Dean & Kate and Amir & Fahima owned neighbouring warehouse apartments.

Dean and Kate lived downstairs and had a young child. They said the flushing of toilets, showers, moving around upstairs etc often caused their toddler to wake.

Amir and Fahima, who lived above them, said they often heard the toddler crying and the neighbours playing endless Wiggles videos but tolerated it, saying they believed that the acoustics of the building were inferior and therefore the slightest knock or noise could be heard by neighbours.

They had many complaints from Dean and Kate over a period of 12 months. To try to improve the situation, Amir and Fahima placed rugs on the floor and did everything possible not to annoy Dean and Kate in any way.

An incident when Amir and Fahima were hosting a family birthday dinner was the final straw for Dean and Kate. During dinner, they heard an aggressive thumping on the front door, which was embarrassing and disruptive, especially in front of guests. Fahima said she found Dean at the door; he was agitated and became increasingly abusive about the noise created by guests laughing and the clatter of chairs on the floorboards. He said the noise was making it difficult to settle their child to sleep.

Dean and Kate made several calls to the Council and even to the Police, but both agencies said they were unable to do anything more as the level of noise at the property was not unreasonable. 

Following the incident, Dean and Kate were shocked to find that Amir and Fahima were thinking about making an application for an intervention order at court. Dean and Kate decided to contact the DSCV to see if they could avoid court action and resolve the matter through mediation.

The mediation provided an opportunity for each of the parties to put forward their point of view in a structured setting, with the mediators guiding the process. The parties were able to understand each other's point of view and came to an agreement about how to deal with noise problems in the future. Parties came to a written decision about their own behaviour and set down guidelines for noise levels at the property, and also agreed to split the costs of noise reduction flooring in Amir and Fahima's property 30/70. Most importantly, they formed an agreement on how the parties would communicate in the future about any noise issues that arose between them. 

All parties left the mediation satisfied that they had the chance to discuss their concerns and come to a practical agreement about how they could go about their lives once they got home. 

*Case is based on an amalgam of actual DSCV file material.  Names and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.