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 2017, 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 noise from air conditioners to help you reduce noise.
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.
The general environmental duty applies to noise from renovating and building activities at your home. You need to minimise the risks of harm to human health and the environment from your activities during the construction, so far as reasonably practicable. Also, the noise must not be unreasonable.
Noise from renovating and building activities at your home may be unreasonable at any time.
Part 5.3 of the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 specifically cover construction equipment such as power tools when you are repairing or maintaining an existing residence. When neighbours can hear it in their homes, noise from power tools and other electrical equipment during prohibited times is unreasonable.
Find out more about reducing residential construction noise in Civil, construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834) and Construction – guide to preventing harm to people and the environment (publication 1820).
Read more about residential noise
Reviewed 12 November 2021