Stephen Raff
Stephen Raff Contributed

Neighbours seek a night of silence

SIMPLY put, close proximity living brings people… closer. Pretty obvious, right?

It astounds me the number of owners who tell their strata manager that if they were aware of the noise their neighbours made then they would never have purchased a strata property.

Noise has a knack for travelling through walls, around fences and often directly into the bedroom of a restless sleeper who is left wondering how they are possibly going to get through work tomorrow in their sleep-deprived state.

How do I make it stop?

The first option should always be to communicate.

If your neighbour has suddenly decided to try their hand at carpentry late at night, normally they are not even aware that they have become a nuisance to their neighbours.

Make an arrangement that benefits all involved.

Sometimes you may have to rearrange your schedule slightly to accommodate your neighbour.

Remember it is not always just about you when sharing common property.

What if the noise is from common property?

If there's a leaking pipe or faulty electricity cabling, inform a committee member from your strata community immediately with as much detail as possible.

The committee members can then decide to have areas checked or repaired by a tradesperson and hopefully stop the noise in a timely manner.

The forgetful neighbour

Your neighbour has agreed to keep it down. For the first week it is silent bliss… then to your horror the noise comes back with a vengeance and your follow-up attempts fall on deaf ears.

Speak to your strata committee and have them draft a strongly worded letter outlining how the noise is affecting other residents.

Hopefully this resolves the issue, if not an alternative such as dispute resolution may have to be looked at.

If a baby is causing noise that is affecting other people, unlike unruly parties or power tools, we can't limit the time a baby

decides to cry.

How can I protect my apartment from noise?

Ear plugs: sounds simple, but probably the most effective noise-cancelling device for a good night's sleep.

Double-glazed windows: this is particularly effective in reducing noise from car traffic.

Thick curtains will also create another barrier for the noise.

Plasterboard: proper insulation at the time of building will play a big part in noise reduction, so it is important to check insulation quality before buying.

What are my other


Rules: it is important when you are moving into a strata community to understand your strata community's rules or bylaws, as they may differ from other properties.


Generally, most rules or bylaws in Australia will say something along the lines of "An owner or occupier of a lot must not unreasonably create any noise likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any other person entitled to use the common property".

Local council: most councils will have a hotline for environmental noise concerns and can be contacted 24/7. A noise traffic controller can then investigate unacceptable noise and decide if further action is needed.

It is important that owners have a detailed record of when the noise has been occurring.

Owners are encouraged to check with their local council and understand their specific noise complaint procedure.

Police: if there is no other alternative, particularly late at night, the police are the best avenue to having any unruly noise reduced. An on-the-spot fine can be imposed on anyone who continues to make noise after being directed to stop.

Alternative dispute resolution?

The next step, in most Australian states and territories, is to seek help from a government-run tribunal.

These authorities make legally binding decisions about how disputes are to be settled.

Tribunals are run like mini courts with similar protocols and processes, although not quite as


Reasonable communication with your neighbour should always be the first option when dealing with a noise complaint.

Most people can be quite accommodating when spoken to in a nice way.

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