Noisy neighbours - case study
This information relates to laws in Victoria, Australia.
Two neighbours lived in an apartments, above and below each other. Because of the way the building was designed, noise was a problem.
What happened next
Dean had a young daughter who was regularly woken up by music and other sounds coming from his neighbour, Amanda's, upstairs apartment. For a year, he often complained to Amanda, who said that she tried not to make too much noise. She also said that she heard endless Wiggles videos and his daughter screaming, but tolerated it.
One night, during dinner with friends, Amanda heard a loud banging on her door and opened it to find Dean angry and abusive about the noise.
Amanda found her neighbour’s behaviour intimidating, so she applied to a court for a personal safety intervention order to stop him from contacting her.
Dean was shocked to find that Amanda had applied for an intervention order against him. He rang the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria who arranged for both neighbours to attend a mediation session. During mediation they were able to put forward their points of view, with the mediator guiding the process.
The discussion focused on two issues: noise and Dean's aggressive behaviour. Dean wasn't aware that Amanda also heard a lot of noise from his apartment, or that she often tried to keep the noise down. But, Amanda said she would minimise noisy activity around Dean's daughter's nap times.
Dean’s aggression with Amanda proved more difficult to resolve. While Amanda found his behaviour unacceptable, she acknowledged that this was a one-off incident and agreed to withdraw her application for an intervention order.
An informal, handwritten agreement set out their strategy to reduce noise. Then, both neighbours signed a more formal document, advising the court that Amanda’s application for an intervention order would be withdrawn.
Court was avoided and the neighbours were back on good terms.