Most of us can agree that there is nothing worse than being rudely awoken by construction in the early hours of the morning, or even hearing the neighbours try and do some “quiet” renovations in the middle of the night. Thankfully there are legal avenues available to counter consistent, and persistent nuisances that interfere with your quiet enjoyment.

What is an Offensive Noise or a Nuisance?

Whether noise is offensive can be quite subjective so it important to consider the legal definitions of what is an offensive noise or a nuisance. In NSW, whether noise is ‘offensive’   will depend on its level, nature, character, quality, or the time it happens. Other factors that are relevant include whether the noise is harmful to, or unreasonably interferes, with the comfort or rest of a person who is outside the offending property. Not surprisingly the use of power tools or musical instruments could be considered to constitute offensive noise, but more unexpectedly air conditioners and water heating systems have been found to constitute a noise nuisance.

Power Tools and Equipment Specifically

There are regulations which govern when power tools and equipment such as pool pumps, lawn mowers, leaf blowers and electric tools can be used in residential areas. On Sundays and Public Holidays these restrictions are in place between 8pm and 8am and on any other day they are in place from 8pm to 7am. It is important to note that an offence occurs where the noise continues after a warning has been given by local council, police, or an environment protection officer. Generally, the penalty for a breach is a $200 fine for individuals and $400 for a corporation, however, these can be increased by the Court to a staggering $5,500 fine for individuals or $11,000 for corporations.

What About Other Kinds of Noise?

Other common noise complaints between neighbours include barking dogs and security systems and alarms that sound after a disturbance. In both instances warnings and fines can be issued.

What are Your Options?

If you are trying to determine when and where you can  use your power tools, or when you are able to call in a disturbance the NSW Government Website  is a good starting point. If you require further assistance our property team at WMD Law can assist in not only giving advice but drawing up documents to support your claims. So, please do not hesitate to contact our team on 9525 8688 or email