Noise Complaints


Everyone reacts differently to noise. Noise can disturb neighbours, disrupt sleep and sometimes, impact people’s health. What can be unbearable for one person may pass almost unnoticed by another.

If you are bothered by noise, it is better to speak with the person responsible first. Here are some tips to help resolve conflict and come to a solution.

Chat about the problem with the person first

Before taking formal steps to complain about noise, discuss the issue directly with the person and try to work out a solution together.

Most people are happy to help and they may not know about the problem until you chat with them.

Tips for talking about issues together

  1. Get to know your neighbours early – say hi! This will help if problems arise later.
  2. Try to step back from the issue and consider if it is truly worth raising – is it a one-time event, or something minor that you could let go?
  3. Most people will be happy to help and might not have known about the problem – give them the chance to fix it first.
  4. Differences of opinion are normal, try having a casual chat to resolve a conflict.
  5. Try to avoid blaming the person– be open and say things like ‘I noticed (…). When this happens, I feel (…)’
  6. Keep the conversation on track – be calm, listen and check you understand what is being said.
  7. Work solutions out together – be flexible and try to understand your neighbours needs and restrictions when finding a solution.
  8. It’s ok to take time to solve problems-– you might not find a solution the first time. Keep trying.
  9. Once you’ve had a chat, give them time to do something about it.
  10. Safety is key – if you think you may be put in danger raising an issue, get in touch with the Community Justice Centre or Council.
  11. If you try resolving issues together and need help, Community Justice Centres, Council or other government agencies can also give specialised advice.

Ways you can seek help

Community Justice Centres

If talking to your neighbour isn’t an option, or doesn’t work, contact the Community Justice Centre (CJC).

These centres specialise in settling differences between neighbours. They can arrange mediation between yourself, the person responsible for the noise issue and a CJC representative to help solve the problem.

Phone 1800 990 777 for more information.

NSW Department of Fair Trading

Contact the NSW Department of Fair Trading for assistance in resolving strata scheme issues. Phone 13 32 20.

Be a Good Neighbour

When can Council help?

If you need to report your noise issue to Council, we’ll need a few things including:

  • Type of noise;
  • Source of noise, including the address.
  • A record of the noise for 14 days including the time, dates, and duration.

We will investigate and outline to you the actions that can be taken.

As a first response, we advise the owner of the noise source of the issue and encourage them to explore options to prevent the noise. Should the noise continue you will need to let us know. Further investigation and evidence maybe required.

If you want to take action independently of Council, you can seek a noise abatement order from the local court.

Who else can help?

Some types of noise are better handled by other agencies or organisations such as NSW Police, NSW EPA, Roads and Maritime Services, and Airservices Australia.

Residential noise – time restrictions

Time of day restrictions are in place for residential noise. This enables residents to use and maintain their properties whilst also preventing undue disturbance on neighbours. Council can assist when noisy equipment is used during restricted times or when noise is considered offensive.

Power tools and equipment
  • 8pm to 7am on weekdays and Saturdays
  • 8pm to 8am on Sundays and public holidays
Musical instruments and electrically amplified sound equipment
  • Midnight to 8am on Friday, Saturday or any day before a public holiday
  • 10pm to 8am on any other day.

For antisocial behaviour or disturbances outside of normal business hours:
Police Assistance Line: 131 444.
Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters
  • 10pm to 7am on weekdays
  • 10pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays
Motor vehicles Vehicle noise is acceptable when leaving and entering residential premises.

Other vehicle noise should be restricted between:
  • 8pm to 7am on weekdays
  • 8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays
Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles
  • 8pm to 7am on weekdays
  • 8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays
Pool pumps and spa pumps
  • 8pm to 7am on weekdays and Saturdays
  • 8pm to 8am on Sundays and public holidays
Barking dogs and Keeping of Animals

Council: 02 6626 7107

Nuisance noise created by barking dogs is noise that consistently occurs or continues to such a degree that it unreasonable interfered with the peace, comfort or convenience of another person in any other premises.

Noise type - Who to contact?

Large industrial complexes NSW EPA: 131 555
Commercial premises, smaller factories, and backyard workshops Council: 02 6626 7107
Clubs/Pubs/Licensed premises (including music and patron noise) Office of Liquor and Gaming: 1300 024 720 or complete the Complaint Form.
Council: 02 6626 7107
Construction noise Council: 02 6626 7107
Aircraft noise Airservices Australia: 1800 802 584 or complete the Complaint Form.
Noisy motor vehicles (including trail bikes) NSW EPA: 131 555
Police Assistance Line: 131 444
Council: 02 6626 7107
Road traffic - Local roads Council: 02 6626 7107
Road traffic - Freeways, tollways, main roads Roads and Maritime Services: 13 22 13
Recreational boating, jet skis Roads and Maritime: 13 12 36
Amplified music from vessels Roads and Maritime Services: 13 12 36
Water Police: 02 9320 7499
Council: 02 6626 7107
Fireworks SafeWork NSW: 13 10 50
Intruder alarms Police Assistance Line: 131 444 (including antisocial behaviour or disturbances outside of normal business hours).

In Vehicles manufactured:
  • before 1 Sept 1997: more than 90 seconds
  • on/after 1 Sept 1997: sounding for more than 45 seconds
In Buildings installed:
  • before 1 Dec 1997: sounding for more than 10 minutes
  • on/after 1 Dec 1997: sounding for more than 5 minutes

Also see -EPA - Managing Intruder Alarm Noise(external link)
Noise in public places Council: 02 6626 7107 Police Assistance Line: 131 444 (including antisocial behaviour or disturbances outside of normal business hours).
Keeping of Animals Council: 02 6626 7107

Great resources about noise

Air Conditioners

Think about your neighbours when installing equipment such as air conditioners and hot water heat pumps away from your neighbours’ bedroom and living room windows or have the equipment acoustically shielded. The Fair Air web site can will assist with this.

Neighbourhood Noise

You can download the Dealing with Neighbourhood Noise brochure from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority’s website . The website also has information on dealing with noise.

Aircraft Noise

Buying or moving into a new home? Think about the impact of aircraft noise at your new location. For further information please see the Air Services Australia website.

What is offensive noise?

The definition of offensive noise in the Protection of the Environment Operations Act is noise: 
(a) that, by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances:
(i) is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or 
(ii) interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or 
(b) that is of a level, nature, character or quality prescribed by the regulations or that is made at a time, or in other circumstances, prescribed by the regulations.