Forum: Threatened with fine over late-night chats

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We’re not judging here but sometimes a question reveals as much about the questioner as it does about the subject. 

This week one Flatchatter has asked how she can be issued with a Notice To Comply by the scheme’s strata manager following a complaint by a neighbour about her, her friends and family chatting late at night in their townhouse yard.

To be fair, it seems a little harsh. No one can possibly know how loud their voices, TVs, radios or stereos are in someone else’s home unless they are in the unit at the time the noise is being made.

But what’s interesting here is that the Flatchatter is surprised that the strata manager can issue the notice to comply, that it was based on the complaints of one person, that the complainer wasn’t on the committee, that there is no record of the police being called and, underlying all this, that she can be threatened with a possible fine for talking on her own property.

Having once, back in my renting days, been afflicted for several weeks by a woman with a very loud and penetrating laugh who would sit on her balcony until the wee small hours, finding everything she and her chums said hilarious, I can see how the neighbour might be annoyed.

The rental agent refused to do anything and the strata committee wouldn’t even listen to complaints from tenants. It took the arrival of a large and apparently easily annoyed man in the flat above the laughing woman for the late-night hilarity to end.

Back to the question on the forum, the problem is, can you complain about someone laughing loudly, or even talking? The key issue is that catch-all law about disturbing the peaceful enjoyment of a resident’s home.

But, just to clarify, the strata manager can issue notices to comply without the strata committee’s approval or direction, you don’t need to be on the committee to make a complaint, the police don’t need to be involved for a by-law breach to be pursued, there doesn’t have to be more than one complainer and you don’t have the right to make as much noise as you like on your property.

You can read the whole story and post your thoughts HERE.

ELSEWHERE ON THE FORUM

  • Are these strata management charges excessive?  That’s HERE.
  • Strata managers are no longer compulsory for smaller schemes in Victoria.  But are they a good idea?  That’s HERE.
  • The strata committee won’t do anything about illegal parking.  That’s HERE.
  • Is strata insurance just a massive rort?  That’s HERE.

How to ask and answer questions

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The best way these days may be to click on “Forum: Your Qs & A’s” on the top menu bar on a computer screen or on the drop-down menu (three lines) on the right of the screen on phones and tablets, under the Strata Choice ad. Then click on the topic title that interests you, and off you go.  

Alternatively, you can look at the list of “Your latest questions and answers” under the ads on the right of the page on a computer screen. Or at the bottom, after the ads and stories, on a tablet or phone.

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