Help, my body corporate neighbours are noisy
Deciding to live in a body corporate environment is a commitment to being part of a community that must physically interact at distances that are sometimes up close and personal. Usually, there is greater need to be aware of your own noise creations and a requirement for increased tolerance of outside noise compared to a free standing residential situation. This is a direct consequence of the reduced distances. That said, noise levels from neighbours can be unacceptable and do not have to be endured in silence. Actions that can be taken –
Inform the neighbour
Letting your neighbour know how the noise is affecting you may be sufficient for them to modify their behaviour. Focus on explaining the impact to you personally. If you are unable to meet with them directly, a polite hand written note is an alternate approach.
Inform the body corporate
The by-laws of the body corporate will very likely have a rule regarding noise. In Queensland, the by-laws are recorded on the Community Management Statement of the Body Corporate. Unless modified by the body corporate, the default by-law regarding noise in the Queeensland legislation is –
The occupier of a lot must not create noise likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of a person lawfully on another lot or the common property.
Discuss your concern with the body corporate committee (or manager). If they determine that there has been a breach of the by-law, they must issue a contravention notice or possibly a future contravention notice (when there is high expectation that reoffending may occur).
Taking it further
In Queensland, if a contravention notice is not complied with, proceedings may be started in the Magistrates court, or through the Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM) dispute resolution service. Read a typical BCCM adjudication case outcome. However, in the case of noise, the orders that the BCCM can make may be limited. In this particular case, the adjudicator noted that –
Noise , foul language and intimidation are matters which are breaches of civil and possibly criminal law. If the conduct breaches criminal law, the police should be alerted. This Office has no power to deal with criminal activity. This Office also has no power to evict tenants or occupiers from Lots. This is a matter entirely for the owner/landlord.