Residential noise is Victoria’s most common type of noise complaint. Noise can easily carry and disturb others in urban areas. If you know you’ll be doing something noisy, like playing music at a party or renovating, talk to your neighbours first. Let them know: 

  • what to expect
  • how long it will last
  • how to contact you if it’s too loud.

They might be more tolerant if they know what’s going on.

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970, causing unreasonable noise is an offence. Noise from your home can be unreasonable at any time when it’s too loud or occurs for too long. It’s also unreasonable when noise occurs during prohibited times and your neighbours can hear it.

Not stopping noise when asked could result in a fine or court action.

How to reduce noise from music and parties

Noise from music, for example at parties, includes playing your own instruments, stereo or home theatre. Bass noise from subwoofers is a common problem for neighbours because it can easily travel into their homes. 

You can reduce noise by:

  • not playing music when neighbours may be asleep
  • not playing loud music outside
  • using headphones
  • adjusting speakers to turn down the bass
  • turning off subwoofers at night
  • keeping doors and windows closed if you have guests inside
  • moving parties inside at night
  • asking your guests to be quiet when they leave.

How to reduce noise from air conditioners

Noise from air conditioners can disturb neighbours when:

  • it’s loud
  • it’s close to neighbours
  • there is no noise barrier or enclosure 
  • the unit is old or not maintained. 

To reduce air conditioner noise:

  • make sure the unit doesn’t need servicing or replacing
  • install a barrier or enclosure around it
  • limit the hours you use it.

Noise from your air conditioner may be unreasonable. This rule is to protect your neighbour’s sleep. Local government officers may direct you to make the air conditioner quieter, or to not use it during prohibited times.  

EPA has guidelines about unreasonable noise from air conditioners and other residential equipment. These can help you understand how quiet your air conditioner needs to be.

How to reduce noise from renovations

Noise from building, renovating or repairing your home can disturb your neighbours, especially when it: 

  • continues for long times without breaks 
  • occurs too early in the morning 
  • happens every weekend.  

You must try to reduce noise. To do this: 

  • discuss your project with your neighbours before you start 
  • work on noisier activities later in the day, not first thing in the morning 
  • take short breaks when doing very noisy activities, such as using power tools 
  • turn down music onsite 
  • be aware of how loud you’re talking onsite early in the morning
  • ask tradespeople you hire to be aware of noise 
  • make sure truck deliveries don’t arrive early in the morning. 

Noise from renovating and building activities at your home may be unreasonable at any time. The Regulations also cover construction equipment such as power tools. When neighbours can hear it in their homes, noise from power tools and other electrical equipment during prohibited times is unreasonable.  

For more information, see construction of apartments and large residential subdivisions

Find out more about reducing residential noise in Annoyed by noise? (publication 406). 

Read more about residential noise

About residential noise

Residential noise and the law

Residential noise and EPA’s role

Noise and your health

Report residential noise

Reviewed 3 August 2020