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Excessive noise is not just a nuisance but a health hazard. According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, being exposed to 115 decibels for more than 15 minutes a day can cause permanent damage to the ears.
Noise affects the ability to focus and learn, not to mention disturbs your peace after a hard day at work. So if you’re constantly being disturbed by a noisy neighbor in your apartment, you might want to address the problem as described below.
Who Can You Approach
Approaching the neighbor should be your first step ideally. Raise the issue with sensitivity instead of anger as this will only escalate the problem.
Sometimes it may be the case that your neighbor is not aware that he/she is creating a noise problem. If the noisy behavior continues, print a copy of the local noise ordinances and end a copy to your neighbor.
Do add a note requesting that he/she comply with the noise levels explaining that you will be forced to take further action if there are further noise problems.
If this doesn’t work, go through is your lease. Most lease documents will specify the rules regarding noise such as the time up to which music can be played or permissible noise levels.
Educate your landlord on noise ordinances of your zone and ensure clauses are put in your agreement and all the other apartments in the building.
This is the easiest preventative measure and you should insist on a noise clause if your landlord does not have one. If you find that your neighbor is breaking the terms of the lease, you can contact your landlord to speak with him/her.
You can ask your landlord to intervene on your behalf. Your landlord is responsible to provide a safe and good environment to live in. And they will also benefit from getting good renters in their property.
Also, if several other neighbors join in your complaint, then the landlord will be pressured to order the tenant to quiet down or be evicted.
Depending on the situation, you may be able to break your lease and move out early. If it is extremely late or you are constantly facing an issue with noisy neighbors, you can contact the local police. If you are worried about retribution, you can file a complaint anonymously.
Is Excessive Noise a Legal Offense?
Every city or zones of an area with a governing body will have rules and ordinances that make it illegal to play or create unnecessary levels of noise. Also, many cities and towns set limitations on playing noise above a certain decibel.
The Police usually investigate by taking a reading of the noise levels using a decibel meter and determining if laws are being broken. Some ordinances also specify “quiet hours” for weekdays and weekends. This means that your neighbor can use a power mower at 10 a.m. on Saturday, but not at 7 a.m.
Solving Noise Issues With Mediation
Mediators are a non-legal option to get a resolution with civil issues. Professional mediators are trained to listen to both sides of the party, discuss the issues and come up with a compromise. While not enforceable by law, mediators can help your neighbor and you come up with a resolution.
To find mediators in your city, you can enquire at:
- the small claims court clerk’s office
- the local district attorney’s office
- a state or local bar association.
he USA has allocated the number 311 to deal with non-emergency services. Once you call and report your noise problem, you will be asked to share the address of your offending neighbor.
The operator may send someone to address the issue or forward the complaint to your local police department. You can also contact 311 to complain about noise from commercial sites such as construction crews. If you do not reside in the USA, you can search for a similar organization in your city.
Raising A Noise Complaint Against You Neighbors
If the noise complaint is becoming a recurring problem and no other measure has worked out for you, the next step would be to register a noise complaint.
You can also reach out to them if there is an extremely loud party with more than the permissible number of people in the house.
Before you call the police, make sure you have enough evidence that the noise has been a nuisance for a while. Maintain a record of all the time there was excessive noise from your neighbors apartment and either take a video or audio recording of each event.
While it is your absolute right as a citizen to contact the police for a solution, it is annoying at times to be called for minor issues when there are many issues plaguing the area.
Suing A Noisy Neighbor
If the noise has not dissipated, you can take a step ahead and sue your neighbor for damages or force them to abate the noise. For the former, you can approach the small claims court and for a court order, you will need to sue in a regular court
You will need to prove the below to win:
- You are affected by excessive noise at your apartment
- Your neighbor or his/her landlord is responsible for creating the noise
- You have asked your neighbor to stop creating a noisy environment and he/she has not responded to your request
To prove your case, keep a record of police reports, witnesses, testimony, or even audio and video recordings. Usually, noise complaint settlements are awarded between $2,500 and $7,500.
Measures, like suing your neighbor and calling the cops on them, are drastic measures. I would recommend that you try other means to resolve the issue.
For all your neighbor’s flaws, keep in mind that your neighbor is likely to remain close to your apartment for quite a while, especially if he/she owns the apartment. So you may not want to antagonize your neighbor and break down your relationship.
Filing a complaint about noise can be really intimidating and confusing that I why I wrote this article to help you with better alternatives and solutions on filing a noise complaint in an apartment.
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