We’ve all been there – you’re trying to get some sleep before work tomorrow and the neighbour’s TV or stereo is blaring. Noise from neighbours can often be an unwanted part of living in strata, so here are the best options to address the problem.
Option 1: Have a conversation
First and foremost, attempt to talk the problem out. Your neighbour may be unaware that they’re causing issues and may be able to put a stop to the noise straight away.
Option 2: Contact the police or local council
If you’re still having a problem with a loud party, music or other noise problem then you can contact the police or your council as per the local noise restrictions. The following are the restrictions on residential noise within the North Sydney council area, for example.
|Noise Source||Time Restrictions||Contact|
|Power tools and equipment, including gardening tools.||8pm to 7am on weekdays and Saturdays 8pm to 8am on Sundays and public holidays||Local council or PoliceLink (131 444)|
|Musical instruments and sound equipment including TVs and stereos.||(a) before 8am and after midnight on any Friday, Saturday or day immediately before a public holiday, or (b) before 8am and after 10pm on any other day.||Local council or PoliceLink (131 444)|
|Air-conditioners||10pm to 7am on weekdays 10pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays||Local council or PoliceLink (131 444)|
|Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises)||8pm to 7am on weekdays 8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays||Local council or PoliceLink (131 444)|
|Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles||8pm to 7am on weekdays 8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays||Local council or PoliceLink (131 444)|
Most Sydney councils will have an after-hours hotline for noise complaints. Prevention notices, noise control notices and noise abatement directions can be issued and penalty notices can apply for breaches of legislation, plus on-the-spot fines can be issued for repeat episodes.
Option 3: Write to your strata committee
Your strata by-laws are likely to define some noise restrictions similar to the model by-laws set out in the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 and these may include sound from pets, children, guests and floor coverings. If you have a continuing problem you can write a letter to your strata committee who can request Real Property Services to take steps such as notifying the alleged offender, and their landlord if they are renting. If this does not resolve the problem we may be able to issue a Notice to Comply, which can be escalated through an application to the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for resolution.
If the sound of walking on hardwood floors in an upstairs unit are driving you crazy, then your strata manager is also a good first contact where you can check your strata scheme’s by-laws. The owner may have an obligation to address their sound insulation depending on these by-laws. Ultimately, you or your owners corporation could be entitled to apply to NCAT to force the lot owner to take action.
Noise from neighbours can be a complex issue and if you are having an ongoing problem within your strata block, your strata manager should be able to point you in the right direction. Contact Real Property Services on 02 9960 4713 for further information.