It is an offence to cause unreasonable noise from any residential premises. Residential noise may be deemed unreasonable at any time of the day, depending on its volume, intensity, duration, time, place and other circumstances. Specific types of noisy equipment have times during which their use is prohibited, however some equipment may still be deemed too loud even when used during the appropriate times.
Some activities can be easily identified as producing unreasonable noise, such as a loud music in the early hours of the morning, but some can be more difficult to decide such as a stereo being played loudly during the day.
By contacting Wellington Shire Council or Victoria Police, Officers can provide assistance to residents and may attend your property to listen to the noise, and possibly take measurements, to decide if it is unreasonable. It may also be a good idea to keep a log of when the noise occurs, for how long it continues each time and how the noise is impacting you in the event that further legal action may need to be taken.
Noise - Prohibited Times
For a list of prescribed items and prohibited times please visit the Prohibited Times for Residential Noise page on the Environment Protection Authority website.
Dealing with Noisy Neighbours
The best approach for dealing with noisy neighbours is to first try speaking to them in a calm and rational manner as they may not be aware that they are making an amount of noise that can be heard in your home. Often, making your neighbour aware that the noise is disturbing you can lead to a positive outcome for you both.
If talking to your neighbour does not result in changes being made and the noise continues, there are other courses of action available to you through the Police, Wellington Shire Council or in person.
Police and Council Officers can speak to your neighbours and warn them to cease making the noise during prohibited hours. This order remains in force for 12 hours after which failure to comply can lead offenders to on-the-spot fines.
Wellington Shire Council can also take action under the Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008. If the noise problem has not been resolved after the first two approaches, you may take legal action yourself under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2009, however it is advisable you contact a solicitor for more information.
The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria can assist in resolving noise problems through mediation. Mediation relies on both neighbours attending a meeting with a mediator to discuss both sides of the story freely and honestly. This service is free and confidential.