Noise complaints in strata
If you and your neighbour live in a strata scheme, you can also complain to the owners corporation, or the strata manager about a noise problem. You can make a complaint if you or your neighbours are tenants or owners.
If that does not fix the problem, you can try mediation or apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for orders.
How to complain
All residents of a strata scheme have the obligation not to cause a nuisance to any other unit. All residents of strata schemes are bound by rules called by-laws. Different schemes have different by-laws, but usually contain by-laws about noise. There may also be by-laws about animals. Check your by-laws and see what they say. If you are a tenant you can ask your landlord or agent for a copy. If you are an owner you can get a copy from your managing agent or strata committee.
If you feel your neighbour is breaching the by-laws, it is a good idea to try and talk to your neighbour about the noise. They may not be aware that they are disturbing anyone or you may be able to try and come to some sort of an arrangement.
If you are not able to talk to your neighbour, you can contact the person or group who manages the strata scheme. This might be the managing agent, the building manager or the members of the strata committee, which represents the owners corporation.
It may help to put your complaint in writing and set out what noise you are complaining about. Your letter should include dates and times of the noise. If other owners or occupiers are also concerned you could consider making a joint complaint or sending your complaints at the same time.
What the owners corporation can do
The owners corporation may raise your complaint with your neighbour. If this does not fix the problem and they think that your neighbour has breached the by-laws they may issue a Notice to Comply with a By-Law. This is a notice to your neighbour or to your neighbour's landlord, if your neighbour is a tenant. The notice will:
- tell them which by-law they have breached
- explain how they have breached the by-law
- warn them that if they continue to breach the by-law the owner's corporation may apply to NCAT to seek an order.
If the problem continues and there is a second breach within 12 months, the owners corporation can apply to NCAT for orders including that your neighbour pay a fine to the owners corporation.
You or the owners corporation can also make use of a specialised mediation service for strata residents. For more information on mediation see the Fair Trading NSW website or telephone Fair Trading NSW 13 32 20.
Mediation is a process where a neutral person called a mediator helps people talk through a problem to try and find a solution. A mediator does not decide who is right or wrong; they focus on helping people to find a compromise.
There is no fee to apply for their mediation service. However, you have to bear you own costs to prepare or attend mediation. For more information about fees, see Strata schemes mediation fees on the Fair Trading NSW website.
For more information on how to prepare for mediation, see the Mediation topic.
If the owners corporation does not act
If the owners corporation does not act, any owner may apply to NCAT for orders about the dispute. Any owner or the owners corporation can apply to NCAT for orders. For more information on NCAT and how to make an application, see the NCAT website.
Before applying to NCAT, you should attempt mediation. NCAT may refuse to accept an application if there has been no attempt at mediation.
Before making an application to NCAT, you should get legal advice on your case, including the evidence you need, the orders you can ask for and whether your case is likely to be successful.