The best approach for dealing with noisy neighbours is to talk to them and work together on a solution to settle the problem.
You may feel anxious about approaching your neighbour, but remember that they are sometimes not aware they are disturbing you. Talking about the noise early on can help make neighbours aware of the problem and be more considerate in future.
See our publication Annoyed by noise? (publication 406) for tips for talking to your neighbour.
If your problem isn’t easily resolved
Formal mediation can be a good way to work through the issue together, or you may seek help from police or your local council.
Police and council officers can direct offenders to stop unreasonable noise. A direction can remain in force for up to 72 hours. Failure to comply with a police or council direction is an offence and offenders are liable for on-the-spot fines. Directions can be issued at any time, and are typically used for noise such as loud parties or annoying airconditioners during prohibited hours.
Your local council can also take action under the nuisance provisions of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents, PDF 1.4MB). Councils are obliged to investigate noise nuisances.
For people living in apartments, their owners corporation must have procedures under the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents, PDF 512KB) to help deal with grievances. These can support communication between neighbours or when making a formal complaint. Also, under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents, PDF 600KB), renters must avoid disturbing the peace and comfort of neighbours. Landlords may take action against tenants who break these rules. For more information on owners corporations or rental and noise, please contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81.
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria can assist in resolving noise problems. This organisation is an agency of the Department of Justice that helps people settle their disputes in a cooperative and lasting way. Mediation relies on both parties to the dispute being willing to discuss the problem in the presence of a mediator. Services are free and confidential.
Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
Level 4/456 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Telephone: 03 9603 8370
Country callers: 1800 658 528
You may also take legal action yourself under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act or EP Act. You should consult a solicitor if you are considering this course of action.