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Residential Noise and NSW Noise Restrictions

18 May 2022

Crash, Bang, Sigh! What Can I Do About Residential Noise and Noise Restrictions in NSW?


With the threat of coronavirus, many people are now either working from home or at home much more than previously. One side effect has been that the noise from nearby construction sites and the neighbour’s home renovations has started driving some of us up the wall. What can you do about noise restrictions in NSW? The answer is it depends if the noise is residential or from a construction site as there are different restrictions that apply.

Residential noise restrictions for NSW


General residential noise restrictions for NSW are contained in the Protection of the Environmental Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017. This Regulation sets out time restrictions in NSW when specific noises should not be able to be heard within a habitable room in a neighbour’s residence. Note that habitable rooms are generally any rooms other than a garage, storage area, bathroom, laundry, toilet or pantry. These restrictions are:

Noise source Time restriction
Power tools and equipment (this would include pool pumps, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, electric or pneumatic tools) Sundays & Public Holidays: not before 8 am or after 8 pm
Any other day: not before 7 am or after 8 pm
Music instruments and sound equipment (this includes TV’s, CD’s, DVD players, home theatre systems and other sources or music) Friday, Saturday & the day immediately before a Public Holiday: not before 8 am or after midnight
Any other day: not before 8 am or after 10 pm
Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters Weekends and Public Holidays: not before 8 am or after 10 pm
Any other day: not before 7 am or after 10 pm
Cars and other motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving the property) Weekends & Public Holidays: not before 8 am or after 8 pm
Any other day: not before 7 am or after 8 pm

Related articles to do with Noise Regulations in NSW:

·         NSW: Q&A Is piano playing for hours a day a breach of our peaceful enjoyment?
·         NSW: Q&A Stopping a Low Frequency Fan Noise within our Apartment

This Regulation also sets restrictions on other noises, for instance, car alarms, depending on the car’s year of manufacture should be limited to between 45 – 90 seconds of continuous or intermittent noise unless the car was manufactured before 1 September 2009 and has been broken into, the windscreen or windows damaged or it has been involved in an accident. A similar restriction with different time frames applies to building alarms.

The Regulation sets a system of notices and offences for people who breach these NSW noise restrictions. The penalties are $200 for individuals and $400 for corporations with courts being able to impose a maximum penalty of $5,500 on individuals and $11,000 on corporations. To start this process complaints must be made to either your local council or to the police.

In NSW strata and community title schemes it is also highly likely that there are noise restrictions in your scheme’s by-laws or management statements. Restraints in by-laws may be general or in the context of flooring or hard surface flooring. For instance, the Strata Schemes Management Regulations 2016 schedule 2 model by-law 1 states:

“An owner or occupier of a lot must not create any noise on the parcel likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot or of any person lawfully using common property.”


Similarly, schedule 2, model by-law 14 relates to floor coverings and imposes a requirement that the majority of floors in a lot are sufficiently covered to reduce noise transmission that would disturb the peaceful enjoyment of an owner or occupier of another lot.

The fact that the scheme’s by-laws or management statements may restrict noise gives lot owners and occupants another means to take action. That may be through requesting the owners corporation issue notices to comply or the association to issue breach notices and these types of disputes may end up in the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Allison Benson
Kerin Benson Lawyers

This is general information and should not be considered to be legal advice. If you are affected you should obtain legal advice specific to your individual situation.