Flat Chat Strata Forum Neighbour noise Current Page

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  • #61880
    denise04
    Flatchatter

    Recently we have received a notice to comply regarding noise from an adjoining townhouse occupant who feels that we do not have a right to our own back courtyard to gather or talk after 10.00pm on weekends
    He has presented his diary notes to the strata manager, he is not on the committee and the there are not any police reports because its general household talking outside
    The strata manager has acted on his complaint based on his diary notes and without committee endorsement or sanction
    How do I respond to the Notice to Comply in this circumstance, Surely this must be invalid due to one residents complain in a townhouse complex of 24
    Any advices on how to dispute this complaint would be welcome

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
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  • #61893
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I note the point about police not having been called, but this is irrelevant.  The fact that it is only one resident who has complained is also of very little concern.

    The key issue is whether or not your late night chats in your backyard are unreasonably disturbing the  neighbour’s peaceful enjoyment of their lot (a right that its protected by strata law and, probably, by your by-laws too).

    If you, your family and friends are making noise, even just by talking, to the extent that the resident of an adjoining unit is, for instance, kept awake at night, then you may well be in breach of the law and by-laws.

    As to what to do next, a Notice To Comply is an opportunity to moderate your behaviour so that you and your family and guests aren’t breaching by-laws.

    If you don’t think you are making too much noise, and the complaint is false, keep doing what you’re doing and see what happens next (probably an application for a fine at NCAT).

    But if alcohol is involved, you may not even be aware of the noise that you are making. So think about it before you go to the barricades on this.  Take your late-night chats inside after, say 10pm – then everyone will get some peace.

    Also, if you have the slightest suggestion in your mind that this is your home and you have a right to do as you please, prepare yourself for a potentially long, costly and nasty battle that may end up with you being fined AND having to moderate your behaviour anyway.

    He has presented his diary notes to the strata manager, he is not on the committee … the strata manager has acted on his complaint based on his diary notes and without committee endorsement or sanction

    The strata manager doesn’t need the endorsement of the committee to issue a Notice to Comply. Also, it makes no difference whether or not the neighbour is on the committee.

    There seem to be a couple misconceptions here about how strata works.  You may do well to read the  factsteets produced by Fair Trading to get a better idea of where you stand on this and other issues.

     

    #61895
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    An interesting situation.

    Firstly examine whether you can do anything to reduce the noise, even if you believe you are right.

    Secondly, if you believe that you are reasonable, wait for the next step from the OC. They can ask for mediation, in which case a compromise may be agreed.

    The OC may decide to take it further. It’s up to the OC to prove you are a nuisance. The neighbours diary is one piece of evidence, but they would need additional reports such as police records and acoustic reports to solidify their case.

    The problem may just be the neighbour and thst could be flushed out at mediation.

    #61903
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Firstly examine whether you can do anything to reduce the noise, even if you believe you are right.

    That should have been my first and main point.  Talk to your neighbour and try to get to the root of the problem to see if it can be resolved amicably.

    They can ask for mediation, in which case a compromise may be agreed.

    A notice to comply does not require mediation, which is not part of that process.  It’s warning that if you don’t stop breaking by-laws, you could be taken to NCAT where fines could be imposed.

    It’s up to the OC to prove you are a nuisance … they would need additional reports such as police records and acoustic reports to solidify their case.

    First part is true – proof would be required – but police and acoustic reports are unlikely to have anything to do with this. The strata committee might need corroborating evidence if they pursue this, but that could be stat decs from other residents who have also heard the noise.  There is no police involvement (as has been stated) and, in any case, how would you get acoustic reports and what we they be on?

    The problem may just be the neighbour and thst could be flushed out at mediation.

    Once again, there is no mediation involved in issuing a Notice To Comply. It’s  a “cease and desist, or else” warning.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by .
    #61983
    tina
    Flatchatter

    If the strata manager has been previously authorised to issue a notice to comply, then this is a valid notice. See Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) Section 146:

    https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2015-050#sec.146

    There is an information sheet about neighbourhood noise from the Environment Protection Autority:

    https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/-/media/epa/corporate-site/resources/noise/21p3039-dealing-with-neighbourhood-noise.pdf

    There is no specific mention about noise from people talking.  For the things that are covered, noise after 10:00PM is not permitted. These rules come from the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017 at:

    https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/sl-2017-0449

    #61980
    harburg
    Flatchatter

    First re the Notice to Comply, to what is the resident supposed to comply?
    One of the basic bylaws is that no-one should behave in such a way as to disturb the quiet enjoyment of other residents in their units. Check the bylaws.

    The trouble presumably arises on fine evenings when everyone wants their windows open to allow ventilation and wait for the cool night air.

    It sounds like a single male complaining, a woman would know about snoring 2 feet away and already dealt with it.

    Has the writer talked to other neighbours? Has the person complained about talked to other neighbours? In both cases the other 22? Is the person complained about an owner or a tenant? Need more info.

    It’s normal for people to enjoy sitting in their gardens and talking.

    I would ask for proof in the form of audio recordings, at least three on different dates, anyone can write a complaint alleging anything.

    The complainant bought a townhouse for a reason, presumably expecting to have other people living there, they can be noisy too!

    Tell him to try wearing earplugs, or plugging in an earplug from a radio, soon sends me to sleep.

    We are an elderly couple combined ages 160yrs living in a strata unit in Sydney, on a main road, and while my hearing is good, have got used to the traffic sounds.

     

    #61997
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    There is an information sheet about neighbourhood noise from the Environment Protection Autority:

    That sheet generally applies to “mechanical” noise, including radios, stereos and musical instruments.  As you say, there is nothing there about voices.  That may be why the cops were never called.  The “peaceful enjoyment” by-laws are what’s relevant in this case.

    #61998
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    First re the Notice to Comply, to what is the resident supposed to comply?

    A “Notice To Comply” is a standard official warning which must cite and reproduce the by-law that has allegedly been breached, if it is to have any effect.  Since this was issued by the Strata Manager, it’s reasonable to assume the by-law was spelled out on the official form.

    #62012
    86_strata
    Flatchatter

    Process and evidence aside, a simple solution here in my view would be to apologise and simply be courteous and respectful of your neighbours moving forward. Clearly there is a pattern of noisy behaviour here to evoke the keeping of a diary by your neighbour and that this in itself must have been convincing enough for the strata manager to act.

    Just as you are entitled to make reasonable noise, your neighbours are likewise entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their property (perhaps more so at night).  And just because it is your backyard does not make it a free-for-all.

    If noise from your gatherings, or phone calls, or loud laughter, or barking dog, or air conditioner for that matter is causing a repeated disturbance to your neighbours and you choose to simply dig your heels in and persist, then they have a right to voice a complaint and be heard.

    Simply apologising and showing a bit more courtesy moving forward may solve this problem rather than the slippery slope of disputes and mediation.  Not to mention it is always nicer to have neighbours who we can be civil and friendly to.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by .
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Flat Chat Strata Forum Neighbour noise Current Page