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  • #66760
    andyj
    Flatchatter

      I have had a similar issue to this one, published earlier, in our apartment block for some time now and would like some feedback from the forum/community as to what is considered reasonable transmission of noise/ adequate flooring insulation. I have been reflecting on the comments above. I note Jimmy”s comments regarding increased noise now he has new residents above..

      Background:

      Many years ago the owner above had a timber laminate flooring installed throughout the whole unit above. This naturally excluded the laundry/bathroom/kitchen, but included the dining area. What resulted was horrendous noise from above which reverberated throughout all the surrounding units, but was worst in mine directly below.

      What complicated matters was that immediately after the flooring was installed, new tenants, a young family moved in. The family was extremely active, with the kids running/jumping from 7am till late, the mother skipping rope at 11pm, general yelling/screaming, door slamming etc. This was a daily experience that turned worse on weekends.

      After approaching our SC and  strata manager, the strata manager suggested we address the flooring issue as they felt this was the most offending culprit. 6 months of trying to negotiate with the owner above to remedy the flooring resulted in no progress and disharmony between neighbors. I then engaged a strata lawyer who suggested I take both tenant and owner for mediation. Owner for by-law 14 (at the time) an tenant for by-law 1 and s117(a). The SC subsequently suggested that I take the owner for By-Law 14 and the OC would deal with the tenant behavior as this was affecting 3 other units as well.

      It took me 12 months of adjudication, appeal from upstairs owner, a second appeal from the upstairs owner, a dummy spit from the upstairs owner at the Tribunal member, and they finally agreed to carpet all but the dining area near the kitchenette. This dampened the noise from a hammering sound to heavy rumbling.

      Another 12 months and the OC finally won at the Tribunal against the tenants and they moved out on condition that the OC did not pursue penalties against them. Unfortunately though, during the protracted battle the tenants obtained legal aid which forced the OC to engage their own lawyers. Many owners not directly affected by the noise were cheesed off at the expense incurred as we could not claim costs from the tenants.

      The following 4 years and we had good tenants above and the noise was not an issue.

      My Question:

      We have another very active young family with children who arrived early 2020 and live above. I can hear some heavy thumps most days and a good 1-2h of on and off running (reverberates like nearby thunder) most (but not all) evenings. On weekends the running begins at 7am and combined with fairly loud bangs as the mother cleans that will last to 11am. There is also gleeful jumping/dropping of stuff in the evenings. The strata manager has had a listen to the noise and commented that it would drive him mad, but without an OC meeting (which I suspect will go down like a lead balloon after the last fiasco) he cannot really do anything.

      Would most consider this to be reasonable noise that should be tolerated in a unit block. Our block is solidly built (double brick) and about 50 years old.?

      I really don’t want to have to go down the tribunal path again as the last saga was exhausting to say the least.

      I have been living in strata in Sydney since 1995 and this apartment block stands out by far re: noise

      • This topic was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by .
    Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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    • #66904
      86_strata
      Flatchatter

        Reply from Victoria.

        I hear you loud and clear (sorry for the play on words).  I battled my OC for 3 years over the nuisance behaviours of three sets of neighbours on common property on the driveway immediately outside my home as related to unreasonable noise that reverberated around my “architecturally designed” (but not acoustically designed) townhouse.  The driveway was too narrow and created a canyon for sound to echo.

        I got all three sets of neighbours completely off-side and the daily behaviours targeted us and us alone – so much so the neighbours taunted me personally from the drive as they yelled and played basketball games, damaged our car with their basketball bouncing off the bonnet and roof, and littered our car port with paper aeroplanes, tennis balls and anything else kids throw around.  They had loud music and the television at 100% volume.

        The Victoria Police were no help.  The EPA is a weak Act.  The manager and the OC were impotent in enforcing the bylaws that clearly addressed this behaviour.  These neighbours were schoolyard bullies, plain and simple. I’m not against kids and playing, kids need to play – I’m against bad parenting and people who are simply not nice neighbours.

        The OC were weak and so I joined the OC one year in, only to find that the Chair would block everything and the manager seemed to enjoy seeing others miserable.

        The bullies did not win. I sold up at the market peak and moved out.  Easier than pursuing them through VCAT or the courts.  Sorry this is no easy solution.  I have moved on, life is too short, and they can just continue to live their lives. I’m so much happier just putting this behind me.

        Not a solution for everyone.  Best of luck, sincerely, I feel for your predicament and hope you get some resolution.

        • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by .
        #72281
        Sammy
        Flatchatter

          I am also in Victoria and have new tenants 3 adults in a 2b/r unit so doors are always opening and closing. The owner had all the carpet taken up and the entire place is tiled. Now these tenants are not noisey tenants but get up and start their morning shower at 5.30am 6.20am 7.10 am Mon -Fri sleep in at W/E’s is 7.45am for the first shower. The unit echos every draw wardrobe door and especially the shower cause you would be forgiven thinking they are in your shower. Our strata manager states there is nothing I can do. Is that true??

          #72326
          TrulEConcerned
          Flatchatter

            Sammy – (A) Does your by-laws insist on carpeting? If so, then your neighbour is breaching the by-laws.

            – (B)  Do you think that if the neighbour had carpeting then the noise affecting you would be less?

            – (C) If the answer to (A) and (B) is “yes” then write to your OC insisting they order the neighbour to comply

            with the by-laws. Keep a log of when noise disturbed you: date, time and duration.

             

            #72329
            Jimmy-T
            Keymaster

              A) Does your by-laws insist on carpeting? If so, then your neighbour is breaching the by-laws.

              That’s a very specific and quite uncommon by-law.  By-laws on noise and disturbing other owners peaceful enjoyment of their lot are more likely to be in place.  If the owner upstairs has lifted the carpet and put down tiles without proper insulation then they are likely to be in breach.

              The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
              #72352
              kaindub
              Flatchatter

                But it seems that the noise is from anything but footsteps.

                I think the strata manger is correct. How do you silence a shower, a wardrobe?
                A long shot maybe to issue a notice to comply in regard to peaceful enjoyment of a lot, and hope the occupiers tone down their actions. But the shower? If they leave for work early they have to have one and it’s not their fault that the building walls are paper thin.

                #72371
                Jimmy-T
                Keymaster

                  I think the strata manger is correct. How do you silence a shower, a wardrobe?

                  Well, the simple answer would be that if carpet has been replaced by inadequately insulated tiles, and the block was designed to have carpetting on the floors, then replace the most effective form of insulation to cut down the noise.

                  Have a look at these guidelines from the Australian Association of Acoustical Consultants HERE and HERE. They explain how excessive noise in apartments can be a lot more than footfalls on tiles.

                  It gives me the extreme irrits when investors chose to cover their floors with the most durable (na noisiest) form of flooring so as to save themselves money, at the expense of the peace and quiet of the poor blighters below.

                  The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                  #72572
                  Sammy
                  Flatchatter

                    72352.  OUR BYLAWS are just the model ones and never implemented Answer I was given “Well you could have bought next to a car park”  The units were always carpeted and the tiles are just new.  I can definitely hear footsteps commencing from their first toe on the floor to knowing what time is lights out and the dragging of chairs,?? beds ??and their little butter fingers dropping things all the time. I have the secret sounds all the time and at this stage I am just lucky that there is no young family nor young ladies sporting very high heels.  Any procedures to follow??

                    #72574
                    Jimmy-T
                    Keymaster

                      Answer I was given “Well you could have bought next to a car park”

                      By whom?

                      In any case, section 153 of the Act covers noise and nuisance.  You could start by seeking mediation at Fair Trading in pursuit of an order telling them to recarpet their floor.

                      The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                      #72741
                      andyj
                      Flatchatter
                      Chat-starter

                        What would you do in my case?
                        As I mentioned at the beginning of this thread I had the double whammy of the upstairs owner installing timber flooring followed immediately by an extremely noisy and active family taking up residence. The owner was ordered to treat the floor so as to not transmit noise likely to disturb my peaceful enjoyment. He did install carpet but very cheap carpet. We eventually got rid of the noisy tenants. I have had new noisy tenants above for 3 years now.  I have been advised by our strata manager that taking the owner for an excessively nosy floor would likely fail. He has instead issued the tenants with a notice to comply with by-law 1. His wording was shocking, but he assures me that it will stick in a Tribunal.
                        The tenants have taken the notice to comply as an act of war and have seriously upped the ante. The slamming of doors and stomping about are appealing.  Unfortunately my other neighbor who is also on the strata committee is not overly interested and thinks I am over reacting. She is mostly deaf and cant hear the noise, and also struggles to hear me when I am talking to her.
                        With little support in the building I have been advised that a tribunal hearing would likely be unsuccessful and I would simply make enemies of my neighbors. My friends say let it go, sell up and move out.
                        Not withstanding the expense of selling and repurchasing into what I fear may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, I live in a nice area close to all the shops etc and all my friends are in the same area.
                        What would you do in this dilemma??

                         

                        #72745
                        Jimmy-T
                        Keymaster

                          With little support in the building I have been advised that a tribunal hearing would likely be unsuccessful

                          By whom?  The same strata manager who said theNotice to Comply would stick?

                          The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                          #72783
                          Jimmy-T
                          Keymaster

                            Download a cheap or free voice/noise activated recording app for your phone or computer and send the people upstairs a note telling them that you will be having guests at such and such a time and you would appreciate them keeping the noise down.  When they don’t it will be recorded and time-stamped.  That should be all the evidence you need for a tribunal.  There are a few apps around that will do this for you – one of them is called Snooper but I can’t get on to its website.

                            The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                            #72801
                            andyj
                            Flatchatter
                            Chat-starter

                              Thanks Jimmy,
                              It truly baffles me as to why after a many polite requests over several years people will simply ignore your pleas for some respite from their gymnasium like activities, kung-fooing the bathroom to death ,and frequently running and jumping about when they are well aware it makes a huge noise for the people living below them. Naturally I don’t mind a bit of noise here and there as this is strata living, but when they keep Sydney airport hours each day and the noise is every 10 min or less it drives you nuts. What floors me as you say is when they ignore a notice to comply and basically say “bring it on”. Last night I videoed with my phone sequels of watch me mummy as the child hammered the floor with something that was very solid and bounced several times for over 30min

                              The difficulty I face pursuing this is I don’t have the wider support of the owners not affected by this. They are afraid of incurring costs as they are investors, you may recall we went down this path 10 years ago and incurred significant expense. The other member of the strata committee is almost completely deaf, needs hearing aids and is more interested in simply being on the committee. Last AGM she wandered off after voting herself onto the committee and left myself and the strata manager to finish up the agenda.
                              I know the Tribunal path can take over 12 months to complete, is very expensive if lawyers are involved and is a lottery as to whether of not you will prevail. Of course if we get new neighbors who knows if they will be any better.

                              The owner of the lot above is very hostile to anyone who was involved  in him losing his precious cheap timber floor, although it is still installed in the dining area and is the worst part of above.
                              Alas despair has set in

                              #72805
                              Jimmy-T
                              Keymaster

                                Here are my non-legal thoughts: gather your evidence, get stat decs from friends who have heard the noise themselves, write a diary of noise events, record any noise that you can, and then go to NCAT for the imposition of fines.

                                Meanwhile, explain to your “not my problem” neighbours that if you take the OC to NCAT for failing to fulfil their duties, they will be in legal trouble anyway.  And if the OC loses, they will all have to pay their share of the OC’s legal costs and you won’t, and they might have to pay your costs too.

                                That might sharpen their thinking into offering you some support.

                                The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                                #72825
                                TrulEConcerned
                                Flatchatter

                                  Good afternoon andyj,

                                  I just came across this post and below are my views, having been in a similar situation some years ago. Lucky for me I did not have to go to NCAT to resolve it.

                                  1. Take Jimmy’s advice regarding a log of noise and statutory declarations from others attesting to the noise;

                                  2.Look at the by-laws. (a) Usually there is a By-Law on noise, such as “non wet areas are to be covered so that transmission to other lots is minimised”. Or similar wording. Jimmy was correct to point out that “carpeting” per se is not usually mentioned (as I wrote in error); and (b) There is a By-Law on lot owners or occupiers having the right to peaceful enjoyment (i.e. not be disturbed);

                                  3. Given a NTC (with one By-Law) was issued, you should seek the strata manager issue a NTC on the other By-Law;

                                  4. Echoing Jimmy, I recommend you seek mediation via NSW Fair Trading (apply online). I suggest you apply for mediation with the neighbour for the noise. Apply separately for mediation  and with the OC for failing to enforce the By-Laws.  When the NTC was ignored by the trouble maker, the OC via the strata manager should have taken him to NCAT to seek a penalty. The OC and strata manager it seems have not complied with their obligations. I draw your attention to the following parts of the SSM Act: s. 135; 146 & 147.

                                  NSW FT may come back to you indicating they prefer both applications be rolled up into one. If they say that, then follow their advice. I suggested the two applications because you can always combine them without losing time or your place in the listing of cases awaiting mediation. I think it’s tougher for you to apply for one mediation and later add another (related) application expecting both to be heard on the same day or close together.

                                  I would not use a lawyer at this time.

                                  For mediation you’d be wasting your money as the lawyer will charge to prepare the case and who knows? The other side may not turn up. They don’t have to appear at mediation. Also, Fair Trading does not expect lawyers at mediation.

                                  If the other side fails to turn up or they do turn up but there is no agreement, your next step is NCAT.

                                  Possible problem: even if you win at NCAT it is rare that costs are awarded, so you’ll be out of pocket who knows how much. Also when considering lawyers, you should get someone who focuses on strata law.

                                  Just my 2c.

                                   

                                  #73154
                                  andyj
                                  Flatchatter
                                  Chat-starter

                                    Hi All,
                                    The Strata Manager has contacted the tenants agent. The tenants agent says that she denies making any noise and does not want to discuss it further.
                                    Looks like it is FT then NCAT.
                                    As the OC wont support I want to take them to NCAT for failing to enforce by-law breaces. You mentioned there is a part of The SSMA that says that owners corps have to enforce by-law breaches

                                    Could someone please point me to the section of the act that relates to this
                                    Thanks

                                     

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