How to Make a Noise Complaint (2022 Update)

Jul 19, 2019
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Written by Sydney Rae
Do you have a neighbour who tends to turn on the lawn mower at 6 in the morning? Or does the house next to you host parties which go well into the early hours? These sorts of things, beyond disturbing your sleep, can seriously affect your enjoyment of your property. You may feel like there’s nothing you can do about it, but there are laws which can help you deal with this. These laws differ in each Australian state or territory. It is also important to look up the regulations that apply to your jurisdiction before taking any further action. If you have a building project and want to ensure your compliance with your state or territory’s noise regulations, you should contact a construction lawyer.

What is a Noise Disturbance?

The definition of noise disturbance or ‘offensive noise’ can differ according to the legislation of each Australian state or territory. Generally, the noise may be harmful, or unreasonably interfere with your comfort. It may also be a noise hat is restricted by local regulations. These include chainsaws and home theatre systems.

How to Make a Noise Complaint

Talk to the Person Causing the Noise

The person or people making the noise may not be aware that their conduct amounts to noise disturbance. Before taking any formal action, try to address the issue with them and work out a suitable solution. You should try to be considerate when bringing a noise complaint, as your neighbour may not realise that there is an issue. Further, it may be an issue that’s hard to control, such as a crying infant.

Contact your Local Council

Local Councils are allowed to serve notices on the occupiers of homes or businesses. These notices can request them to stop offensive noise or clarify the level of noise that is appropriate. Notices cover noisy animals, or equipment such as swimming pool pumps, power tools or radios. A notice can restrict the amount of time an activity is conducted in the day. However, people who receive a notice can appeal against it. If the person causing the noise does not comply with the notice, the local council may issue a fine or prosecute them.

Seek a Noise Abatement Order

If your neighbours are being consistently noisy, with noisy appliances or a barking dog, you can take action without assistance from the local council or a regulator. You can do this by requesting a noise abatement order from your local court. You can also ask your legal adviser for help, or find a suitable lawyer online to advise you. Fees apply if you decide to seek a noise abatement order. If the Court approves the order, they may request your neighbour to stop the noise or prevent it from recurring. If they do not comply with the notice, the local council may issue a fine or they could be prosecuted. Similarly to a notice, the person charged with causing the noise can appeal against the order.

Contact the Police

If you contact the police to make a noise complaint, the police can:
  • Issue a warning to the person responsible for the noise; or
  • Issue a noise abatement direction, which directs the person to stop making the noise.
Police or authorised officers of councils have special powers to seize equipment causing the noise, such as a sound system, if it contravenes the noise abatement direction.

Licensed venues entertainment properties

While licensed premises such as pubs or clubs may create unreasonable noise after business hours, these businesses are subject to city controls, such as prescribed noise limits. These limits are designed to balance with the existing background noise of the area. You can contact the body that regulates the noise of licensed venues such as pubs and clubs in your area, or, get in touch with a business lawyer.


No longer do you have to save up for a good pair of heavy-duty headphones. All residents have a right to enjoy their property without incessant outside noise. By knowing what your rights are, you can save yourself the stress and contact your local council or the police.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

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