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Hopefully your neighbourhood sounds like laughing kids, barking dogs, chirping birds and the hum of lawnmowers. But what do you do when your neighbour has their stereo cranked to volume 11 at all hours or wakes you up at 6am with their weed whacker?
The New Zealand Resource Management Act states that people should avoid making unreasonable noise that causes disruption to their community. That means you do have rights if your neighbours are regularly making a little too much noise.
Before you take any action, always talk to your neighbour first. They might have no idea their noise is an issue. If you’re not comfortable with potentially awkward conversations, consider writing a friendly letter and popping it in their letterbox. Or you could send them a private message using Neighbourly.co.nz.
Rather than demanding your neighbour turn the source of the noise off, suggest a compromise so both parties are happy. It could be as simple as asking them not to mow their lawns before 9am on a Sunday morning, or turning the bass down in their television speakers.
If the property is tenanted and you’re not getting anywhere, consider contacting your neighbour’s landlord or your body corp manager (your local council may be able to assist you in finding their contact details). Their authority may have more leverage than you.
If the noise continues to be a nuisance, speak to your local council. They can send a noise control officer (NCO) out to assess the situation and decide if the noise really is excessive. If it is, the NCO will ask your neighbour to turn the source of the noise down. If it’s impossible to turn down, like a power tool, they may ask them to turn it off altogether. If your neighbours refuse or turn it back up as soon as the NCO leaves (which often does happen, especially with parties), the NCO may return and confiscate the source of the noise altogether. It’s also worth noting that the NCO won’t tell your neighbour it was you who made the complaint.
If the noise issues persist, your next step is going straight to the top and taking them to the Environment Court. When lawyers and expert advisers are involved your noisy neighbours can turn into costly ones so resolving issues away from the court is easier on the pocket.
If the source of the noise is a dog, ongoing house alarm, plane or factory, different rules apply. A council representative may be able to enter a vacant home to turn off an ongoing house alarm if they’re accompanied by a member of the police, while higher decibel limits may apply in industrial areas.
What if the source of the noise is, erm, unpleasantly loud nocturnal activities coming from the neighbours’ bedroom? Always be polite and courteous if it’s a sensitive subject. If you’re feeling particularly brave, though, you could always subtly ask them to move their headboard away from the wall ever so slightly. However, if the noise really is causing you grief, ignore the awkwardness and just come out and say it – again, they’re probably blissfully unaware.
If there’s shouting next door or noises you think are related to domestic violence or getting out of hand, don’t be afraid to call the police. If you feel comfortable, step in and offer assistance, however if you feel unsafe at any stage always call 111.
Suspect you’re a noisy neighbour? Always treat your neighbours how you’d like to be treated back; neighbourhoods are so much nicer when everyone gets along. Use Neighbourly to break the ice with more of your neighbours. Awkward conversations are that much easier to kick off when you’ve had a good interaction before.
For more information about your rights when it comes to noisy neighbours, contact your local council or Citizens Advice Bureau.
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Continue reading this article at the original source from Stuff.co.nz
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