We are officially in the silly season! It is the season to have fun with family and friends, and as we all know, “fun” frequently equates to “noise”. Noise complaints are common around this time of the year. The reason for this is that gatherings are more frequent, go on late, and can get noisy.
Although most residents in apartments are likely to tolerate an increase in noise during this season (as it is most probably temporary), there are some who may not be terribly thrilled about it. So, how do we strike a balance?
Well, one way is to be mindful of the noise you are creating and the time. If it is a one off party, perhaps let your neighbours know. If however, you are frequently having people over, then make a conscientious effort to keep the noise at an acceptable level (especially if your gathering is going late into the night).
Looking at it from the other side – what can you do if your neighbours are being noisy over the holiday season? If it is a one off event (especially if they have given you notice), perhaps it would be best to let it go in order to preserve harmony in the strata scheme.
However, if the noise is getting out of hand, then try speaking to your neighbour and ask if they could please keep the noise down. If this does not work and it is an ongoing issue, then there are steps you can take – however, strata managers, building managers and your strata committee members may all be away for the holidays or may not be as contactable as they normally would be.
You could start to document the problem by keeping a log of the noise, noting the time, date, persons observed and details of what the issue is. This is evidence needed to take the matter forward if it goes beyond the holiday season or is unreasonable. If the behaviour continues, a notice to comply may be appropriate, and if necessary, an application for mediation followed by an application to NCAT if the issue is not resolved. If, the noise is truly excessive and continuous (or if it is combined with disruptive or unsafe behaviour) then the most serious and immediate option would be to call the police.
However, it is likely that this noise issue will stop come end of the holiday season. For this reason, so long as the noise is not excessive or continuous or combined with unsafe or destructive behaviour (such as accosting people on the common property or damaging the common property), we encourage everyone to take a deep breath, and try to be a little bit more patient during this silly season while documenting any behaviour in case it continues and you need to take action later.
This is general information and should not be considered to be legal advice. You should obtain legal advice specific to your individual situation.
Authors: Jasmin H.Singh & Allison Benson