Flat Chat Forum Neighbour noise Current Page

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    We are in Sydney and our block of 9 with mostly long term tenants and a few owners has a noise issue that has gone on too long and leaving some in tears (literally). 

    We need some steps please as the Strata Manager and Owners Corporation has filed the whole thing in the too hard basket at the last AGM (November). 

    I’m an owner and the secretary of the Strata Committee seeking a pathway to a resolution for a tenant (T) who has lived here for 8 years. A new tenant moved in above their family a year ago and they have had no peace since. Every move the upstairs tenant makes is heard in T’s apartment clear as day. 

    The upstairs landlord had renovated before I had bought/moved in and there is no mention in any Strata Meeting minutes of the floor boards that were put in. However at the last meeting he reassured owners that they comply acoustically and he gave mats to the tenant… Matter was closed and made clear by the majority no more is to be done and T can go to the tribunal. 

    T has had no support from the Owners, T’s landlord (the only owner/landlord that no one has ever met) or the Strata Manager who is outright hostile about T and sides completely with the upstairs owner. 

    T was hoping that upstairs would move out but they have extended their lease. T speaks to upstairs and upstairs have tried. No one has faith the tribunal will resolve the issue but this is where we are heading. 

    What does T need for the best outcome at the tribunal? 

    I am sympathetic to T’s challenge. What can I do? Do I become a witness to the noise (I have heard it hence my sympathy)? Can I provide minutes of the AGM for T’s battle. Do I contact the upstairs landlord on T’s behalf? I don’t want to ruin my relationship with the other owners we have a great relationship. There is maybe 1 other owner sympathetic to T’s challenge. Anyone got some clear steps to follow for a happy outcome. 

    Thank you in advance

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    We met at the affected unit. Both occupants, Both managing agents and 2 Strata Committee reps. 

    The upstairs occupant walked around barefoot and vacuumed.  The upstairs managing agent said ‘it’s louder down here than upstairs’.. they relayed this to the upstairs owner and a floorer is being sent to fix it. We all left the meeting happy with relationships intact. 

    I now have some clear steps for how I would manage this issue in the future and if this one is not resolved at this step. Of course legal advice is always preferred and I am definitely not qualified. I’ve just had 1 experience but this is what I would do if this happened again. 

    1. SC representative/s to met with affected occupant and hear the noise. Suggest to affected occupant to start log and collect recordings. 

    2. Communicate with owners (OC) so they are aware we might be heading towards an EGM and/or Tribunal.

    3. Explain to the responsible owner the issue and the independent observation.

    4. If no resolution move to a meeting in the affected lot with both occupants, both lot owners or managing agents, and SC representative. 

    5. If no resolution ask owner of affected lot to write to OC/SC for EGM to get notice to comply, acoustic test and action to resolve. 

    5. If no resolution proceed to mediation with 4 week noise log, recordings, emails, meeting details and minutes. 

    6. If no resolution proceed to tribunal ideally with acoustic test (still not sure who would pay for that)

    Ideas for some of these steps came from Puddn’s post and Jimmy’s post. In particular Jimmy’s ‘Timber and Tile Floor 2010’

    It would be great to see factsheets from qualified people with clear step by step or flow charts to help resolve common Strata issues harmoniously (or maybe I missed it) I think a factsheet would be beneficial because then the process becomes transparent, fair and clear for all to follow. It would prevent the resolution being stalled from personal biases and emotion.

    Anyway I am hopeful we will have our noise issue fixed properly. Thank you Jimmy and Puddn. 


    Thank you,

    We are meeting and a time has been agreed to. Both realestate agents, both occupants and two members of the Strata Committee. No owners of the affected units have committed to attending yet. 

    Thank you Puddn we will conduct those tests. What physical evidence do you collect? Recordings or document of the meeting?

    Jimmy the upstairs unit has had rugs put down and the tenants were requested to remove their shoes and still the issue continues. I will look up the legislation for Owners Corporation (OC) responsibilities… we weren’t advised by our Strata manager that we had legislated duties in this matter. 

    Is the OC obliged to get an accoustic test?

    Thank you this is very helpful. First time is very daunting and stressful but Puddn you have reassured me it can be resolved


    Our large scheme in NSW, has had several successes by requesting that complainant, committee representative and offender meet to conduct a simple noise test – that is, someone (not resident) walks around normally, moves chairs, drops keys etc. In the unit below a committee member (or other non related person), offender representative and complainant representative ‘witness’ any noise.

    This can take some organising, and patience, but whether it is successful or not, the complainant has ‘evidence’ to take to tribunal/mediation.

    In two of our own cases, the ‘offenders’ were so shocked by the noise created they voluntarily replaced/upgraded their flooring.

    Two agreed to remove/upgrade their flooring at mediation, and we have had two wins at NCAT.

    Our committee is now very comfortable with taking action (issuing Notice to Comply), where once it dallied and danced around.


    One simple answer would be for T to ask for a rent reduction, backdated to their first complaint or for the downstairs landlord to take action.  I don’t see why the committee would accept that the flooring is “compliant” when it quite clearly isn’t doing its job.

    There are provisions under the Act for the committee to initiate its own mediation, in an effort to try to define the problem and resolve it.

    Or, bearing in mind that noise is as much behavioural as it is simply structural, you could start looking at ways of requiring the upstairs people to cut the noise or face breach notices.

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Flat Chat Forum Neighbour noise Current Page