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Should you warn neighbours when you host a party?

Depending on the laws of the state or territory you live, you are entitled to entertain (even loudly) at your property within certain hours.

In New South Wales, you have until midnight to party on the weekends, but in Queensland, there are no time-based noise restrictions and an excessive amount of noise can be reported at any time of the day. You can read more about the specifications of noise curfews where you live in our previous blog post.

With the Easter long weekend just around the corner, we thought we'd take a look at parties, and some of the neighbourly etiquette around warning your street of an upcoming event you may be hosting. Is it necessary to warn your neighbours if you're having people over?

The simple answer is no, it is not necessary to warn neighbours if you are planning on having a party on your property. It may, however, save you from unwanted noise complaints being called to your property if you warn people pre-emptively.

When people lodge a noise complaint with the Queensland Police, there are three steps involved:

1. The police are called. They issue a noise abatement against the address reported.

2. If the noise continues within the duration of the abatement (usually 96 hours) the neighbors will immediately notify the police to return to the address.

3. The police can then take definitive action against the person making the noise.

If you have neighbours who have small children or are elderly, sudden loud noises may cause fear, especially if they aren't aware of the source of the sounds. If you warn people that there may be some noise, you give them the chance to prepare for the changed conditions, meaning they are less likely to react angrily or hastily when they hear noises coming from your property.

Some ways to avoid noise complaints about your party may include:

1. Invite the neighbours

This is difficult if you don't know your neighbours well, but extending an olive branch before you even start making noise may be the best approach. It not only opens up communication but if your neighbours are at your party, there will be nobody at home to complain about it.

2. Call them up or knock on the door If having them as guests is too close for comfort, warning them about the party will make you seem caring. Visiting them in person is a great way to introduce yourself and put a name to a face.

3. Leave a letter for them. If you live in a large building, or you can't get a hold of people on your street, type something up and leave it for them to read in their own time. A good approach is to leave your contact details, so it still feels like a conversation and not a mandate.

The most important feature of having these discussions with your neighbours is about opening up lines of communication, not shutting them down.

Most noise-related complaints can be dealt with at the civilian level. Make sure you meet your neighbours halfway by saying "we will turn it down at (give them a time)." Also, let them know they can contact you if they have any concerns. This is a great way to make sure you are the first person to be called, and not the police.

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