Your neighbour starts mowing the garden at 6 o’clock in the morning, or the air conditioner attached to the property next door is still humming at 11 o’clock at night. What steps can you take to reduce the noise? There are laws in place to help you deal with these noise concerns. These laws differ in Australian each state or territory. It is important to look up the regulations that apply to your jurisdiction before taking 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 the comfort of the person outside the property from which the noise is being emitted. It may also be a noise of a magnitude or nature that is restricted by local regulations, from chainsaws to 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. It is important to be considerate when bringing a noise complaint, as they may not realise there is an issue, or be sensitive towards problems such as crying babies.

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 the 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.

People who receive a notice can make an appeal against it. If the person causing the noise does not comply with the notice, the local council may issue a fine or the offender may be prosecuted.

Seek a Noise Abatement Order

If the neighbouring property is being consistently noisy, with noisy appliances or a barking dog, you can take action without assistance from the local council or a regulator. Request a noise abatement order from your local court. You can also ask your legal adviser for help, or contact a LawPath consultant. Fees apply if you decide to seek a noise abatement order.

If the Court approves the order, they may request the neighbouring property to stop the noise or prevent it from recurring. If the person does 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 ear buds. Save yourself the stress and contact your local council or the police.

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from one our network of 600+ expert lawyers or any other legal needs.

Sydney Rae

Sydney is a Paralegal at LawPath working in our content team, which works to provide free legal guides to enhance public access to legal resources. With a keen interest in Tort and IP Law, her research focuses on small businesses, and how they can better navigate complex legal procedures.