Dealing with noisy neighbours

le 4I am sure it won’t surprise you to know that noise is a very common cause of disputes between neighbours. Although you may think your neighbour is the noisiest person in the world, I can assure you they’re are plenty more who are worse.

Whether it’s noise from the apartment above you or the house or business next door, it’s something that’s part of the drama of daily life and you have to find ways to manage it rather than go crazy with the stress of it all. If you can, try to sort the problem out with your neighbour before going to the police, council or your body corporate. It’s always best to find a solution to the problem directly and keep on speaking terms.
Think about the best way to raise the issue with them. Be constructive and suggest ways to solve the problem, rather than just complaining, blaming them or demanding they keep the noise down.
For example, if your neighbour likes mowing the lawn very early on Sunday morning, you could ask them to do it later in the day. Although it’s often best to talk to them face to face first, if your worried and unsure how they will react you can always write to them stating the problem. Keep your correspondence and any communication polite. As my grandma use to say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Neighbourhood problems can be very upsetting and generate a lot of emotion, so if you talk to a neighbour about noise:

♦ Pick a time when your neighbour won’t be too busy
♦ Stay calm and explain how the problem is affecting you
♦ Give your neighbour a chance to tell their side of the story
♦ Be prepared to listen …and let the other person know you are listening
♦ Try working on a resolution together
♦ Take time to work on a solution and get it right

Your local councils will most probably have local laws to control and prohibit noise. Those laws are worth checking on the local council’s website to determine whether a particular noise problem is covered in your area. Some councils have local laws that deal, for example, with barking dogs and machinery noise from home “workshops”. Any complaints about noise should be directed to the Environmental Health Officer at your council.

Noisy Industry and Business in the Neighbourhood

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)
If you are a resident concerned about commercial or industrial noise you can report the noise to EPA or your local council. EPA mainly investigates noise from industries such as EPA-licensed sites and manufacturing sites. Investigations into noise from shops and other small commercial premises are usually resolved at the local level, and reports should be made to your local council.

SA    http://www.epa.sa.gov.au/
QLD  https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/ (Called the Dept. of Environment and Heritage Protection)
VIC   http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/
NSW  http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/
WA:  http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/
TAS  http://epa.tas.gov.au/epa/
NT    http://www.ntepa.nt.gov.au/
ACT  http://www.environment.act.gov.au/environment/environment_protection_authority

Help and Assistance

NSW
Dispute Resolution
Mediation is available across NSW through Community Justice Centres (CJCs). It is a free and confidential service.
Noise Complaints
Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where the noisy neighbour might also be threatening. Call the police assistance line in NSW on 131 444 if the noise is non urgent or not related to violence.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise.

VIC
Dispute Resolution
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) provides information on how to deal with disputes and a free dispute resolution service. It is funded by the Victorian Government.
Noise Complaints
Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where the noisy neighbour might also be threatening. Call your local police station if the noise is non urgent or not related to violence.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise.

QLD
Dispute Resolution
The Qld government provides information on how to approach your neighbour when you’re concerned about noise and using mediation when that fails. Also includes contact numbers when dealing with noisy cars and pubs and clubs.
The above link also includes the contact numbers for all state wide dispute resolution centres in Queensland.
Noise Complaints
Contact Policelink on 131 444 or your local police station to complain about a party, loud music or other noise.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant Nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise. SA Dispute Resolution Mediation

SA
Dispute Resolution
Mediation SA offers free dispute resolution for neighbours. http://mediationsa.org.au/
Noise Complaints
Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where the noisy neighbour might also be threatening. Call the police assistance line in South Australia on 131 444 if the noise is non urgent or not related to violence.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant Nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise.

TAS
Dispute Resolution
Relationships Australia (Tasmania) offers a low cost mediation service for neighbours. The service is a fee-for-service program. Any concerns about your ability to pay the fee can be discussed with the dispute resolution practitioner.

kid on phoneNoise Complaints
Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where the noisy neighbour might also be threatening. Call the police assistance line in Tasmania on 131 444 if the noise is non urgent or not related to violence.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant Nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise.

WA
Dispute Resolution
Relationships Australia (WA) offers a low cost mediation service for neighbours. The service is a fee-for-service program. Any concerns about your ability to pay the fee can be discussed with the dispute resolution practitioner.
Noise Complaints
Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where the noisy neighbour might also be threatening. Call the police assistance line in WA on 131 444 if the noise is non urgent or not related to violence.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant Nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise.

NT
Dispute Resolution
The Community Justice Centre offers a hassle free way to sit down and work out solutions to noise and other neighbour problems in the Territory.
Noise Complaints
Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where the noisy neighbour might also be threatening. Call the police assistance line in the Territory on 131 444 if the noise is non urgent or not related to violence.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant Nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise.

ACT
Dispute Resolution
The Conflict Resolution Service offers a low cost mediation service for neighbours in the Capital.
Noise Complaints
Police are best placed to respond to late night noise such as parties, or issues where the noisy neighbour might also be threatening. Call the police assistance line in the Capital on 131 444 if the noise is non urgent or not related to violence.
Call 000 if the noise you are hearing is about domestic (or other) violence, or if it’s about a party that is getting out of control.
Constant Nuisance noise (dogs, machinery etc)
Local councils are most suited to address long-term issues such as machine and animal noise.