Noisy Neighbours? What Does the Law Say?

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Between the neighbour’s dog barking all day, the Sunday morning lawnmower, and loud music after 10pm, you’re fed up! Are these annoyances legal? What are your options? Find out below.

What the law says

The Civil Code of Quebec does not specify a time that noise must stop. However, it does say you must accept the “normal annoyances” that come with living with neighbours. Noise is one of those annoyances. This means that regardless of the time, you must act as a good neighbour as well as tolerate some annoyances.  

The sound of young kids playing in your building is one example of a normal neighbourhood annoyance. But music from a bar 150 metres away that shakes your apartment at night? Not so much. One judge has found that this isn’t a normal neighbourhood annoyance.

When does noise become unreasonable?

When deciding whether noise has become unreasonable, the judge can look at several factors such as:

  • how often it repeats
  • how long it lasts
  • whether it’s predictable
  • whether it has serious consequences.

The judge will also look at where you live and what is considered “normal” in your community.

For example, what if neighbours wanted to complain about the noise from a shooting range that had been open for many years? A judge may decide that the neighbours will have to put up with the noise during the day, but not at night.

What can you do?

It’s important to take the time to read any rules that apply to your situation. This could be your building’s rules or your city’s noise by-laws. They will tell you what activities are allowed and when.

You can also talk to your neighbour and suggest citizen mediation to have someone help you settle the problem. There are mediators across most of Quebec that can offer free mediation to help neighbours settle their conflicts.

To find a citizen mediator, you can check out Equijustice’s website.