Having noisy neighbours is a real problem. Not only is it annoying, it can have a serious effect on your health and your business. Read on to find out what (legal) steps you can take to put a stop to the excessive noise created by your neighbours.
Although you cannot evict neighbours from their property, if they are a tenant, you can put pressure on their landlord to do something about the noise problem. This option may or may not be effective.
You can also pressure Noise Control to meet their obligations and deal with the problem. In Whangarei “Noise Control” is run by Environmental Northland Limited. Noise Control can serve an excessive noise direction or abatement notice on your neighbours and, if the direction or notice is not complied with, they may seize the property that is the source of the noise. If the problem persists the neighbours will be liable for a fine.
If Noise Control is not sorting the problem out you can make a complaint about them to the Local Council.
You can personally apply to the Environment Court for an enforcement order. The order will require the neighbours to reduce noise to a reasonable level. If the order is not complied with they will be liable for a fine or imprisonment.
Putting pressure on your neighbours (or their landlord) and on Noise Control is the best and cheapest option for you to pursue.
Regardless of the action you take, we recommend you keep records of every incident of noise. This will provide evidence to support you complaint.
The first and most cost effective option would be to pressure the landlord and Noise Control to put a stop to the problem.
We have set out below the ways in which Noise Control can assist you. If you have no luck with Noise Control, you should complain to the local council that Noise Control is failing to carry out its duties.
Excessive Noise Direction
Upon receiving a complaint that excessive noise is being emitted from any place, any enforcement officer (in this case Noise Control) can direct the occupier, or any other person who appears to be responsible for causing the excessive noise, to immediately reduce the noise to a reasonable level.
This direction will last for a maximum of 72 hours. If the direction is not immediately complied with, Noise Control may enter the place and put a stop to the noise. They can do that by removing, or rendering inoperable, or locking so as to make unusable, any instrument, appliance, vehicle or machine that is producing or contributing to the excessive noise.
Any person who does not comply with the direction may be liable for a maximum fine of $10,000.00, and if the offence is a continuing one, to a further maximum fine of $1,000.00 for every day or part of a day during which the offence continues.
Noise Control may also serve an abatement notice requiring the neighbours to ensure that the emission of noise from their land does not exceed an unreasonable level. An abatement notice is more permanent than the 72 hour excessive noise direction. If the abatement notice is not complied with, the enforcement officer may enter the property and reduce the noise to a reasonable level. If they are accompanied by a constable, they may also, seize and impound the noise source.
The neighbours will have the right to appeal the abatement notice by applying to the Environment Court.
If an excessive noise direction has not been successful, you could put pressure on Noise Control to issue an abatement notice to your neighbours. If they do not do that, you can apply to the Environment Court for an enforcement order.
An enforcement order would require your neighbours to stop emitting noise that exceeds a reasonable level. If the neighbours do not comply with the enforcement order, they will be liable for either a maximum fine of $300,000.00 or imprisonment for a maximum term of 2 years.
The term “excessive noise” means any noise that is under human control and unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort, and convenience of any other person. That includes noise emitted by stereos, vehicles, a person or group of persons.