Intruder Alarms

Noise from intruder alarms includes both motor vehicle intruder alarms and building intruder alarm systems. Intruder alarms, by their design and purpose, are meant to emit offensive noise. Both the tone and level of an intruder alarm can be described as offensive noise. Despite their specific purpose, intruder alarms are controlled under noise control legislation, which regulates both their design and their use.

Intruder Alarm Noise and the Law

The occupier of any premises must not cause or permit a building intruder alarm installed on those premises to be used so as to emit noise that can be heard within a habitable room in any residential premises, (regardless of whether any door or window to that room is open), unless the alarm is so constructed and regulated that:

(a) in the case of an alarm installed before 1 December 1997:

  • it automatically ceases to sound, whether continuously or intermittently, within 10 minutes after being activated by a detection device, and
  • it cannot be reactivated (except by a different detection device) until it has been manually or automatically reset, or

(b) in the case of an alarm installed on or after 1 December 1997:

  • it automatically ceases to sound, whether continuously or intermittently, within 5 minutes after being activated by a detection device, and
  • it cannot be reactivated (except by a different detection device) until it has been manually reset.

Penalties for breaches of this regulation vary depending on the duration that the intruder alarm sounds for. Penalties can be imposed for a breach of these regulations for corporations or individuals. Council officers can issue ‘on the spot’ fines to persons who don’t comply with this regulation.

Building Intruder Alarm – Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulations 2008

When buying a building intruder alarm system it is important that you choose an intruder alarm that complies with the regulations relating to the design and specification of these systems. These provisions only relate to building intruder alarms sold after 1 September 1997. Under the provisions of these regulations a person must not sell a building intruder alarm unless:

(a) it automatically ceases to sound, whether continuously or intermittently, within 5 minutes after being activated by a detection device, and

(b) it cannot be reactivated (except by a different detection device) until it has been manually reset

Motor Vehicle Intruder Alarms – Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulations 2008

Generally, a person must not, in relation to the use of a motor vehicle intruder alarm, cause or permit a motor vehicle intruder alarm to be sounded, whether continuously or intermittently:

(a) in the case of a motor vehicle manufactured before 1 September 1997 for more than 90 seconds after the alarm first sounds

(b) in the case of a motor vehicle manufactured on or after 1 September 1997 for more than 45 seconds after the alarm first sounds

Penalties for corporations or individuals for breaches of this regulation vary depending on the duration that the intruder alarm sounds for. Council officers can issue ‘on the spot’ fines to persons who don’t comply with this regulation.

It is important to note that where a motor vehicle intruder alarm sounds for longer than the times mentioned in part (a) or (b) of the Regulation, the person is not guilty of an offence if;

  • the motor vehicle has been involved in an accident
  • the motor window has been broken or removed, or
  • the motor vehicle has been broken into, or a break-in has been attempted.

Reporting a Sounding Intruder Alarm

If noise is being created by a building intruder alarm please contact Mosman Police on 9969 1933. The Police will be able investigate if the alarm has been triggered by a break-in or attempted break-in.

If offensive noise is being caused by a building intruder alarm that has not been triggered as a result of criminal activity you can contact Mosman Council. When making a complaint you must provide the following information, your name and address, the location of the intruder alarm, and the length of time that the intruder alarm has been sounding. Complainant’s details are kept confidential.

If noise is being created by a motor vehicle intruder alarm you can contact Mosman Council. Before making a complaint you should confirm that the vehicle has not been involved in an accident, has not been broken into, or has no broken or removed windows. For these instances please contact Mosman Police 9969 1933.