I have a problem with noise coming from my neighbour's property. What should I do?
Always speak to your neighbour about the problem and see if you can reach a solution. If this doesn't work, you may need to get outside help. You may find an independent person may help you resolve the problem.
Go to Dispute resolution for information on help that is available for resolving disputes.
What if I have a problem with noise from a neighbour's car or motor bike?
Individual local governments may have rules that deal with vehicles that are noisy or starting up either early in the morning or late at night .
If you have a vehicle noise problem that you cannot resolve with your neighbour you can contact your local government to see if it can assist.
How can I complain about a noise problem?
If your neighbour is having a rowdy, late night party, try asking them to quieten down. If this does not work, you may have to call the police. If they believe the noise is unreasonable, the police can take action. Your local government authority may be called in to measure the noise level.
The same rules apply to regular noisy parties, loud music or televisions, bands playing or practising, machinery, air conditioners, pool pumps and construction noise. If any of these are a problem and talking to your neighbour does not work, write to your local government authority.
Local government environmental health officers administer regulations for commercial and small industrial noise issues. If you have an industrial or commercial related noise complaint, first contact the environmental health officer at your local council/shire office. However, in the case of a noise complaint about premises that you know are licensed under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA) ("the Act") contact your regional Department of Environment Regulation (DER) office.
What can my local government do about a noise problem?
Local governments can prosecute anyone making unreasonable noise or breaching a local government direction or notice. An environmental health officer will usually first visit the owner of the property where the noise is occurring and advise them of the complaint. If this meeting does not solve the problem, arrangements may be made for noise readings to be taken. This will help work out if the noise is above the limit.
Who can measure noise levels?
Local government authorities (eg environmental health officers) can do noise readings. The measurement name for noise is "decibels". If the noise level is over the limit and interferes with another person, the council can take action.
Your local government authority can arrange to measure the level of noise.
Local government officers also have wide powers to get information.
What about a house or car alarm?
The police have powers to inactivate house or car alarms if the alarm is making unreasonable noise and has been sounding for more than 30 minutes.
The DER publishes a guide to making sure that your home or office alarm complies with the Act. It also outlines costs you may be liable for if the police have to call out an alarm technician to disconnect the alarm. It can be downloaded from the DER website.
What can I do about excessive noise from a tavern, night club or pub?
Strict rules apply to the licences of nightclubs, hotels etc about the amount of noise that can be made in residential areas.
You can make a complaint where you believe that:
- the use or enjoyment, quiet or good order of the neighbourhood of the licensed property is often unduly disturbed by an activity happening on the property, or
- the noise coming from the licensed property is excessively offensive, annoying, disturbing or inconvenient.
Other similar situations involving noise may be covered as well.
The Director of Liquor Licensing has a policy for dealing with complaints.
If you make a complaint as someone who lives, works or worships near the licensed premises and in some other circumstances, the complaint must be signed by three unrelated adults (including you), unless the Director approves otherwise.
For more information, contact Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor (DRGL) (08) 9425 1888 country callers 1800 634 541 or visit its website. An information bulletin about complaints to licensed premises which includes the form required to make a complaint can be downloaded from the DRGL website.
You can also contact your local government authority about this noise problem.
What about excessive noise from barking dogs?
Noise from dogs is controlled by the Dog Act 1976 (WA). Again if speaking to your neighbour about the problem doesn't lead to a solution contact your local government ranger.
Where can I get more information?
- Contact Legal Aid WA's InfoLine on 1300 650 579.
- Go to the Department of Environment Regulation website for more information including tips on how to discuss your problem with your neighbour and on particular problems.
- Contact your local government or go to its website. Information may be under headings such as pollution or services/environmental health.
Last reviewed: 12/02/2015