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  • #56894

    We own an apartment in Bondi and have very good tenants in it. The flat above (overseas owned) is leased to a man who runs a business subletting many apartments in the local area.

    The sub let tenants play loud music all day and night and our tenants do not want to renew their lease because of the noise.  Numerous noise complaints have been ignored, and our tenants even had to call the police this Monday night. What can we do?! Can we pass a bylaw that prohibits subletting in our (small) block? Does this take a long time?

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  • #56896
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Can we pass a bylaw that prohibits subletting in our (small) block?

    No you can’t – you can’t pass by-laws that interfere with the sale or rental of units – but there are plenty of other solutions.

    It would probably be worth getting an experienced strata lawyer to review your existing by-laws to see which ones would be effective and which ones would stick.

    The model by-laws (which you’d need to have been adopted for your specific block) say this:

    6 Noise

    An owner or occupier of a lot, or any invitee of an owner or occupier of a lot, must not create any noise on a lot or the common property likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot or of any person lawfully using common property.

    7 Behaviour of owners, occupiers and invitees

    (2) An owner or occupier of a lot must take all reasonable steps to ensure that invitees of the owner or occupier–

    (a) do not behave in a manner likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot or any person lawfully using common property.

    Now, if you have those by-laws already on your books, then you can start issuing Notices to Comply to each of the offending parties: the upstairs tenants, the  head tenant (sub-letting landlord) and the owner.

    But if you don’t have them, or the wording is different, you may have to fix things, then start issuing NTCs.

    According to this post, if your by-laws say that owners (rather than residents) mustn’t make too much noise then a noise by-law wouldn’t apply to the tenants.  But the headline on the post is a bit misleading … it’s not that tenants can’t be told to keep the noise down, it’s that the by-laws have to be precise.

    Download this pamphlet published by the state government about how to deal with noisy neighbours.

    In your position, I’d check the by-laws, issue the Notices to Comply (don’t get sidetracked with nonsense about issuing warnings – NTCs ARE warnings) and hit them with everything you can muster.

    I’d offer your tenants a week of free rent to compensate but ask them to call the police whenever the noise goes past 10pm on week nights or midnight at weekends.  The police will come, they will issue on-the-spot fines and they will remove stereos or whatever if they’ve told the tenants to stop the noise and they start up again.

    The EPA restrictions above are not instead of your block’s noise by-laws, they are as well as, so noise during the day should be hit with Notices To Comply and noise late at night by calls to the police.

    And if none of that works, you can hit both the tenants and the head tenant with noise abatement orders at your local court and if they ignore those, they are committing a crime.  That’s all in the pamphlet too.

    By the way, if the tenants are obstructive or try to delay action at NCAT, you can apply for all legal costs to be paid by them, so there may come a point where you want to “lawyer up”.

     

    #56920
    Divanhey
    Flatchatter

    Good luck trying to use the noise bylaw. I’ve had a noisy toddler above me for a year now and our Strata manager won’t pursue it further because it’s a child.

    so the bylaws can be useless in some cases. But good luck anyhow.

    nana di

    #56927
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Good luck trying to use the noise bylaw. I’ve had a noisy toddler above me for a year now and our Strata manager won’t pursue it further because it’s a child.

    You don’t have to wait for the strata manager to do it.  You can apply to Fair Trading for mediation then pursue it at NCAT if you wish.

    In any case, there’s a big difference between noisy toddlers and party animals breaking by laws and EPA noise regulations.

     

    #56941
    OldHat
    Flatchatter

    I liked the NSW EPA brochure on noise, thank you.   I wish Australia had consistent laws across states! If I post this brochure on my Strata noticeboard (in WA), some people will say it applies to NSW and nowhere else L .

    Are you aware of any WA-specific brochures like this? I’ve got the WA EPA regs, but they’re awfully unfriendly legal-speak.

    WA is way behind NSW on this stuff!   Keep up the good work, Flat Chat is very useful to us even though we’re not in NSW.

    #56943
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The standard WA by-laws (which you will find in this document) cover noise in two sections.

    Section 2(b) says: An owner or occupier of a lot must … not use the lot or permit it to be used in such manner or for such purpose as causes a nuisance to an occupier of another lot (whether an owner or not) or the family of such an occupier.

    Section 12 (b) says: An owner or occupier of a lot must not … make undue noise in or about the lot or common property.

    So if the noise is occurring at any time during the night or day, you can issue breach notices (or whatever the equivalent is in WA) and pursue it that way.

    If it’s happening at night, you can call the police on 131 444 (while it’s happening).

    If it’s a persistent issue and the residents ignore by-law breach notices, you can call your local authority.

    The WA EPA regulations refer to noise nuisance in five main regards (in no particular order):

    1. The time of day the noise occurs
    2. The volume or intensity of the noise
    3. The nature of the noise (e.g. irritating repetitive beeping rather than loud music).
    4. The length of time the noise lasts
    5. The number of times the noise nuisance occurs.

    I have extracted the table below from a factsheet issued by Rockingham Council based on the EPA regulations (because it’s the most helpful I could find). It seems there are different times when different noise levels are permitted

    Time of Day Assigned level (dB)
    LA10 LA1 LAmax
    7:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday – Saturday 45 + IF 55 + IF 65 + IF
    9:00 am to 7:00 pm Sunday and Public Holidays 40 + IF 50 + IF 65 + IF
    7:00 pm to 10:00 pm all days 40 + IF 50 + IF 55 + IF
    10:00 pm on any day to 7:00 am Monday to Saturday and 9:00 am Sunday and Public Holidays 35 + IF 45 + IF 55 + IF

    If these LA figures mean nothing to youu (as they did to me) LA10 is the average noise lever for 10 percent of the time, La1 is for 1 per cent of the measurement time and LAmax is, as you’d think, the maximum noise level at any given time.

    And you can get a guide to what the Decibels mean in real term from this chart.

    Now, I’m not an audio expert so if I’ve got this wrong please correct me (and apologies for the crappy table above).

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