Forum: Difficult to deal with noise nuisance without by-laws

 Mr Daniel See, 29, pointing to a closed-circuit television camera.
Mr Daniel See, 29, pointing to a closed-circuit television camera.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Dealing with noisy neighbours is a delicate balancing act (Man seeks to evict 'noisy' neighbours from flat below his, Dec 15).

A person can use and enjoy his property freely provided he does not infringe too much on the rights of his neighbours in doing so.

Hence, judges and mediators prefer to adopt the view that discomfort, inconvenience or annoyance from neighbours needs to be endured.

There is always an uncomfortable situation for the complainant due to fear of retribution or a bad response from the noise maker.

It is rare for the noise maker to feel bad or sorry. The usual reaction is defensiveness and aggression. The root cause of noise issues is an entitled attitude.

Once, when noise from my neighbour disrupted my sleep, I pushed a polite note under the door, and it worked. It is best to introduce yourself and open up a direct line of communication.

One solution is for the Housing Board to introduce strict noise by-laws depending on the type of noise nuisance.

It's rare for the noise maker to feel bad or sorry. The usual reaction is defensiveness and aggression. The root cause of noise issues is an entitled attitude.

Currently, it is hard for the HDB estate officer to do more than issue a notice of advice, visit the house or advise the complainant of the channel of mediation.

Cheng Choon Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2019, with the headline 'Difficult to deal with noise nuisance without by-laws'. Print Edition | Subscribe