The British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that homeowners committed an actionable nuisance when they installed a noisy central air conditioner immediately outside their neighbours’ bedroom window, and installed a surveillance camera overlooking the neighbours’ home. The two homes are only 13 feet apart,and the air conditioner was rated at 74 dB. A noise enclosure blanket eventually reduced the noise to 51.8 dB.
While the air-conditioning unit did not breach the municipal noise by law, it exceeded 45 dB, the commonly accepted nighttime maximum noise level standards set by bylaws in other municipalities. The plaintiffs were not unduly sensitive, and the noise from the air conditioner significantly interfered with their sleep.
The affected neighbours, Mr. and Mrs. Suzuki, were awarded a total of $6000 in damages for nuisance. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Monroe were forbidden to operate their air conditioner if it causes sound beyond 55 dB from 7 AM to 10 PM, and 45 dB overnight, measured anywhere along the property boundary. They were also permanently prohibited from employing surveillance cameras that monitor any part of the Suzuki property. See Suzuki v. Monroe.