Noise can be defined as ‘unwanted sound’. What may be pleasurable sound to one person can be noise to another. Over time, noise can cause significant impacts on health and wellbeing, especially when it disturbs sleep.
The Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018 lists specific types of equipment and their prohibited times. Noise is automatically unreasonable if audible inside a neighbouring residence during the prohibited times. Any residential noise can still be considered unreasonable outside the prohibited times.
Allowable days and times for residential noise
Allowed days and times
- Motor vehicles (except a vehicle entering or leaving premises)
- Equipment or appliance with an internal combustion engine
- Electric power tool, chain or circular saw
- Gas or air compressor
- Pneumatic power tool, hammer or other impacting tool
- Grinding equipment
- Monday to Friday: 7am-8pm
- Weekends and public holidays: 9am-8pm
- Domestic air conditioner
- Swimming pool or spa pump
- Domestic heating equipment (including central heating and hot water systems)
- Monday to Friday: 7am-11pm
- Weekends and public holidays: 9am-11pm
- Musical instruments
- Electrical amplified sound reproducing equipment (including stereogram, radio, television or public address system)
- Monday to Thursday: 7am-10pm
- Friday: 7am-11pm
- Saturday and public holidays: 9am-11pm
- Sunday: 9am-10pm
What to do about noisy neighbours
Often people don’t realise that what they’re doing is actually bothering anyone else and after being informed of the situation will happily stop the noise. If you have noise concerns, visit the person to let them know that the noise is annoying you or drop drop a friendly note into their mailbox.
When approaching your neighbour be sure to do so in a relaxed and calm manner using a friendly tone of voice. Just remember that you might be doing something that annoys others, so think about how you’d like to be informed about it.
Also, remember that noise can seem worse under certain circumstances, i.e. other stresses that you or your neighbour might have. Medical problems can also be exacerbated by excessive noise.
If the noise cannot be completely stopped, try negotiating a suitable time with your neighbour when it won’t annoy you, and come to a common agreement that satisfies both of you.
What if my neighbour doesn’t stop being noisy?
If the noise continues after you have notified the person that it is annoying you, the next step is to keep a diary of when the noise occurs, for how long and how often. This can provide good evidence when you make a formal complaint to a higher authority.
If you are unable to resolve the matter yourself consider contacting:
- Telephone the EPA on 1300 372 842 or visit the EPA's Noise page for more information
- Contact Council
- Contact Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria on 1300 372 888
Only in extreme circumstances should you call the police.
What if I’m going to have a party?
If you’re planning a party, chat with your neighbours or organise a letterbox drop to avoid any complaints about your party.