Is strata the solution for noisy neighbours? VIC | Neighbour noise | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Is strata the solution for noisy neighbours? VIC
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peaceandquiet
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15/07/2017 - 7:35 pm
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I'm a new member living in Victoria in a semi-detached place. What luck, the only noisy household in the street is next to us. We have tried friendly neighbour-to-neighbour conversations, mediation, police ... they are still partying except now they're up to other things too because they're angry.

We can't afford to move but we think we might have to or lose our health. I was wondering if moving into a strata place with a strict body corp might protect us from noisy / malicious neighbours?

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Lady Penelope
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15/07/2017 - 8:54 pm
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peaceandquiet - Unfortunately selfish people live everywhere - in strata high density units, in strata low density units, in semi detached dwellings, in detached dwellings, in suburbia, in cities, in country towns, by the beach etc. It happens.

Strata by-laws have noise and nuisance provisions but sadly not all occupants all of the time abide by them.  

Have you gone through all of the steps here:

http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/your.....neighbours

Are the noisy neighbours tenants, or are they owners? If they are tenants can you contact their Agent? 

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Austman
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16/07/2017 - 10:16 am
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peaceandquiet said
I'm a new member living in Victoria in a semi-detached place. 

I was wondering if moving into a strata place with a strict body corp might protect us from noisy / malicious neighbours?  

Strata laws and rules can go further than the epa legislation.

The Owners Corporation Act (VIC) Model Rules state:

  • An owner or occupier of a lot, or a guest of an owner or occupier, must not unreasonably create any noise likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any other person entitled to use the common property.  
  • An owner or occupier of a lot must take all reasonable steps to ensure that guests of the owner or occupier do not behave in a manner likely to unreasonably interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any other person entitled to use the common property.

Although a "strict" OC might be active in enforcing the OC Act and OC rules, any resident can independently start a three step process to resolve noise issues that can eventually see the matter taken to VCAT:

Three-step process for complaints

In my experience as an OC chair, noise matters have not gone past the internal dispute resolution step which includes a grievance meeting.  First we have issued breach notices.  But when they have been ignored, formally bringing the parties together in a grievance meeting has been reasonably successful. 

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JimmyT
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16/07/2017 - 3:34 pm
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peaceandquiet said
I was wondering if moving into a strata place with a strict body corp might protect us from noisy / malicious neighbours?  

In the great (and rather tiresome) debate over whether living in a house is better than living in an apartment, I often cite exactly this issue as support for the latter.

It may be that you are more likely to be disturbed by noisy neighbours - due to more people living in close proximity - but it's also the case that you are less likely to be the only one who suffers.

And if you are not alone, you are less likely to be singles out for retribution if you complain.

In reality, it's not the laws and by-laws that matter as much as the diligence with which they are enforced, and that changes from building to building.

I would not buy or rent in an apartment block without making sure of how many complaints about noise they'd had and how they had been dealt with.

No evidence of noise complaints could mean two things - either everyone is well-behaved or the committee, building manager or strata manager don't take complaints seriously (especially if they are frequent).

The only way you will get an true answer is by asking a question in the block you are interested in.  But if you find a block where antisocial behaviour is jumped on and dealt with effectively, grab it. 

Other buildings will tolerate disturbance because it suits the majority of residents' lifestyles.  Others won't and that's where you want to be.

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