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Date: 06/07/2011
Subject: NSW NOISE etc

We found that NSW noise legislation is essentially dysfunctional in that there is virtually no legal requirement for any supposed authority to actually take action in accordance with the standards and legislation.? In fact, like it or not, the noise situation really comes down to bullying and who is prepared to go furthest!

Councils have favourites that they protect and this is more common than people think.? A neighbour may use noise in an attempt to get you to sell your property and there will be nothing you can do about it.

The local courts are full of cases that have got to the stage of Apprehended Violence Orders which could have been avoided if the local authorities concerned had only taken action in accordance with the law.? Instead they make entirely arbitrary decisions about whether they are ging to take ANY action on ANY issue or not - whatever the "legal" situation.? There is no "rule of law" here in NSW

In our experience resource to internal council ombudsmen is worse than useless.? They seem only there to protect the management from an outraged public.? Taking matters to the relevant Government Department (for example The Dept of Local Government or the State Ombudsman is a waste of time, because neither make legal decision - rather they make arbitrary decisions without investigation

Under the defunct Labor State Government the Rule of Law was virtually suspended - a fact recognised by many senior lawyers and judiciary.? It remains to be seen if the new government in NSW will correct this mess. In the mean time, in my experience you have two choices in many cases - one is to take matters into your own hands - and the other is to continue being bullied.? Sad but true.

A helpful and clever suggestion from S: Every neighbour I ever had a problem with always stemmed from alcohol or other mind bending substances. Buy them a carton of beer when you move in and one at xmas and you will find a completely different person. Forty bucks for 365 days of peace is bliss and it switches their focus to something or someone else because I'm now a top bloke,, matey,,hey bud ows it goin u beaut neighbour.

Comment from J: Thank you. All this is very helpful. Made me feel a little better especially the part about personality disorders. I got on with my neighbours for 6 years till I told my neighbour, "my front yard is not a playground for her kids and visitors - it is my home" and boy - you know the rest. It has been so hard.

Comment from JK: Public Housing tenants have specific rules and regulations and avenues to deal with bad neighbours... including holding Housing NSW to account.

Read this blog

Comment from JW: This is an excellent idea and will no doubt be of great assistance to many. Congratulations on your initiative and hard work!!!
Your survey might be improved however, by altering some of your items so that they are more open-ended, rather than eliciting only responses that you have anticipated... and also by checking spelling.
Some people may have responses that differ considerably from anything any of us have experienced or could have imagined. It's important to accommodate this diversity in experiences.

Comment from J: Many of these people have gotten through life and gotten their way from childhood by simply bullying and yelling, and when somebody, somewhere in life actually does stand up, that's when they can't process it, and enter a manic state. That, I personally believe, is what happened in our case, our adversary is a mean spirited person with no sense of empathy and absolutely has no concept of the fact people disagree with her or don't just give her her way, and she can't stand it when somebody won't. She gets aggressive, belligerent and most recently the possibility of violence has shown itself. All from not getting her way and the inability to accept it.

Comment from C: Great to see this site. I'm in Victoria and had a problem with a barking dog. Owners were home and couldn't care less. Complained to Council with diaries etc and an abatement order was eventually issued which resulted in dog still barking. The Council were very concerned not to get the owners offside as they said they would then just slam the door. I said there are provisions for fines and they said they just don't pay them. Eventually I took many videos of the noise (not filming their property) and also got on tape some foul language directed at me. The Council eventually showed them the footage and I think because of my persistence over 9 months they eventually said they were moving the dog on (don't know where to). So my experience with Council was ambivalent. Council did keep visiting the people but didn't deliver ultimatums. It took far too long as well, but I wasn't going to give up.

Comment from a reader: Found your section on mental health interesting as it makes you think about why NFH does what they do. Don't really agree with filming/photoing NFH as I feel this only aggravates situation. And try to maintain approach of “always do to others as you wish to be done to you".

Have lived in many towns and never had an issue with any neighbour until I brought my current place.

Shortly after moving in I found out that all my neighbours were related and that my house was once owned by a family member.
Then the odd behaviour started. (1)Leaving abusive messages on my phone when I was out that my dog was barking. I apologised and corrected the issue. (2) Ringing up and threatening physical violence.(3)Random hang up calls (4) Repeat acts to attempt to threat and intimidate (5) Repeat complaints to council (6) Disappearing of my dog and later advising that it had been shot (7) Loud parties with screaming out and abuse being shouted.(8) Property damage, and the list goes on.

Throughout this I tried to maintain some level of civilness and opted to ignore them, yet I think this aggravated them more.

Things came to a head some years back when one of the NFH decided that they would assault me. Now he is a big boy, but at 6foot 3" and 110kg I am no push over. NFH came off second best and to add salt to their wounds police charged them with assault and filed a Peace and Good Will order.

Have had little issues with that NFH since as they have now turned their attention to other neighbours managing to get 2 to sell up and move in the past 3years.

Now only have one of the other family members (NFH) to deal with.

Living next to these NFH have robbed me of my innocents and made me draw back from society. I now question people’s true intensions. I question whether they are the victims and I am the NFH, as they attempt to portray that as I am one and they are many. I get concerned that I am becoming them, and I can see how one individual can create a ripple effect (one rotten apple). I hate calling the police or making complaints to council as I feel that I am wasting resources, and I am becoming them.

My solicitor has told me that the best thing to do is leave and sell up! But my grandfathers did not fight for the freedom of this country so individuals like this could take my freedom from me. The previous owner of my place ran, and if I leave, the next owner will be subjected to the same all over again. Walking away from a fight and leading another lamb to the slaughter is just un-Australian.

I do not condone violence, but the best advise that I can give is. Ignore the NFH, do not give them the pleasure of reacting to them in the manner they want you to, draw a line in the sand, let them through the first punch and then unleash hell. If you give a dog enough rope it will always hang itself.

If violence doesn’t pay or is socially unacceptable, why do we send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to liberate there freedom?

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