NSW What to Do about Neighbours' Frequent Noise Pollution ?

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7 October 2015
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I was hoping for some help...
Kind of a long story but I will only list the main events.
Also please excuse my typing, I did this on my iPhone.

Anyways we are owner occupiers living in a free standing property who since moving in about four months ago have been experiencing problems with noisy neighbours who rent the property next door.

When we moved in our neighbours where a single mum (40'ish), 2 daughters with Green P's (20?) and a boyfriend plus 2 giant dogs.

On our very first Friday night in our first home, our neighbours had a party until well past 2am with the music being so loud we had to abandon our living room and could still hear their music in our bedroom. We did not take any action, figuring it could simply be a one off event... We were so wrong.

The next weekend our neighbours decided to clean their house whilst blasting out music at full volume with all their windows and door open. I went and knock on my neighbours door asking them to please turn the music down. The mother's response was "it's only 2pm".

I explained that the music was so loud we could hear it throughout our entire house. She replied "and?" I tired to reason with her and asked her to turn it down, she said "no". I then asked her to least turn the sub woofer/base down. She replied "don't know how". Needless to say I walked away with the matter unresolved and the music continued until around 6pm.

This behaviour of parties or loud music continues for another 2 months until we finally had enough and called the police one Wednesday evening when their TV volume was so loud we could hear it over our TV in our living room.

The very next Saturday night they had another party, so another call to the police. After the police left, the 2 daughter actually came around and told me off for calling the police. Apparently it being "11pm and having a party" is a valid reason to ruin your neighbours evening.

When I told them we had to abandon our living room they replied "you have other rooms". They also told me no one had ever complained before, this I find hard to believe. At this point they started to verbally insult me so I shut the door on them. Anyways 5 minutes later the music returned. Come midnight, we called the police again, police revisited yet at 3am the music was still playing. Really wish I had called the cops a 3rd time.

Now after that event we contacted the EPA Council and their Landlord. The EPA tells me that any noise that disturbs my rest and relaxation in my home and yard is an "offensive noise". The police told me we could call 24/7 for a noise complaint, the council paid them a visit and the landlord sent them a letter. There is basically no way they can not know or understand the noise pollution laws within NSW.

Yet despite all this they still continued. Yet another Saturday night party another police call and the minute they left the took revenge on use by blasting out Queens "we are the champions" and "rock you" music louder than ever before whilst screaming and banging on the fence in time with the music before returning to their duff duff music.

Yet more calls to the council and their landlord (asked them to attend a meeting still have not) and we also requested mediation though the CJC (still have not replied and it has been 2 weeks).

Now this is where it gets interesting, we don't believe the mother resides next door anymore as we only ever see her car a few times a month and since the last round of phone calls, their behaviour has changed, well slightly....

They now seem to like inviting guests over every weekend (11 to 8) and when we consider the timing of this it really feels like they have changed tactics on purpose to get revenge on us. Basically they play music in the back garden (not as loud as previous) but also have very loud conversations (we can hear ever word, they scream / sing with the music plus yell a lot at each. Plus they are letting 2 small kids run riot (not my neighbours kid's) plus the 2 large dogs get excited with all the people and kids around and bark a lot. The "adults" actually cause more noise than the kids and the dogs combined.

Now it is certainly not the same type of noise disturbance as previous complaints but a similar overall noise level and effect on us.

Don't misunderstand me, we understand kids and dogs make noise but they are making more noise than all our other neighbours combined who also have kids and dogs. We also don't care about car noise, lawn mowers and all other general neighbourhood noises as they are normal and to be expected.

But at the moment, we are forced keep our living room windows and patio door closed and roll down our security shutter to limit the amount of noise from them in our living room and even then we can still hear them, our garden is so noisy you have no hope of relaxing and we are simply dreading ever weekend.
Not to mention the loss of sleep and stress this is causing me and the feeling that it is ruining our first home.

What I would like to know is the following....
1. What my legal options are if all landlord, council and police action fail the stop this behaviour or if we simply have had enough and want it ended more quickly?
2. Is the landlord responsible for the behaviour of their tenants?
3. If the mediation goes ahead, is there any suggestion on how to deal with these problems during mediation?
4. Does it really matter what the disturbance is (music or guests) if it is frequent and has the same effect on me and my wife?

And finally and I know this is more of a personal option and less legal.
1. Is it reasonable of me to expect my neighbour to keep the noise down to a level where I can relax in my own home and yard 24/7 as the EPA guidelines seems to indicate it is.

Again sorry about the length of the post and my bad typing. If you have any questions or require further information please ask.

Regards
 
S

Sophea

Guest
As a last resort you could consider a legal action in private nuisance. It may be costly and a lot of work but ultimately the tenants and the landlord may be liable for the nuisance if you can prove it to a court. Take a read of this article about it: Nuisance - The Law Hand Book
 
21 January 2017
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Hi,

Just noticed this is a little over a year old. I'm currently having a very similar problem with my neighbours after buying my first home. Can you tell me of you have resolved the problem yet and how you actually got any positive result?

The blatant disregard for noise from the neighbours is extremely emotional and anxiety inflicting. I feel anxious coming home knowing that most nights I'm in for zero peace and quiet. I feel exhausted and my whole world feels like it's affected by the selfish actions of my neighbours.

One night the police even said to me, "They have the right to live as well," and it was like a punch in the guts from the authorities, to hear them say that basically my peace and quiet wasn't as much of a right as the neighbours right to play loud bass music. If you can give me any advice from your own experience I'd greatly appreciate it.

Going insane
 
7 October 2015
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Hello Alice,

We felt exactly the same way and it took a long time and at lot of persistence but all has been good for almost a year now.

Frankly what that police office said was wrong and they should know better.

Anyways with all the research, phone calls, internet, etc and my understanding is that the moment their noise prevents their neighbours relaxing in peace and quiet in their own home, they are in breach of the peace - end f story.

This is in accordance with the EPA Enviormental Protection act (enforced by the council and police) and if they are renting NSW Fair Trading Residential Tenacy Act and their possibly their lease.

Also the courts have held an owners & real estate agents accountable for tenants behaviour.

I suggest you start by reading the above and contacting the council (personally don't bother with estate agents if they rent they wasted our time).

Feel free to call the police every time they cause a disturbance and if you don't like what the police do or say, visit the police station and ask for the duty office or whoever is in charge.
Basically keep calling them, the police can issue noise abatement orders (big fines for further noise).

You also need to start a log of all the disturbances, take video recordings, show date and time and if possible the noise level using a dB meter (buy one online not expensive).

As I said it really comes down to persistence, the moment you let up they may restart.

All the best.
 
21 January 2017
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Thank you so much for your encouragement. I will take your advice and keep persisting.

Hopefully there is light at the end of my tunnel as well.

Thank you
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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I agree with the above comments.

I had a noise issue and it took close to two years and much persistence to fix. Court case was started and the offenders only agreed to remove the source of the noise the day before court.
  • Video evidence is needed to prove the location of the noise.
  • Sound meter for recording noise volumes in your living space. Ideally a recognised calibrated meter is best. They can also be hired.
  • Log of start and stop of each occurrence.
 

Lorna Barton

Member
6 April 2017
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Hi,

Just noticed this is a little over a year old. I'm currently having a very similar problem with my neighbours after buying my first home. Can you tell me of you have resolved the problem yet and how you actually got any positive result?

The blatant disregard for noise from the neighbours is extremely emotional and anxiety inflicting. I feel anxious coming home knowing that most nights I'm in for zero peace and quiet. I feel exhausted and my whole world feels like it's affected by the selfish actions of my neighbours.

One night the police even said to me, "They have the right to live as well," and it was like a punch in the guts from the authorities, to hear them say that basically my peace and quiet wasn't as much of a right as the neighbours right to play loud bass music. If you can give me any advice from your own experience I'd greatly appreciate it.

Going insane
Hi

There is a clause in my lease that I am entitled to 'peace & enjoyment' of my home. I googled my next door neighbours' house address as I knew it was a rental. It came up for rent in an old listing on realestate.com.

I got the property manager's mobile phone number & called her at 2am one night, 3am another night, etc & she could hear the music & partying from her tenants as I stood in my bedroom. The third time I woke her up, she kicked them out. 3 'notices to remedy breach' were given to them as required & when they disobeyed them the real estate could legally boot them out.

There is another option, I downloaded a 17khz noise from a free noise website. Young people cannot stand the 17khz frequency. It's used in America as a loitering deterrent. I connected my laptop to my stereo & blasted the frequency back at them. They would instantly run around their house unplugging their stereo wondering where the offensive noise was coming from & most of them would pack up & leave. I would belt it at them until their noise stopped. They could not figure it out, but did associate the horrid noise with their loud music & would turn it off.

Anyone older can't hear the frequency. A couple in England bought an anti loitering device & put it outside. The neighbours complained because they didn't like having to shut up or get blasted with an ear splitting frequency. Even though these devices say they are 100% legal, it's obviously a problem. Hide the frequency box if you buy one!
 

Steve J

Member
21 April 2018
1
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Hi, I live in Primbee NSW. My kids have been complaining about hearing bass for a few month’s now and they are having problems sleeping. Also a few doctor visits and tests confirmed my kids hearing as excellent. I personally can not hear it but sometimes on rare occasions I can feel a little abnormal vibrations in my ears. My kids have been woken up to many times, almost always after 1am, and worst still this week on Thursday 19th April 2018 at 4:10am they both awoke and said they could hear loud rooster sounds. Mostly thumping bass and sometimes music is being played. Can anyone else in Primbee hear or feel the bass being played through a sub woofer. And which person would do something so wicked to hurt kids and stop people sleeping.
 
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Indulgence

Member
7 July 2018
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Hi, I live in Primbee NSW. My kids have been complaining about hearing bass for a few month’s now and they are having problems sleeping. Also a few doctor visits and tests confirmed my kids hearing as excellent. I personally can not hear it but sometimes on rare occasions I can feel a little abnormal vibrations in my ears. My kids have been woken up to many times, almost always after 1am, and worst still this week on Thursday 19th April 2018 at 4:10am they both awoke and said they could hear loud rooster sounds. Mostly thumping bass and sometimes music is being played. Can anyone else in Primbee hear or feel the bass being played through a sub woofer. And which person would do something so wicked to hurt kids and stop people sleeping.

First of all complain to local council then secondly to the EPA. Remember The Council can not tell or release any personal information about you to the person your complaining about!.

2.InfraSound Detector is free app for smart phones. And will detect bass coming from a sub woofer. ( Note: Part 8.5 for what evidence can be used in court).

  1. Most important to Log everything and write dates and times of the alleged offence of low frequency bass being played.

  2. Complain to human rights as this is illegal behaviour under international and Australian law!. Sleeping and working are human rights. Welfare is not a human right as example.

  3. The owner of the premise (257) is responsible for all noise at the address of alleged noise offence.

  4. Ask around if anyone else can hear and collaborate what your hearing.

  5. Court actions, look at collaborating evidence with other neighbours and sue your neighbours for alleged damages and expenses.



This is the most relevant and up-to-date legislation we must all use:58(1)(a)(i)(ii)(b)(c)(2)

Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017 Division 7 Musical instruments and sound equipment 57 .

58 Use of electrically amplified sound equipment

NSW Legislation ** 58 Use of electrically amplified sound equipment (1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a) the person causes or permits electrically amplified sound equipment to be used on residential premises in such a manner that it emits noise that can be heard within any room in any other residential premises (that is not a garage, storage area, bathroom, laundry, toilet or pantry) whether or not any door or window to that room is open:

(I) before 8 am or after midnight on any Friday, Saturday or day immediately before a public holiday, or

(ii) before 8 am or after 10 pm on any other day, and

(b) within 7 days of doing so, the person is warned by an authorised officer or enforcement officer not to cause or permit electrically amplified sound equipment to be used on residential premises in that manner, and

(c) the person again causes or permits electrically amplified sound equipment to be used on residential premises in a manner referred to in paragraph

(a) within 28 days after the warning has been given. Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units in the case of a corporation or 50 penalty units in the case of an individual.

(2) In this clause: electrically amplified sound equipment means any electrical or battery powered device that can be used to make or amplify sound including television sets and home entertainment systems.




preventing-neighbourhood-noise

Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 No 156

NSW Legislation

Part 4.4 Prohibition notices

Part 4.5 Compliance cost

(1) Recovery of unpaid amounts A regulatory authority or public authority may recover any unpaid amounts specified in a compliance cost notice as a debt in a court of competent jurisdiction.

111 Power to enter land , 112 Obstruction of persons,

Part 5.7 Duty to notify pollution incidents : (1) (a) (i) it involves actual or potential harm to the health or safety of “human beings” or to ecosystems that is not trivial, or

(8) Meaning of “relevant authority”In this section:relevant authority means any of the following:(a) the appropriate regulatory authority,

Part 5.9 General offences 168 Ancillary offence(1) A person who:(a) aids, abets, counsels or procures another person to commit, or(b) attempts to commit, or (c) conspires to commit, an offence under another provision of this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence against that other provision and is liable, on conviction, to the same penalty applicable to an offence against that other provision.

Part 7.4 Powers of entry and search of premises 196 Powers of authorised officers to enter premises.(1) An authorised officer may enter: (a) any premises at which the authorised officer reasonably suspects that any industrial, agricultural or commercial activities are being carried out—at any time during which those activities are being carried out there, and (b) any premises at or from which the authorised officer reasonably suspects pollution has been, is being or is likely to be caused—at any time, and

198 Powers of authorised officers to do things at premises,

Part 7.5 Powers to question and to identify persons

203 Power of authorised officers to require answers. 203A Recording of evidence , 207 Power to require articles to be tested or inspected ,209 Power to seize articles (other than vehicles or vessels) to test for noise. 210 Power to require information about articles

Part 8.3 Court orders in connection with offences .246 Orders for costs, expenses and compensation at time offence proved.

247 Recovery of costs, expenses and compensation after offence proved

322 Effect of this Act on other rights, remedies and proceedings. (1) This Act does not limit or affect any right, remedy or proceeding under any other Act or law.



257 Occupier of premises responsible for pollution from premises (b) &(c)




Part 8.5 Evidential provisions what is evidence here.




Australia is a party to seven core international human rights treaties. The right to work and rights in work is contained in articles 6(1), 7 and 8(1)(a) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).




Freedom from torture or cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment | Australian Human Rights Commission * No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment