

1.     Cost effectiveness: Mediation is more cost effective than Court proceedings;

2.     Informality: The informal nature of mediation allows people to feel more comfortable negotiating and discussing the issue at hand;

3.     Preservation of Relationships: If both parties are willing, mediation may also preserve the relationship of the parties in comparison to Court proceedings given the cooperative nature of mediation being less adversarial than Court;

4.     Time efficiency: The Court process is often time heavy and may take several weeks, month or even years to achieve a Court Order. As such, mediation gives the opportunity for a matter to be settled in a time effective manner;

5.     Varying Agreements: Often when a matter is brought before a court, a Court is limited in their ability to customise agreements and Orders. Mediation allows for both parties to customise and modify their agreement to best suit the circumstances of the parties.

What happens if it doesn’t work?

Often once a resolution is agreed upon by the parties, it can then be formalised in writing and upheld as an agreement, however if a resolution is not achieved, parties can commence Court proceedings, depending on the nature of the matter.  

If you are experiencing a dispute that you need assistance in resolving, please contact Coutts on (02) 4647 7577 to book an initial appointment so we may assess your legal options for dispute resolution.  

If you have any questions or for further information contact:

Riley Earle
Lawyer
riley@couttslegal.com.au
02 4607 2114

 

 

 

This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.