Responding to a noise complaint
This section has information about responding to a complaint made about noise.
If your neighbour has complained about noise that you are making, your first step is to talk to them to try and resolve the problem. If they have made a complaint you may have been issued with a warning, direction, order or notice from your local council or the police. If you live in strata or you are a residential tenant, your neighbour may have made a complaint to the owner's corporation or your landlord.
Your neighbour may also have made an application for a noise abatement order at the local court.
If you have breached (broken) a noise restriction, direction or order or notice from police or local council, you may be given a penalty notice (fine) or sent a court attendance notice to respond to the charge at court. If you have received a fine or a court attendance notice, you should get legal advice.
Police, your local council, your landlord (if you are a tenant) or your owners corporation (if you live in strata) may give you a verbal or written warning about noise.
If this happens you should consider the warning carefully and see if there is anything you can do to stop or reduce the noise. A small change in your behaviour may avoid your neighbour taking any further action against you.
If you know where the complaint has come from, try to talk to the person or consider trying mediation to resolve the complaint. For more information, see Talking to your neighbour.
The law sets out what types of noise should not be heard between certain times from inside a neighbour's home. There are also restrictions on amplified noise, power tools, air conditioners, cars and alarms. For more information on noise restrictions, see Noise restrictions.
If you have breached noise restrictions, the police or your local council may issue you with a warning about the breach.
If you breach the restriction again within 28 days they may give you a penalty notice (fine). If this happens to you, you should get legal advice.
If your neighbour made a complaint to the police or local council about noise caused by you or coming from your property, they may have issued you with a noise abatement direction requiring you to stop making the noise.
For more information, see Responding to a noise abatement direction.
If your neighbour made a complaint about your cat or dog your local council may have issued you with a nuisance order.
For more information, see Responding to a nuisance order.
If your neighbour made a complaint about noise and the council believes you can take steps to prevent the noise from occurring again, your local council may have issued you with a prevention notice.
For more information, see Responding to a prevention notice.
If your neighbour made a complaint about noise, your local council may have issued you with a noise control notice. A noise control notice will specify days and/or times when the noise can occur and may even set allowable noise limits.
For more information, see Responding to a noise control notice.
If you live in a strata scheme premises, your neighbour may have made a complaint to the owners corporation, the managing agent or the building manager.
All strata residents must follow the strata scheme by-laws. By-laws will usually include restrictions on noise and disturbances to neighbours.
For more information, see Noise complaints in strata.
If you are a residential tenant, either in private rental, public or community housing, your neighbour may have made a complaint to your landlord.
All residential tenants have an obligation not to disturb the quiet enjoyment of their neighbours.
For more information, see Noise complaints about tenants.
If your neighbour has a dispute with you about noise, they can apply for a noise abatement order at the local court. This is an order from the court telling you to stop or change the noise.
For more information, see Responding to a noise order.
NCAT - Tenancy
Housing Pathways NSW
Fair Trading NSW - Strata schemes
Fair Trading NSW - Resolving disputes and mediation
NCAT - Community schemes