Got Linda Lovelace for a noisy neighbour?

How to put a stop to sexy moans, groans

JOHANNESBURG: A British woman this week lost an appeal against a ban on her noisy sex sessions, after the court agreed that marathon romps were keeping the neighbours awake.

The noises, which at times sounded like someone was being murdered, typically started around midnight and continued for several hours though Caroline and Steve Cartwright's lovemaking also attracted attention during the day. A postman complained about the noise and the local council set up recording equipment in a neighbour's home to help prove the case that the moans and groans sounded like the randy couple were in the same room, the London media reported.

Presumably embarrassing the couple further, a range of witnesses came forward to testify, with one saying she heard "a male voice howling loudly, which I felt was very unnerving" and another calling the sounds "hysterical, almost continuous, just screaming". Caroline spent time in jail earlier this year after breaking her sex noise ban, and is on record as saying even a pillow can't muffle her moans.

This type of problem has cropped up regularly in the letters to property news and information site Realestateweb: complaints about noisy neighbours and how to put a stop to the disturbances. There have been some variations. In one instance, a Cape Town woman said she was being falsely accused of running a noisy vibrator at night. Neighbours in her block of flats were, she said, imagining her bedroom antics.

Howling dogs are also a big source of irritation.

So, what can you do about noisy neighbours? You could take the types of steps that were taken against the Cartwrights of Newcastle, is the message from a South African property lawyer.

Roland Darroll of Darrolls Attorneys told us, with tongue-in-cheek: "As far as the ‘vibrator' query is concerned, I guess that would depend on whether the noise was being made by the vibrator or the lady using it. In the first instance there would always be the possibility of ascertaining the manufacturer and perhaps suing them for a breach of the relevant legislation concerning the manufacture of noisy commercial products.

"There is a website - http://www.novibes.com/ - that makes the following offer, ‘If vibration or noise is giving you a problem, come to Tech Products Corporation. We've got a guaranteed solution, perhaps starting with one of our existing products, or we will create one for you. We have an experienced staff of sales engineers to help you solve the trickiest vibration or noise problem.' Your enquirer might consider approaching them?"

If the noise is the second of these possible sources, read on.

"Seriously though," continued Darroll, "noise and its control are governed by regulations in terms of section 25 of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989. They vary from province to province."

Darroll summarised the provisions for Gauteng:

1 Neighbourhood Noise Watch Committees may be established by a local authority, any group of individuals, or an organisation after it has complied with certain procedural requirements. A Neighbourhood Noise Watch Committee may give written notice to any owner or occupier telling them to rectify a noise contravention within 14 days. If the owner or occupier concerned fails to comply, a member of the Committee or any owner or occupier in the neighbourhood may act as complainant in criminal proceedings against the offender. There is also provision for noise inspectors.

2 A majority of residents in a neighbourhood may draft by-laws with the local authority regarding the control and reduction of noise nuisance, including provisions regarding certain activities that may lead to noise nuisance. The local authority can promulgate the by-laws if it feels they are reasonable. After that they are binding and breach of them carries penalties;

3 The regulations prohibit all sorts of "disturbing noises". Sources mentioned include: People, animals, machines, devices or apparatus, radios, television, drums, musical instruments, sound amplifiers, loudspeakers, shouting, ringing a bell, fireworks, vehicles, vessels, aircrafts, noisily erecting any structure on residential premises; explosives, firearms, bells, sirens, hooters, alarms, whistles, machinery, saws, sanders, drills, grinders, lawnmowers, power garden tools and...get the idea ?

4 The regulations include rules whereby noise may be measured to determine whether the decibel level is acceptable and the equipment that needs to be used to do this.

"So if noise is bothering you, your friendly local authority noise nuisance department is the place to go. They should dispatch a noise inspector to check the noise source and determine whether it constitutes a ‘noise nuisance' in terms of the relevant regulations. Thereafter criminal prosecution will follow if the offender ignores any notice to stop," added Darroll.

Article by: Jackie Cameron - www.realestateweb.co.za