Rowdy neighbours: How to deal with them sensitively
NOISE can put a divide between you and your neighbours but choosing the best course of action to deal with it can be tough.
On one hand you aren't sleeping, your family relationships are being tested and your gut turns whenever you see, or hear, your neighbours. They deserve to be reported, right?
On the other hand, you are aware of how awkward it will become if you do report them. What will you say when you see them in the front yard?
Richmond LAC chief inspector Nicole Bruce suggests residents try to avoid the situation entirely by getting to know neighbours before problems arise.
"Don't wait until the last minute,” she said. "If you are a shift worker, tell them that when you first meet them.
"Have that conversation with them to understand each other's circumstances.”
If problems are already occurring the Environment Protection Authority suggests taking a step back and allowing the neighbours a chance to explain themselves.
It is suggested where possible residents speak calmly with the neighbour, explaining how the problem is affecting them and giving them a chance to tell their side before coming up with a mutual solution.
If that fails or if the problem persists the EPA suggests a few directions you can take to get the problem resolved:
- Contact the Community Justice Centre. This government department deals entirely with disputes. Mediation services are free to use and involve setting up a time to meet with the neighbour and a CJC representative to discuss options. If your neighbour will not attend a session and the noise continues, you can contact your local council.
- Contact your local council. They can serve a notice restricting noisy activities to certain times of the day or certain days. If the notice is not complied with, a fine can be issued.
- Seek a noise abatement order. You can take action independently and apply for a noise abatement order through your local court. Taking your neighbour to court should be the last resort.
Common types of noise pollution
Chief Insp Bruce said the most common neighbour complaint Lismore Police received was loud parties. The use of instruments or loud sound equipment, including TVs, is prohibited between midnight and 8am on any Friday, Saturday, or the day after a public holiday. On any other day use is prohibited after 10pm.
"Too loud music too late and ongoing ... people can usually tolerate parties once every couple of weeks but not every day,” she said.
Other disruptive noises include power tools and equipment such as lawn mowers, and idling loud cars or motorbikes, between 8pm and 8am on Sundays and public holidays. On any other day, 8pm and 7am.
Between 10pm and 8am on weekends and public holidays, and 10pm-7am on weekends, use of loud air conditioners and heat pump water heaters is prohibited.
A neighbourhood dog may bark for different reasons. If suspected mistreatment is occurring contact the RSPCA on 1300 278 3589. If you suspect an intruder contact 000. If the dog constantly barks, contact your local council to issue a nuisance order (but remember to try talking to the home owner first).
If you are concerned about possible domestic violence situations contact 000. If the loud arguments are constant and offensive without threatening a person's welfare call the local police.