Resolve neighbourhood noise issues
Before taking formal steps to complain about noise, you should attempt to contact your residential neighbour or local business to work towards an appropriate solution.
Project Status: When you need to do this
Business trading after lockdown
It’s important local businesses and venues in the city can thrive and financially recover from the extended lockdown. We want to ensure this is balanced with residential amenity.
What you need to do
Try to resolve the problem through mediation
In many instances, issues about noise can be resolved by speaking to the person or business creating the noise. Often the person making the noise isn’t aware they’re causing a problem and will quickly fix the situation.
You can approach a person or business by talking to them directly or dropping off a letter in their mailbox. Sometimes it may be necessary to report a noise issue, however issues are often quite complex, involving multiple parties and can be difficult to resolve quickly.
Be tactful when bringing the complaint to their notice. Your neighbour might not realise there is a problem or they may be sensitive about issues such as crying babies.
If your neighbours are commercial businesses there may be post-lockdown measures in place to allow businesses to operate with more flexibility.
If mediation is unsuccessful there are some other avenues you can follow.
Contact the Community Justice Centre
If your neighbour won’t discuss the issue, you can contact Community Justice Centres for help with free mediation. An independent mediator will help you and your neighbour discuss the matter without getting into lengthy or expensive legal processes.
Complete a noise diary and contact us
If you’re still unable to resolve the matter, contact us. Before you get in touch, it’s important that you complete the noise diary log, available for download below, for a period of 10 days. The information you provide within the diary log will help us to give you the appropriate advice, which may also be used as evidence should we need to take any formal action on your behalf.
We can only assist and take action on your behalf if the presence of offensive noise has been established.
For after hours complaints
Noise complaints made after hours are referred to our rangers who aim to follow them up as soon as possible. If the situation is complex and difficult to fix, rangers will refer the complaint on for a more thorough investigation.
Before you start
If you’re affected by offensive noise, you can also seek a noise abatement order yourself. By acting independently of the City of Sydney you can lodge your own evidence of the noise impact.
Visit the NSW EPA website for more details.
NSW Environment Protection Authority also has a range of resources available for dealing with noise, whether your complaint relates to your neighbours, alarms or motor vehicles.
The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 sets out a process for resolving disputes. This includes mediation and formal orders by the strata schemes adjudicator and/or the residential tribunal.
Under the act, each strata must have a set of by-laws. The model by-law concerning noise provides that “an owner or occupier must not make noise at any time within their lot or on common property that is likely to disturb peaceful enjoyment of another resident or anyone using common property”.
The best approach for resolving a noise dispute within a strata scheme is to try to talk to your neighbour first.
You can speak to the owners corporation or the residential tribunal if that isn’t successful.
If the noise continues, you can apply for mediation through the NSW Department of Fair Trading.
Only if you are unable to resolve the matter with these steps should you then contact us.
Time restrictions for various noise sources
|Noise source||Time restrictions for using noisy equipment at a residential premises where they can be heard in the living area of neighbouring properties|
|Power tools, swimming pool pumps, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and chain saws||
|Musical instruments, radios, sound systems, and public address systems||
|Air-conditioners and hot water heaters||
|Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving premises)||
|Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles||