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Living in Austria For Members

What are the laws on noisy neighbours in Austria?

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
What are the laws on noisy neighbours in Austria?
Noisy neighbours can make your life a misery. In Austria, however, you do have recourse. Photo: Pexels / Atul Choudhary

Noisy neighbours? Can't sleep? Before you call the Austria police it's important to understand the law on noise complaints.

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Contrary to popular belief, Austria doesn't abide by neighbouring Germany's 'Ruhezeiten' (quiet hours) when it comes to law-making - that it to say, there is no specific, countrywide legally-mandated obligation to keep noise to a minimum between 10pm and 6am. 

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That's not to say that you have no legal recourse, should you face those around you blasting techno music into the early hours. It's just that there is a (slightly lengthier) process that you need to follow. Put simply, each case needs individually to be investigated and evaluated judging on where and when it has occurred.

According to the official Austrian government site, your first course of action should always be to make contact with your neighbours regarding the issue. If this doesn't work to resolve things, you then have recourse to approach either the police or you local municipal authority (your local Rathaus, specifically) and file a complaint.

Most of the time this will ultimately involve the police conducting an investigation and if they judge a disturbance has occurred, a fine being issued to the culprit. The fine amount varies across Austria, from €700 in Vienna, up to €1,450 across Tyrol. However, these fines can take time to be issued, and several months before the process is ultimately completed.

Also keep in the mind that the investigation is ultimately a subjective matter, depending on where the noise infraction is considered to be taking place. The amount of noise that may be tolerated by an investigating police officer in a heavily trafficked urban environment, for example, may be more than in the countryside. Noise on a week day may be more tolerated than on a Sunday. 

If a neighbour is persistent in making undue amounts of noise, and complaints made with the police don't appear to effective, Austrian civil law also allows you to take the matter to court. Following a successful legal action, there will be severe consequences following any further infractions by the noisemaker. While costly, it can be an effective way to ultimately resolve the matter. 

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It's also important to understand your rights specifically regarding to the noise made by lawnmowers and other sorts of loud machinery. Individual municipalities within Austria can and do regulate when you are permitted to use noisy gardening equipment and you can find the permitted hours here (Page in German, select the federal state, then the individual municipality). Should your neighbour drag the lawnower out at 6am, for example, it's more than appropriate to contact the local police - on a non-emergency number, of course. 

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