My tenanted neighbours are very noisy and do not make an effort address my concern. This is affecting my sleep and health. What can I do? – Aditi, NSW

A new tenant moved into the apartment upstairs and is making excessive noise. I never had this issue with the previous neighbours. The building is an old double brick art deco style with wooden floors and in spite of the strata by-laws, there isn’t adequate sound proofing between the floors. My strata manager and I have both tried speaking with their agent to address the issue. However, soon after my chat with their agent, the tenant makes some effort to be considerate and to keep the noises down but that’s not the case for too long and it starts all over again. I’m not sure whether mediation would be very useful since this tenant doesn’t seem to make any real effort to keep the noises down. What are my legal rights as the owner because moving out isn’t an option for me since I take care of my elderly parents who visit me for a few months from time to time. As a carer, I can’t afford to be unwell myself due to the continual lack of sleep and ongoing disturbances. What can I do?

– Aditi, NSW

Since direct communication from you and their agents hasn’t helped, you may approach the owner or landlord and take their help to mediate matters with the tenants.

You can find out if they have a tenancy agreement in place. Ideally, the tenancy agreement should outline the responsibilities and guidelines for tenants. Also, the owners are required to provide a copy of the strata property by-laws to the tenants within two weeks of moving in so they’re aware of the do’s and don’ts of strata living.

You can take the help of your strata manager or committee to send formal letters to communicate the concern to the owners in writing and record the instances of the noise occurrences for future reference.

If the tenants are consistently breaching the by-laws, your committee can issue the owners or landlords with a notice of breach.

Breaching by-laws is not acceptable – the owner can be fined or penalised if mandated by the Tribunal. You may be interested in this article on the importance of following by-laws.

If your by-laws are insufficient or lacking clarity on noise related matters, they can be amended. You may file a motion to be included in a general meeting and work with your owners corporation to pass a special resolution to have the by-laws amended in your AGM.