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Noise pollution

Contributed by Anahita Surya and current to March 2022

What are my rights and responsibilities?

All people in the ACT have a general duty to avoid or minimise environmental harm and nuisance, which includes noise (s 22, Environment Protection Act 1997 (ACT); definition section 'environmental nuisance')

The ACT is divided into a number of noise zones. The standard of noise that is permitted depends on the zone that you live in. Different standards apply for residential and commercial noise. These standards can be found on the Access Canberra website.

Resolving the issue in a friendly manner is best for all parties involved. If you need mediation support, contact the ACT Conflict Resolution Service on 6189 0590 (main office)for confidential and affordable assistance. If unsuccessful, you can make a formal complaint.

To talk to someone about your dispute, contact the Legal Aid ACT Helpline (9am to 4pm on weekdays) on 1300 654 314.

How do I lodge a complaint against my neighbour?

You can make a formal complaint by writing to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). The process of making this complaint is identical to that of lodging a light pollution complaint. Refer to the section on light pollution for more information.

Noise and Unit Title

Your owners corporation may have rules on noise nuisance (s 106 and s108(2)(c) Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 (ACT). The consequences for breaching these rules are listed in the Act (s 109, s 110 and s 111 Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 (ACT)).There is also a general duty for all unit occupiers to not cause nuisance or substantial annoyance. Excessive noise may constitute a breach. In this case, you are entitled to make an official complaint to your owners corporation. Alternatively, you can seek an order from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Unit Title Property (Strata) and Neighbourhood Disputes section provides more information on how to make a unit title dispute complaint.

The complaint avenues through the Environment Protection Authority are also available to unit title owners (see How do I lodge a complaint against my neighbour?)

Useful Resources

‘Noise’ webpage, Access Canberra

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