SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
Everything you need to know about neighbourhood noise restrictions
There's a famous scene in Australian film classic The Castle where the main character Daryl Kerrigan stands on the front verandah of his humble country holiday home and declares "How's the serenity". It's a phrase that resonates with so many of us, as peace and quiet on the homefront can at times be elusive. In order to achieve such serenity in your neighbourhood it is important to know the story around noise restrictions.
Are you woken every Saturday night when your neighbours return home with a crowd and continue the party and the noise? Or are you the owner of a pup who has a tendency to bark when left alone at home, much to the annoyance of the family next door? Either way, being armed with guidelines about what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to neighbourhood noise is the first step in finding a solution to the problem
Listening to your favourite music within the walls of your home can be a great way to relax, but when the sound is turned up loud at a backyard party that continues into the wee hours, then you are overstepping the mark. And your neighbours have every right to complain. In general it is the time that you are playing your music, along with the volume that can play havoc with neighbours. For example, in NSW, any music that can be heard from inside a neighbouring property must cease between midnight to 8am on Friday and Saturday night, while during the week the music off rule kicks in at 10pm. In Victoria meanwhile the call to turn off the loud music comes at 11pm through to 7am on Friday and Saturday and during the rest of the week its music off at 10pm.
Whether you are the one planning a party, or a neighbour who has been put out by late night noise from next door, it is best to take the approach of speaking directly with neighbours before going to the police or council. If you are the host of the party, try reaching out to neighbours to let them know you are planning a gathering, and can be contacted if there are any concerns over noise. That way you may stop the police arriving at the door to stop the party.
There is nothing like a friendly dog in the neighbourhood but man's best friend can become your neighbour's worst enemy if persistent, loud and disturbing barking is part of the behaviour of that dog. Again the first step to address such a problem is to make the dog owner aware of it. The dog may only be barking when the owner is out of the home, for example, and therefore may not be aware of the situation. If that fails, it may be time to take more formal action. In Victoria, for example, reaching out to your local council can help with council officers able to investigate or prosecute owners over barking dogs through the domestic animals act.
Renovation work is at an all time high with Australians spending record levels on renos this year according to ABS figures. The value of home renovations approved rose beyond the $1 billion mark nationally in February, before jumping to $1.14 billion in March. However, drills and power tools being used when those in neighbouring houses are trying to relax or sleep, is one way to get those living around you off-side. In Queensland regulations surrounding excessive noise from power tools comes under the control of local councils, with Brisbane City Council for example advising that fines can be issued if loud power tools can be heard in neighbouring homes after 7pm and 7am from Monday to Saturday and 8am on Sundays and public holidays.
Your neighbour might be a car enthusiast or just not maintained their vehicle, either way if your peace is being distrubed by ongoing loud car noise there is something you can do. Fines up to $400 can be handed out in NSW to car owners whose noisy car is keeping others awake. Fines kick in from 8pm to 7am for cars that can be heard from inside a neighbours home in NSW.
Keeping your neighbours awake with loud music when they are trying to relax or sleep? Loud stereos or musical instruments are not allowed after 10pm or before 7am from Monday to Thursday in Victoria and after 11pm on Friday and Saturday night and 10pm on Sunday. There is also no loud music before 9pm on the weekend. The Environment Protection Authority Victoria meanwhile says power tools are a no-go Monday to Friday after 8pm or before 7am and after 8pm and before 9am on weekends and public holidays.
If you are thinking of starting up the power tools early Sunday morning in NSW - at a decibel that the neighbours can hear inside their home - forget about it. Under restrictions outlined by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, power tools can't be used at a noise level that disturbs neighbours before 8am and after 8pm on Sundays, and before 7am and 8pm on other days of the week. If the noise continues after a warning has been given by a council or police office, then fines of up to $400 can be handed out.
Noise limits for residential areas in Queensland fall under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, with local council officers enforcing them. A common complaint is the use of loud power tools and regulations outline that they can't be used before 7am and after 7pm Monday to Saturday and not before 8am on Sundays and public holidays. When it comes to parties - and excessive noise - it is the police who will be able to assess if the volume is turned up way too high.
Under South Australian law power tools can only be used between 9am and 8pm on a Sunday and 8am and 8pm during the rest of the week. Like most states, noise complaints about a neighbour's barking dog, falls under your local council.
It's time to down power tools and pack away your home DIY by 7pm every day of the week in Western Australia. They are allowed to be used from 7am from Monday to Saturday and 9am on Sunday.Loud music is limited between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, and from 9am to 7pm on Sunday.
The party may have to come to a close at midnight in the Northern Territory, if the music is annoying the neighbours. According to the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority rules, loud music is off at midnight and the quiet is maintained until 8am on the weekend. Sunday to Thursday 10pm is the time to turn the music down.
The general approach to residential noise management in Tasmania is that a person's use of tools that make a fair amount of noise and recreational activities such as parties must not reasonably interfere with their neighbours enjoyment and wellbeing. As a guide Tasmania's Environment Protection Authority recommends power tools be used only from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm Saturdays and 10am to 6pm on Sundays and public holidays.
It's best to prevent a noise problem before it becomes an issue between neighbours. For those planning a party it is advisable to alert neighbours first - and let them know that you can be the first point of contact if they are not happy with noise levels. Likewise when it comes to addressing the problem of a noisy DIY project try chatting to your neighbour first before calling in authorities. That way the short term noise problem can be addressed along with keeping good relations between neighbours in the long term.
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