What are some of my options when dealing with a noisy neighbour?

Could there be anything more annoying than noisy neighbours? What if the noise also stems from a barking dog? One of the more common complaints about neighbours relates to noise, and some readers may be wondering what their options are if they are dealing with a noisy neighbour. Well, read on to find out. 

Dealing with that barking dog

Generally speaking, local councils will have the ability to make orders relating to animals considered as a nuisance. Using s 32A(1) of the Companion Animals Act 1998 (NSW) (the Act) as our example, a dog is a nuisance if it is: 

  • habitually at large;
  • makes noise by barking that persistently occurs or continues to such a degree or extent, that it unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of any person in any other premises;
  • repeatedly defecates on property (other than a public place) outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept;
  • repeatedly runs at or chases any person, animal or vehicle;
  • repeatedly causes substantial damage to anything outside the property on which it is ordinarily kept. 

For anyone who believes that we dislike canines and are fans of felines (understandable since cats are popular online), there are also laws within the Act that deal with nuisance cats.

Beyond pets that are a nuisance, other noises that may be considered intrusive can include loud music, unruly parties, or burglar alarms. 

Who has responsibility over the behaviour of pets?

The onus is obviously on the owner to take reasonable care to ensure that their animals do not cause damage to adjoining properties. Owners of an adjoining property may lawfully seize a dog if the action is reasonable, and necessary in the prevention of damage to the property, as stated in s 22(1) the Act.

What actions can a person take against a noisy neighbour?

Perhaps the most sensible option is to first discuss any potential issue a person may be experiencing with their neighbour, and strive to reach an amicable resolution. Other avenues can involve mediation through a Community Justice Centre for example, or a complaint to the local council can be made and a noise abatement order can be issued by the council. For larger scale noise issues, a complaint can also be lodged with a State environment body, such as the Department of Environment and Climate Change in New South Wales, or the Department of Sustainability and Environment for example.  



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