This article is about about light pollution from neighbours.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: We’ve lived comfortably above the heated pool in our apartment complex for years. A recent temperature increase has resulted in uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Can we ask for the pool to be turned back down?
- QUESTION: I have a neighbour who has placed beautiful lights around their home but they leave them on through the night. Do I have any rights when it comes to light pollution from neighbours?
Question: We’ve lived comfortably above the heated pool in our apartment complex for years. A recent temperature increase has resulted in uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Can we ask for the pool to be turned back down?
I live above the heated pool in an apartment complex. For 17 years, after some discussions when we first moved in and found the apartment too hot, we have had a constant temperature that although warm, is liveable.
Recently, a couple of tenants wanted a warmer pool and the new concierge has turned the pool up several degrees. This has resulted in temperatures of 25 to 26 degrees in our bedroom at night. This is not comfortable. Am I in my right to ask them to turn it down? Should we escalate the matter to VCAT?
Answer: In this instance, it may be argued that the higher temperature is causing a hazard to your health.
One may refer to the Model Rules, “1.1 Health, safety and security of lot owners, occupiers of lots and others. A lot owner or occupier must not use the lot, or permit it to be used, so as to cause a hazard to the health, safety and security of an owner, occupier, or user of another lot.” In this instance it may be argued that the higher temperature is causing a hazard to your health.
It is also worth noting 6.1 Behaviour of owners, occupiers and invitees on common property An owner or occupier of a lot must take all reasonable steps to ensure that guests of the owner or occupier do not behave in a manner likely to unreasonably interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any other person entitled to use the common property. In this instance, it may be argued that the peaceful enjoyment of your lot is affected by the higher temperature and behaviour of tenants.
It is always preferable to resolve these matters by discussion. You may therefore decide to write to the Committee expressing your concerns with the view to a resolution. Alternatively, you may refer to Part 10 of the Act – Dispute resolution – Item 7 in the Model Rules. These clearly define the process for dispute resolution.
In our opinion, VCAT should always be viewed as a last resort once all other avenues have been exhausted.
This post appears in the May 2022 edition of The VIC Strata Magazine.
Question: I have a neighbour who has placed beautiful lights around their home but they leave them on through the night. Do I have any rights when it comes to light pollution from neighbours?
I live in Victoria. I have a neighbour who has placed beautiful lights around their home.
They leave them switched on throughout the entire night after 12 am and my bedroom is full of light, despite my thick curtains. The lights are very strong.
Do I have any rights when it comes to light pollution from neighbours?
Answer: Residents do have rights with respect to excessive lighting from neighbours.
Residents do have rights with respect to excessive light. Light pollution from neighbours is becoming an increasing environmental problem in urban areas not only affecting the health of humans but also that of flora and fauna. Direct light and glare from artificial lighting may create adverse effects on adjoining land uses, and thereby affect the amenity values of property owners and visitors.
To resolve such matter. you should first try speaking with your neighbours if you haven’t already done so, as they may not be aware of the impact their lights are having on their neighbours. It may be a simple matter of angling the lights in another direction or reducing the hours they are operating. Remember to approach whoever is responsible for the light in a calm and friendly manner.
If that fails and light pollution from neighbours is still an issue, you could lodge an official complaint via the Owners Corporation if you have a rule that would support your claim, e.g. a rule about creating a nuisance for another lot (a nuisance can be related to light). You would then follow the dispute resolution process with your Owners Corporation.
You may also want to try utilising the free services of the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria who can provide advice and mediation services to help you deal with the dispute.
Alternatively, if the first point above doesn’t work you may wish to try lodging a complaint via the EPA as there are Australian Standards that all outdoor lighting must comply (AS 4282 – Control of the obtrusive effects of outdoor lighting). The EPA may investigate, issue warning letters or impose a fine depending on the circumstances.’
This post appears in Strata News #177 & #258.
- VIC: Q&A Lighting in common areas – expenses assigned to individual units
- VIC: Q&A Let’s Just Not Tell Them About the Cat in our Apartment
- NSW: Q&A Light Shining Into the Apartment Causing Nuisance
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
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