Flat Chat Strata Forum Neighbour noise Current Page

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  • #71646
    AprilMay
    Flatchatter

      My neighbour is making false and / or grossly exaggerated noise complaints against me. He is keeping a log of all the noises that allegedly come from my apartment.

      I want to install a sound recording device in my apartment so I could prove that I am not making those noises or if and when I do, they are within reason.

      I am not very tech savvy so have no idea what kind of device I need. Something that would record 24/7 and automatically save the recordings somewhere (on a USB, in a cloud? I have wi-fi in the apartment). I would need to be able to search the files and extract the bits corresponding to the times when the neighbour alleges I was making excessive noise. Because obviously I don’t want to give someone access to the entire recordings of everything that’s happening in my home.

      Also, I can’t afford anything too expensive. So something affordable, effective and easy to install and use would be ideal.

      Your help is greatly appreciated.

      • This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by .
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    • #71667
      kaindub
      Flatchatter

        Has the neighbour complained to you and told you what noises are concerning him?

        The tribunal won’t entertain a general claim of noise.

        So knowing what his claim is , keep a diary of when you made the noise.

        Also keep a diary of when you or other occupants are at home. If he is making up bogus claims, it’s unlikely he will know when you are at home. Your aim is to discredit his evidence ( at the tribunal)

        As for a recording device, I don’t know such a thing exists ( commercially) . You also face the challenge to time stamp audio and if you edit a recording, he will say it’s been doctored.

        Also remember that at the tribunal it is up to the claimant to prove their case. You do not have to disprove it, but your aim is to put into question their evidence.

        #71670
        Jimmy-T
        Keymaster

          There are commercially available instruments, that range from an app for your iPhone to a fully commercial “listening” kit.  That said, you might be better hiring a qualified audio engineer to set up a monitoring device  that records the sound levels in your home (not the actual sound).   I have no idea how much that might cost but at the end of the day you will have a reliable record and an independent professionally qualified witness.

          That said, I’n not sure who might provide such a service but a deep Google search dug up these guys: Noise in Apartments | Audiometric & Acoustic Services (noiseconsult.com.au) Might be worth a phone call.  Good luck!

          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.
          #71706
          AprilMay
          Flatchatter
          Chat-starter

            Has the neighbour complained to you and told you what noises are concerning him?

            The tribunal won’t entertain a general claim of noise.

            So knowing what his claim is , keep a diary of when you made the noise.

            Also keep a diary of when you or other occupants are at home. If he is making up bogus claims, it’s unlikely he will know when you are at home. Your aim is to discredit his evidence ( at the tribunal)

            As for a recording device, I don’t know such a thing exists ( commercially) . You also face the challenge to time stamp audio and if you edit a recording, he will say it’s been doctored.

            Also remember that at the tribunal it is up to the claimant to prove their case. You do not have to disprove it, but your aim is to put into question their evidence.

            In more than 2,5 years of him living here he has never approached me to complain about any noise. We had a chat about an unrelated when we bumped into each other in the common area soon after they moved in, that’s all.

            Now he claims he’s been suffering from noise coming from my apartment all this time. Still, he hasn’t spoken to me about it. He has spoken to everybody else – other tenants, RE Agent, the Police, the local Council; said he would call the Mental Health Services. Even more – when I got a letter from the RE about noise, I tried to talk to this neighbour (I didn’t know it was him complaining but since he lives next door, I thought to check if they are bothered by anything). We wouldn’t speak with me. Just walked away.

            What you are suggesting (recording my noises myself) would be very difficult for me to do. I am home most of the  time. I am a person with disabilities. I don’t work and rarely leave the apartment. Also, I am not even aware of making some of the noises he is complaining about as they are due to chronic pain and are involuntary. Except he is saying I am screaming, yelling and shouting, while in reality most of the time it’s moaning and  groaning. Involuntary and not that loud. I have also broken down and cried a couple of times as I was so tired of constant pain. I cry, lament and even swore a little – in a foreign language. It doesn’t happen every day. Maybe once a month on average, during the day, and lasts for maybe 15 minutes. The first time it happened back in June, and it was two days in a row as I was going through a period of increased pain. After that I got a first warning from the Real Estate. Then everything was fine for five months, but then a second  warning from the Real Estate in November.

            Apparently, during these five months he has been writing down every noise he can here from my apartment. This time, I got a copy of the correspondence from the RE Agent, including the neighbour’s noise log. This is because I told the agent I could not possible stop making the noise I am not aware I am making.

            We all live in studio apartments, the building is old, and the insulation is poor. I can hear all sorts of things from other neighbours – day and night. It doesn’t bother me, that’ s why I live in a studio. I don’t think you can expect an absolute silence while living in these kinds of properties.

            Also, I don’t think it’s so much the volume of noise, as its nature that’s bothering my neighbour. He is disturbed and uncomfortable when he hears me cry, wail (as he puts it), moan or groan – even though most of it happens during the day and is not very loud.

            He also complains about my communications with Alexa (I set cooking timers, alarms, check time and weather with it, etc.). Alexa doesn’t hear me very well, so I raise my voice – again, during the day only. The neighbour says I am shouting, while in reality I just raise my voice a little above the conversational level.

            But if this wasn’t enough, he then also makes stuff up. He says I am slamming the front  door ‘extremely violently’ and  ‘outrageously hard’. If I could technically accept that I maybe am louder than I realise with other things, I know for a fact that I always take great care to close the front door as quietly as possible. Previous neighbour, with whom I had good relationship, made me aware that he could hear the door lock click and it bothered him. So ever since I am in a habit of closing the front door very softly. The funny thing is, the neighbour in question closes his door much louder. Again, doesn’t bother me. Just pointing out.

            He also complains that I am banging pots and pans in the kitchen in the middle of the night. When I read the description, I understood that it was me brewing coffee in a percolator and tapping the percolator softly with a spoon to level out the pile of ground coffee I put in. Yes, I sometimes  make coffee at 3 AM, because, unlike for most people, coffee helps me sleep; it also reduces my pain. But he makes it  look like I am just standing in the kitchen and banging pots and pans for the fun of it, to disturb my neighbours, because I am crazy.

            He actually called the Police at 1.30 AM and requested a noise abatement order because of the clanking of pots in the kitchen. I spoke to the Police when I found out about this. They said they came about, didn’t hear any noise and  left.

            He is also claiming I yell abuse directed at him (from inside my apartment). Without specifically mentioning him; but he thinks it’s directed at him because I am shouting ‘in he direction of his apartment’. Also, apparently, I screamed ‘Die, die, die’ near the common wall.

            Basically, he paints me as a crazy, psychotic, possessed, violent, and perhaps even dangerous to him personally individual. Some of these claims can actually be helpful in refuting his claims since they are so obviously incorrect, to put it mildly.

            But there still remains the issue of the noise I do make. I can’t claim I don’t. Except I thing this noise is entirely reasonable, especially considering my disabilities. They are made during the day, are not very frequent, not very long and not very loud, especially considering how loud our building and  the surrounding environment are. Of course, if I was screaming all day every day, it wouldn’t be reasonable, even taking into account my disabilities. But it’s nothing like that.

            But who can determine what is and isn’t reasonable? The RE Agent doesn’t want to get into details. He gets a noise complaint and he acts on it. The agent says ‘why would the neighbour complain if there was no noise?’. He doesn’t seem to understand the concept of reasonableness.

            It looks like the only person who can determine what’s reasonable, is a judge or a NCAT member. But I really don’t want this to proceed to the NCAT. I have no energy and resources for this. Also, because there’s SOME truth to what the neighbour is  claiming (only he exaggerates it grossly), it might be difficult for me to defend myself at the tribunal without being backed up by strong evidence.

            That’s why I thought a sound recorder could be a solution. But if you are saying there’s no way to prove the recordings haven’t been doctored, then it’s out.

            #71726
            Jimmy-T
            Keymaster

              That’s why I thought a sound recorder could be a solution. But if you are saying there’s no way to prove the recordings haven’t been doctored, then it’s out.

              That’s not what I said.  I said it would be better to have an independent assessment. It sounds to me that we have one owner who makes a bit more noise than usual, and a neighbour who is unusually sensitive to it. In your shoes, I’d be saying you didn’t think it was you, but if the neighbour wanted to install sound monitoring devices, monitored by an independent assessor, you’d be okay with that. And suddenly the cost of monitoring is in their financial court, not yours.

              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.
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