LEGAL GUIDE
Written by Avvo Staff | Mar 4, 2016

Noisy neighbors and your legal rights

Almost every community has neighbor laws and ordinances that prevent noisy neighbors from disturbing others, especially in the middle of the night. The local police enforce noise ordinance laws, but there are things you can do before filing a report. You can find out the specifics of your local and state noise ordinances on the Internet or by contacting an attorney in your state.

If you live in an apartment

If you live in an apartment, you signed a lease agreement. In it you should find a clause about appropriate noise levels. You can report a noise problem to your landlord, either in person or in writing. Describe what you have done to try to resolve the problem, and make sure to keep a copy of everything you report.

Your landlord is responsible for enforcing noise ordinances before the police get involved. If the landlord does not address your complaints, you can report noise problems to your local police. Some communities also have a homeowners association that can help you deal with noise issues. You are also protected by nuisance law. For instance, everyone is entitled to quiet enjoyment -- the right to undisturbed use and enjoyment of their property.

Ways to resolve a noise ordinance violation

Resolve the conflict face-to-face

Before you file a noise complaint with the police, try a polite approach to resolving the issue. Ask the offender to turn down the noise. Sometimes noisy neighbors violating noise ordinances aren't aware that they are causing a problem. For instance, an upstairs neighbor could be working out to an exercise video and not realize jumping on the floor is keeping others awake. A face-to-face conversation might be enough to solve the problem.

File a noise complaint

If someone is continually violating a noise ordinance, you will need to file a noise complaint with your local police department. It often takes several reports before the police will respond in person. This depends on how frequent the noise ordinance complaints occur and if the police force is busy with more serious incidents.

Most cities allow you to file a noise ordinance complaint online, but smaller cities might require you to call the police department on a non-emergency line.

File a lawsuit

If you wish to file a lawsuit against the neighbor, one noise violation report is not sufficient in serious events. You’ll need to document the noise violations and prove that they are happening on a consistent basis before you have a case. This takes time and money, but the more you document, the better chance you have during a lawsuit.

If you have any questions about noise ordinances or would like to file a lawsuit, consider contacting a real estate or landlord-tenant attorney.

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