How to Handle Noisy Neighbours in Vancouver

Vancouverites are used to living in close quarters. Naturally, sometimes you want to get a little rowdy with the guys on game night and then sleep in surround by perfect silence the next day. Sometimes your neighbours have other ideas. Here, what apartment dwellers need to know about rights when it comes to noise.

The Rules
The city’s rules related to residential noise are strict and all encompassing. A boisterous conversation with one of your buddies in which your voices are raised beyond the level of normal conversation and can be heard by your neighbours constitutes a bylaw infraction. Same goes for music, TV and hot and heavy nights – and days – with your lady. No matter what time of day, the rules related to neighbourhood noise are the same. Strata condos have their own rules related to the “quiet enjoyment” of one’s home, sometimes with quiet hours that offer a window to blast the tunes. Here’s hoping your building has soundproof walls.

Who You Gonna Call?
If you live in a strata building, follow the council’s protocol before contacting the city. Weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., you can report noise complaints about your neighbours to the City of Vancouver. Calls are prioritized according to severity and one of the city’s two noise police, a.k.a. property use inspectors, will visit your neighbours and ask them to knock it off. Outside business hours, you can call the police non-emergency, but they will almost surely be too busy to investigate.

The Exceptions
Kids in the unit above you stomping at 7 a.m.? Tough luck. The sound of children “playing” along with people moving furniture and slamming doors cannot be policed.

How to Complain
To file a complaint with the city, call 311, email them or fill out the online form. The Vancouver Police non-emergency line is 604-717-3321.

If You’re an Offender
If your neighbours report you, expect a visit from the noise police. Usually, you’ll get a warning the first time, but repeat offenders will face a ticket between $250 and $2,500 for each infraction.

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Image courtesy of nooccar.

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