How to deal with noise complaints
In my role as founder and CEO of Ace Body Corporate Management over the past 20 years there are three areas of concern from owners that rise above all else when living in a strata community.
Parking: “Someone has double parked behind my car and I can’t get out of my property”.
Pets: “The next door neighbour’s cat is left out during the night and is causing trouble”.
Noise: “Unit 27 have decided it is a good time for band practice at 1:00am in the morning”.
These are some of the more common phone exchanges between Strata managers and owners living in strata communities. Today I will be taking a look at noise complaints in strata building and explain some of the options available to owner occupiers and tenants.
Why is noise more of an issue in strata?
Simply put, close proximity living brings people… closer. Pretty obvious right?
It still astounds me the number of owners that communicate to their strata manager that if they were aware of how much noise their neighbours made then they would never have purchased a strata property.
Noise has a knack for travelling through walls, around fences and often directly into the bedroom of a restless sleeper who is left wondering how they are possibly going to get through work tomorrow in their sleep deprived state.
How do I make it stop?
The first option should always be to communicate openly and directly with the source of the problem. If your neighbour has suddenly decided to try their hand at carpentry late at night, normally they are not even aware that they have become a nuisance to their neighbours.
The majority of noise complaints in strata building can be resolved right at this moment. Be friendly and come prepared with a few alternative options so that all involved can find an agreeable solution.
Perhaps the budding carpenter can agree to only use his power tools on Saturday morning when you are already out of the house at tennis practice.
Come to an arrangement that benefits all involved. Sometimes you may have to rearrange your schedule slightly to accommodate your neighbour. Remember it is not always just about you when sharing common property!
So what do you do when the noise is coming from common property such as a leaking pipe or faulty electricity cabling and there is no obvious person to wave your finger at?
Inform a committee member from your strata community immediately and explain the problem in as much detail as possible. The committee member can then consult with the strata manager and check the maintenance records. Perhaps the pipes or cabling haven’t been regularly maintained and they have now become faulty which is causing the noise.
The committee members can then decide to have areas checked or repaired by a tradesperson and hopefully stop the noise in a timely manner.
The forgetful neighbour
So you have very politely gone and spoken to your neighbour about the noise that has been keeping you up at night and they have agreed to keep it down. For the first week, it is silent bliss and everything seems great… then to your horror, the noise comes back with vengeance and your follow up attempts to silence the noise have fallen on deaf ears.
Speak to your strata committee and have them draft a strongly worded letter outlining how the noise is impacting other residents. Hopefully, this resolves the issue, if not an alternative such as dispute resolution may have to be looked at (see below).
Some noise complaints in strata building such as babies crying in the middle of the night are very difficult to prevent and unfortunately, there is not a great deal that can be done. While the baby is causing noise that is affecting other people, unlike unruly parties or power tools, we can’t limit the time a baby decides to cry for the betterment of other residents.