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Question
Posted by: No party animal | 2007/03/23

Neighbours parties

I have neighbours who only differ from apes in that apes have fur. They have a braai area that sits literally under my bedroom window (I live in a maisonette complex, everyone right on top of each other, you get the picture). Most Fridays and Saturdays from about 18h00 onwards, their friends (lower life forms than apes) come over for the weekly braai. Then the hell starts. The shouting and laughter, loud music, screaming conversations, swearing, drunken singing as the evening progresses (they adore "Ou Ryperd", which I have now dubbed the official White Trash Anthem; that gets turned up to max volume, played 3-4 times in a row, over and over, while everyone sings/shouts/burps/hiccoughs along.) This goes on until about midnight (clever nê, not after midnight) , then the tearful, shouted farewells, slamming of car doors, revving of engins and hooting finally puts an end to this drawn out hell. As you can imagine, it is impossible to even be in my bedroom never mind sleep! I am a single parent and am scared of confronting these people. They are real roughs. I also know from other neighbours' experience, who had phoned them about the noise in the past, that any complaint is normally met with detailed descriptions of the caller's mother's private parts - shouted over the fence, etc. I have called the police in the past - no result. Is there any official way of dealing with this problem that does not involve any face-to-face dealings with these people?

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Our expert says:
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Most people are prepared to tolerate a bit more noise on Friday and Saturday night, with midnight as the generally accepted cut-off, but in fact the law states that you cannot make 'unreasonable noise' at the following times:

* Sundays and most public holidays
* Before 06H00 and after 17H00 on any Saturday
* Before 08H00 and after 18H00 on any other day than those mentioned above.

The trouble is deciding what is 'unreasonable noise'; I would agree that what you have to put up with definitely sounds unreasonable. It's the decent thing to do to let neighbours know in advance if you're going to be having a party - because the neighbours are essentially doing you a favour by putting up with it and not calling the cops. Write your noisy neighbours a letter (you needn't sign it) asking them to at least inform the neighbours if they plan to have a party, and also if they could consider having fewer, or fewer noisy parties - or occasionally having them at a different venue. Your case will be a lot stronger if you can get the support of other residents in the complex - and if they can all put their names to the letter. There might even be rules about noise specifically applying to your complex - find out what they are. Keep things from your side formal and polite, and explain that good neighbourliness involves a bit of compromise all round.

If this route fails, I suggest you lodge a formal complaint with your local environmental health practitioner: call the city council to find out which official deals with noise problems in your area. Again, your case will be stronger if you can get other residents on board.

The police should really be able to help too; again, try to get the other residents to complain as well, and explain that the problem is ongoing.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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