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Noisy neighbours

Dealing with them (and their dogs)

If you live with lots of neighbours nearby, there’s a high chance you’ve been kept awake by a raucous party (and possibly held a raucous party of your own) – or you’ve been woken by their early morning workout routines, a dog barking or even just the clatter of hard heels on timber floors.

When things get really noisy, our first reaction might be to angrily confront the neighbours, or call the council or police, but such approaches might not always be the most effective.

So, what should you do when noise gets too loud? Try these steps.

  1. Check body corporate/ owners’ corporations rules. Some body corporate/ owners’ corporations have rules in place as to when noise levels have to be lowered. They also may have dispute resolution procedures, especially if your apartment complex has a building manager.

  2. Chat to your neighbours. If you feel comfortable doing so, take a few deep breaths and knock on their door, alert them to the noise problem and explain why it’s bothering you. Keep a level head, be friendly and have some solutions in mind.

  3. Write a note to your neighbours. You can put your name to it or do it anonymously, but at least be polite and explain the problem rationally and suggest reasonable options. You’re more likely to get a better response.

  4. Keep a record of noisy incidents. This is especially helpful when loud dog barking is a problem as often owners are away when this happens and are unaware of it being a problem.

  5. Chat to other neighbours. They might also be bothered by the noise and will help support your complaint or even offer other solutions. The committee members live there too so there may be some common interest in maintaining standards of behaviour.

  6. Get help from the Owners Corporation/Strata committee. The committee members live there too so there may be some common interest in maintaining standards of behaviour.

  7. Check local council and EPA laws. Simply explaining to your neighbour that certain noise outside specified times (e.g. music after 11pm and machinery after 8pm) could fall foul of the law, might be enough.

  8. As a last resort, notify authorities. This could be the body corporate, the police, or your local council. Such a step should only be taken after all other reasonable options have failed.

What if I get the noisy neighbour note?

Always stay calm and rational.If the note is anonymous, take on board what they’ve said and think about how you can keep doing what you’re doing but at different times or with a little less noise.

If they have spoken to you in person or left contact details, consider a reasonable solution that makes everyone happy. Always remain calm and rational (even if they don’t) – after all, these may well be people you have to pass every day, which can make things even more awkward.