Our neighbour’s AC is very noisy in the summer as their unit is under-powered. This affects the peaceful enjoyment of our property. What can we do? – Elwyn, QLD

Some years ago my neighbours in an adjoining unit installed a ducted air conditioning system. They promised that the outside unit would be quiet to gain body corporate approval, noting the by-law that prohibits one neighbour from disturbing another. However, being about 12m from the front of our unit, it creates a drumming noise which echoes off the surrounding walls. After many hours of running, particularly in the summer, this noise is most irritating and gives us a headache. This also prevents us from using the front patio area of the unit. Various attempts have been made to reduce or change the noise with baffles, etc., but it seems the real problem is that the unit is under powered and so it struggles to function in our summer heat. Moreover, a change of neighbours in that unit means that the current people are dealing with an issue not of their making. It seems that enforcing by-laws is practically impossible (we only have 4 units in our complex and no manager) and I am reluctant to raise the issue through the body corporate where the issue as it may affect our chances of selling our unit. I understand it would be very expensive to relocate the unit and of course we don’t want conflict with our neighbour if we can avoid it. The neighbours understand there is a problem but they are not going to stop using their air conditioner. How would this best be resolved?

– Elwyn, QLD


Before opting for a formal dispute resolution application, we would recommend that you try and resolve the matter with your neighbour first and find out if they’re willing to fix or replace the problematic AC. The benefits of self resolution assist with stopping the issue from getting more serious, is faster and cheaper, leads to better relationships and stops further disputes.

  • You may wish to communicate with the neighbour personally, preferably in writing, as this may be needed as evidence of self resolution later on
  • If your requests are not met with the neighbour directly, you may present a motion to the committee or at a general meeting
  • Approach the committee to write to the owner and mediate on your behalf

In most cases you must attempt conciliation as a the compulsory first step in dispute resolution. If self-resolution or committee mediation fails, you can apply for dispute resolution with the Commission of Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM).

Read about this process on the government page here. You may also download our free guide to find more helpful tips around body corporate living.