If you’re dealing with a troublesome situation involving noise neighbors make, you’re not alone. Issues about noise in a neighborhood are a classic part of the way Americans have to continually work to define a complex system of “rights for property owners”. Legally speaking, it all comes down to whether some homeowners or residents are inhibiting the rights of others to enjoy their living spaces.
Utilizing your legal rights for dealing with a noise situation means knowing how local governments set up noise regulations, how the courts sometimes get involved, and what specific systems are in place to help sufferers of loud neighbors get legal satisfaction.
Calling the Police
Neighbors who are dealing with a one-time noise situation can always call the local police. The police force in a city, county or other municipality are used to dealing with noise complaints. They will visit the household and ask them to be quieter. They may or may not issue a citation for excessive noise pollution.
Your Local Government and Noise Ordinances
If you are dealing with noise issues that have happened more than once, something that is a continual bother to you, one of the first stops you’ll want to make is your local government office. In fact, you may find yourself going back several times. Working through a local municipal government is a good alternative to getting involved in small claims court.
Here’s how it works: your local municipal government has local noise laws on the books. These were made by a local government board (of commissioners, supervisors, town council, etc.) for figuring out how to deal with noise complaints that go to the police department.
You’ll want to get a copy of this ordinance, and see how strict it is. If you think it should be make stricter, you can visit the local government meetings, alone or in a group, and petition for stricter local ordinance or better enforcement against the neighbors who are ruining your peace and quiet.
Suing for Noise
Another legal option is to sue in small claims court. Experts point out that suing in these kinds of courts is more a way to get the attention of a “bad actor” than a way to enforce something like noise limitation. The thing about small claims court is that you can sue without an attorney, which makes the case affordable. However, you can only sue for relatively small damages, and it may or may not be effective in stopping the noise. A suit in a regular civil court would be more effective, but would take more money.
Starting a neighborhood group helps with working through the local government, because it shows that an issue affects a larger group of people. It can also help to identify more issues that neighbors can work on together to improve their area.
The above gives residents an idea of what they can do to take on a noise problem where neighbors are wreaking havoc on the tranquility of a local area.