Legal Recourse for Noisy Neighbors

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For those who are dealing with excessively noisy neighbors, there are things that can be done to take action against residents who are keeping everybody else up at night. Even during the day, some legal remedies may apply to a noisy neighbor situation.

Renters and Noise

One thing that you can look into when encountering noisy neighbors is the policies of the housing community in which they live. Landlords routinely write noise clauses into a lease, giving them the legal power to evict if noise is bothering other residents. Even if the property is a single rental, many experts advocate contacting the landlord or property management company first. The party that administrates the property can tell you what their policy is and if they will be able to assist in a noise issue.

Calling the Police about Noise

Noise issues generally fall under “civil law” and can involve the police. In most communities, neighbors who are experiencing exceedingly loud music, revving or honking cars, or other loud noises can simply call the police and ask them to visit the household in order to warn them about the noise. If the noise does not abate, the police can be called back and will often cite the offenders. Over time, many noise issues will ultimately be resolved this way.

Local Government Noise Laws

The actual laws that govern the levels of noise allowed in a neighborhood are usually municipal laws. That means they are laws set by the town, city, county or township in which you live. These local laws are called ordinances.

If you have any questions about how noise laws are set up in your neighborhood, visit your local government building and ask to see the existing noise ordinance. If that ordinance does not exclude some of the activities that have become a problem, taking the issue to the governing municipal board may get you additional legal help in making neighbors turn the volume down.

Documenting Noise

Local governments will often respond to concerns with an “open query” where they want to know exactly what is going on. It’s not a bad idea to record noise to show police and local government board members. For example, a specific dog barking ordinance may include a time frame and frequency. If you can prove that the dog is barking consistently, it can help your noise case to get resolved.

All of the above are steps that neighbors can take to safeguard one of the biggest values of their home: their right to peace and quiet. Experts often recommend not to approach noisy neighbors, but to instead do any and all of the above to get the issue resolved. It also helps to get other neighbors involved who may also be irritated: a local petition often carries a lot of weight in persuading local governments to make a noise law or any other ordinance stricter.

9 Responses to “Legal Recourse for Noisy Neighbors”

  1. January 06, 2011 at 9:32 pm, Lou said:

    If you or someone you know still has a noise problem in their apartment, let us know. We work on behalf of tenants and business owners to reduce the sound systems in bars, restaurants and clubs.

    The code requirement pertaining to “commercial music” (i.e. from bars and restaurants) is section 24-231 of the New York City Noise Control Code, which limits music levels inside any affected residence. Penalty for a first offense is at least $3200, and for later offenses and defaults the fines can go as high as $24000.

    The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) maintains a list of “Approved Noise Consultants”, and working with such a consultant to resolve the problem (or obtain a variance) can result in reduced or eliminated fines. We work with DEP approved consultants to fix the problems.

    In most cases, the business owners will pay us, not the tenants. If interested, please email us at:
    [email protected] dot com


  2. February 19, 2011 at 12:07 pm, Michael J E Brown said:

    Ive moved into a new place in November and when i moved in their was no one living upstairs, i live on the bottom two floors of a house. Now the place was newly remodeled. And it has “Hardwood Floors upstairs ” but it not hardwood its just the sub floor. So about three months ago tents moved in and they have 5 kids. I love kids don’t get me wrong but all day all they do is run back and forth from about 7 am till 10pm. I haven’t used the upstairs of my house since they heaved moved in or slept in my owen room. Ive talked to the land lord and he tells me “noise is to be expected ” but i cant relax in my own house and im paying for half a house i cant use. anything i can do?


  3. April 02, 2011 at 1:59 am, Helen said:

    This tenant was noisy the very first night he moved in.since then it has been constant stomping,furniture dragging, loud booming speakers, jumping on a trampoline and vacuuming the hardwood floors .All of this takes place between 10 pm and 3 in the morning.I have complained to the building manager several times,I even tried talking to the tenant.I called the police and they went to talk to him but he refused to open the door.This has been going on for almost a year now.I am so sleep deprived. I am at my wits end.


  4. April 04, 2011 at 5:25 pm, Jess said:

    Always remember to send a certified letter detailing your complaints, or deliver it in person when you go to talk to the manager to complain. Keep records of the noise, the time, the type, the duration, etc. Let them know you’re serious from the beginning, and you know your rights.


  5. August 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm, Annmarie said:

    I live in a 4 unit apt i’ve been here for 3 months and i live next to noisy neighbors all they do is blast music. They been blasting it for the 3 months ive been here.They know tht i have a 3 year old child. They don’t care at all. They have people running in and out of their apt. I share the back door with them and they keep the back door open to the hallway all the time. I called the cops i called the landlord and the landlord told me that she gave the people next door a letter saying that they have to keep the noise and music down so that the neighbors don’t hear it. On weekdays they blast their music from 4:00pm to 2:00am and on weekends on 10:00am to 4:00am. As i am typing on here it’s happening with the music. It feels like an earthquake! My floors are vibrating and my walls are shaking. What can i do? They cops came like 10 to 15 times nothing is happening. My landlord lives in New Jersey she cant be coming to Buffalo for every problem we have that is why i am writing this. She said to the laday next door that she is out by the end of the month and it is Aug 29th. She also told me to text her if they are loud and playing music and she also told me that she has buffalo cops on speed dial and i have been telling her


  6. January 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm, Camilo Rubinos said:

    I have been dealing with two different neighbors upstairs; one I have spoken to numerous times since 2006 and even sent her two prior certified letters. The stomping, running madhouse of children made it sound like a cattle stampede late into the night, the problem is starting up again. The other neighbor, blasts music until my ceiling vibrates, then at night I must deal with his own incessant stomping, furniture dragging and now, he bought a large dog that barks up a storm. This clown I’ve sent a certified letter to and he simply refused to receive it. I have tired of calling 311, I have informed the management, the superintendent knows about it, I have informed Community Board 12, my councilman and even e-mailed the mayor’s and governor’s office. What is even more flustering is how you can’t get any help from ANYONE in this damned neighborhood!


  7. April 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm, cath said:

    my neighbours are terrible i mean bad..when they first moved in they where the pillar of the community really quiet i thought i had landed the jackpot..i have two little ones 3 and 4 they have one little boy at 3, i guess with having really bad neighbours before these guys moved in i kinda guess i was on a peacefull road..couldnt be further from the truth..3 months down the line theres partys every other week with god knows how many in the house you may as well put there sterio in my living room on full blast and the kids always running round screeming shouting with whoevers there till god knows what..asked them to have some respect for mine and turn it down a they!not a chance i mean if she had 3 kids struggling on her own i could understand it,but 1 and never in bed before 10..i just dont get it,ive got two and theyre both well away by 8 until divs come in next door with there lad and wake mine up..i have reported it dont think i will get much joy really want to move now but my kids love it here and dont,any suggestions from anyone of how to keep sane in between the grit of the *hit!


  8. June 19, 2012 at 9:53 am, vivian said:

    im a manger.on a#3 aptments i have trouble with one couple and they have two older daughter,they have allready broke window and doors they drink next door niebor have partys and so do anoter niebors,she fright with them cause she cant get parking.they went to they propety and key the new cars.i talk to my landlord about it..i have every niebor on me..she telling me if there a another party she going to go fright landlord only there for the money..i have 4 childen of my own..they daughter are 18 and 16 they drink allmost every day and smoke weed and one on probation..what can i do..cops been here they dont do nothing..can someone tell me what i can do…


  9. December 04, 2012 at 2:20 pm, shawnette said:

    i live in a duplex. my neighbor gets her rent pd by the housing. she drinks alot and stays up all night and sleeps during the day. i am constantly getting woke up because she is drunk, slamming doors, yelling at her boyfriend to get the @#%&% out or she hates him etc. i work 70 hrs a week and i need my sleep. i will b woken up anywhere from midnight to 3 am and i get up at 5 am to get ready for work. i,ve talked to my landlord no good, i called the mayors office and they laughed at me, i called the housing and was told they would take care of it still no luck. i have called the police only to b told that htey have to witness the noise. i have dealt with this now for a yr. what can i do? i,ve lived there 2 yrs now.


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