Noise and strata.
Do you have problems with noise in a residential strata scheme?
Noise is a concern for many people in strata buildings and community associations and is one of the most common complaints when people are living in close proximity.
Time restrictions regarding noise in strata
Time restrictions on residential activities are determined by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and they work in partnership with local councils and the NSW Police to enforce noise control regulations. Below is a table of the time restrictions on various noise sources from residential premises.
|Noise source - from residential premises||Time restrictions when noise should not be heard in a habitable room in a neighbour's residence||Who to Contact|
|Power tools and equipment e.g. lawn mowers and leaf blowers, chainsaws, air compressors, swimming pool pumps||Before 8 am and after 8 pm on Sundays and public holidays||Local council or police|
|Musical instruments and electrically amplified sound equipment e.g. radios, TVs, tape and home theatre systems||Before 8 am and after midnight on any Friday, Saturday or the day immediately before a public holiday Before 8 am and after 10 pm on any other day||Local council or police|
|Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters||Before 8 am and after 10 pm on weekends and public holidays Before 7 am and after 10 pm on any other day||Local council or police|
|Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises)||Before 8 am and after 8 pm on weekends and public holidays Before 7 am and after 8 pm on any other day||Local council or police|
For full details please visit the NSW EPA website
What action can I take to prevent noise problems in my strata building?
Noise issues can have a serious impact on people’s lives, aggravate stress levels and even affect their health, particularly when their sleep is impacted. To avoid upsetting your neighbours please consider the following:
- Let your neighbours know in advance if you are going to be doing noisy works or are having a party. Most people appreciate the courtesy and will be less likely to complain. They also have the chance to make arrangements get away from the noise if they really need to.
- Avoid revving your car’s engine repeatedly when you turn on your car’s ignition. Also, remember to turn the car stereo down when coming home late at night and try not to slam doors.
- Keep the noise in your courtyard or balcony down so it won’t disturb your neighbours. Remember even low-level noise such as talking travels, especially during the still of the evening and early morning.
- Be considerate of your neighbours when playing amplified music or using power tools etc, even within the times permitted by the Noise Regulations. Remember, offensive noise can occur at any time.
- Consider the noise rating and choose quieter models when buying equipment such as air conditioners and consider the impact on your neighbours when installing this equipment. Place air conditioners away from bedrooms and living room windows. Remember in most schemes installation of an air conditioning system requires approval
What can I do when there is a noise issue?
Talk to people
We always recommend that you start by talking to the person creating the noise and attempt to resolve the issue amicably. Often people are unaware of the level of noise they are creating and that it is impacting others. Once they are advised of this we find most residents will work towards resolving it.
Breach of by-laws
Most, if not all, residential strata schemes in NSW will have a by-law in place that will deal with noise issues. So raise this with your Strata Committee or Strata Manager and see if there is an avenue towards forcing compliance by following the breach of by-law process
For further information, you can visit our By-Law enforcement page
Contact Local Council
Local councils can serve notices on people requiring that they control offensive noise and will advise them what noise levels are acceptable and require the noisy activity be restricted to certain times of the day or specific days. A prevention notice contains conditions on ways of preventing or stopping noise and can be for a wide range of different noises from animal noises to garden equipment and amplified music or instruments.
The notice is issued under section 96 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and if not complied with council can issue fines or prosecute.
Contact NSW Police
You can contact your local police station or the police assistance line, particularly when the noise is a one-off problem and you are disturbed by loud music from a party for example
The police can issue a warning or a noise abatement notice directing a person to stop making the noise. A noise abatement notice may be issued at any time of the day or night and can remain in force for up to 28 days.
A person who fails to comply with the notice can be issued with an on-the-spot fine of $200. Police and authorised officers of councils have powers that allow them to seize equipment used to make noise e.g. a sound system.
Helpful noise complaint links and contacts
- NSW Police Station Search
- Police Assistance Line, phone: 131 444
- Councils Contact details for all NSW councils can be found on the Office of Local Government Directory page
- Community Justice Centres Phone: 1800 990 777
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.cjc.nsw.gov.au
- The EPA Dealing with neighbourhood noise
- Environment Protection Authority (EPA) EPA Environment Line: 131 555 or (02) 9995 5000
About Strata Life – Strata Management Services
At Strata Life we strive to take the pressure of the day to day running of a strata scheme off of the shoulders of the committee members and owners. Whilst the nature of strata itself does mean that the owners/ committee are responsible for the decisions, the pressure is reduced by having a proactive manager provide guidance with a plain sense approach and quickly actioning issues as they arise.
We appreciate Committee members often have full time jobs and busy lives. Add to this that the strata scheme is often your home where Committee members do not want to have to police other residents.
Our aim is to minimise the work and time where we can, take on the role of reminding owners and residents of the by-laws so that everyone can peacefully enjoy community living.
Our team has extensive experience with properties on the Upper North Shore, Hornsby and the Northern Beaches areas, with excellent local contractors and superior local knowledge.
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Get in touch
Whether you’re an existing client or not, our strata managers are here to help with all matters relating to strata schemes and community living. Our office is open Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm to answer your call or, for after-hours assistance, please complete our online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you the following business day.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general information only and not legal advice. The currency, accuracy and completeness of this article (and its contents) should be checked by obtaining independent legal advice before you take any action or otherwise rely upon its contents in any way. Strata Life disclaims any liability for negligence or otherwise in any way connected with this article.