Keep your noisy neighbours quiet legally

Any resident of a town or neighbourhood is entitled to the ordinary comfort and covenience of his home, and if  the actions of his neighbour causing annoyance or inconvenience greater than that to which a normal person must be expected to submit to in contact with his fellow-men, then he has a legal remedy to protect his rights and peaceful living.

A noise nuisance is defined as any sound which disturbs or impairs the convenience or peace of person. The categories of noises and actions that fall within this can include amongst others:

· Playing loud music or a musical instrument or operating a television set or radio loudly.
· Operating machinery (like car engines) or power tools that cause a noise nuisance.
· Shouting, swearing and talking loudly.
· Allowing an animal (barking dogs) to become a noise nuisance.
· Testing or operating a vehicle or motor bike that causes a noise nuisance.
· Driving a vehicle on a public road in a manner that causes a noise nuisance (we all know the doef doef sound blasts)
The test will be if the reasonable person will be disturbed by the noise, so be careful to lay complaints if you are over sensitive..

Firstly, you should lay a complaint with your local authority by way of a written statement. Many local authorities have Noise Control Units who have the power to take steps it may deem necessary to control situations regarding noise and associated complaints. Council law enforcement officials will investigate the problem to see how serious the situation is and if necessary, they can instruct the reduction of the noise and if the offenders don’t comply, can issue a fine, and in extreme cases even confiscate the noise equipment.

When the above fails and the offender persists with the noise, it is then possible to approach a court for relief. An affected party has two options in this regard:

· Apply for an interdict to prevent your neighbour from causing the specific noise. (Protection from Harassment) or
· Sue your neighbour for damages suffered as a result of excessive noise caused by him. (You have to quantify your damages)