We all have the right to peace and quiet in our own home, don’t we? Maybe not.
Recently in WA, a resident was unsuccessful in his action in relation to a hotel producing noise pollution six days a week.
The man lived in an apartment next to a pre-existing hotel which had undergone renovations, including noise abatement measures, after he purchased his luxury apartment in 2009. The resident was not happy with the renovations, taking it to Court to argue that the noise coming from the hotel was interfering with the quiet enjoyment of his residence.
The Court said that purpose of the formal legal action for private nuisance is to protect an owner or occupier’s use and enjoyment of their land. To be considered a nuisance, the Court objectively decides whether the interference is substantial and unreasonable giving consideration to both the occupier and the noisy party’s rights. Other factors the Court considered were the location of the premises (because it considers that standards of quiet enjoyment differ in urban, suburban, rural and business areas) and the nature of the premises.
Ultimately, the resident’s action failed for a number of reasons, but the most important factor the Court looked to was that his apartment was in an area of high traffic that already produced significant ambient noise and that the renovations to the hotel did not make much of a material difference to the noise.
The most interesting part about the case is that the Court decided that the resident’s subjective experience of the noise was not a determining factor and it now looks like (in WA at least) that any particular sensitivities of individual residents will not be considered in these types of disputes.