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Noisy Neighbor Laws

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What Types of Legal Actions Can I Bring Against my Noisy Neighbors?

If your neighbors are constantly being loud or excessively noisy, you may be able to file a legal claim against them.  Of course, it is always best to try and work out your differences through a polite request or conversation.  However, if your neighbors still do not understand your needs, you may be able to pursue the following types of legal claims:

  • Nuisance:  Excessive or disturbing noises may result in a nuisance lawsuit.  This is probably the most common type of legal action for noise disturbances.  You might succeed on a nuisance claim if the noise continuously interferes with your ability to use or enjoy your own property 
  • Disturbing the Peace:  Some jurisdictions place a limit on the decibel levels for sounds in any neighborhood.  If your neighbors exceed the decibel level limit with their noise, they may be found guilty of disturbing the peace, which is a minor offense punishable by a fine
  • Noise Ordinance Violations:  Some jurisdictions may also enforce noise ordinances, which ban specific types of noise or music in a residential area.  They may also ban loud noises at certain times of the day, for example during normal sleeping hours.  Check to see if your city or municipality has such an ordinance, and whether your neighbor may be in violation 

As you can see there are a variety of legal avenues through which you may address disputes with a noisy neighbor.  Part of the problem with noise in the neighborhood is that many people feel that it’s their own right to be as loud as they want to be in their homes or yards. 

It is common for a neighbor not to respond to an initial complaint.  So, if one legal option is not working, you may wish to try a different approach through the claims listed above.     

What are the Remedies for Noise Disturbances by a Neighbor?

Depending on the type of legal action that you file, there are several different remedies available for persons who are affected by noisy neighbors.  Some of the more common remedies for the problem are:

  • Monetary Damages:  Your neighbor may have to pay a fine if they have violated a local noise ordinance.  Or, if you can prove that you suffered some sort of loss from the noise, they may have to reimburse you for your losses or even for injuries that may have been caused by the noise (such as hearing loss)
  • Injunction:  An injunction is basically a court order that instructs your neighbor to stop making the loud noises or to stop playing music too loudly.  These are common for nuisance claims and in situations where monetary damages are not available
  • Mediation:  Sometimes it can be difficult to speak with your neighbor regarding a dispute.  Emotions can run high and it may be awkward when you see each other again after a heated discussion.  A court may often assign a mediator to help smooth out your differences

Note that the types of remedies that are available will vary according to the laws of your jurisdiction, as well as the type of offense that is involved.  You may wish to check your local laws or consult with a lawyer if you are unsure of your options.

Which Remedy Should I Seek?

Remember that the main goal is ultimately to stop the noise or loud music.  When it comes to noisy neighbors, sometimes monetary damages may actually be more effective than an injunction.  After all, if your neighbor does not follow noise ordinances, chances are they might not follow an injunction either. 

However, if your neighbor knows that they will have to pay a fine if they don’t keep the noise down, they are very likely to stop the disturbances.  For most people, it’s simply not worth it to lose money simply over noise that can be controlled.

Do I need a Lawyer for issues with a Noisy Neighbor?

If you need advice regarding noisy neighbors, you may wish to hire a lawyer for advice.  Your attorney can tell which types of remedies are available in your area, and also which remedy would be the best for your situation.  If you need to file a lawsuit or a complaint with the city, your attorney can also provide representation in your interests. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-04-2016 01:45 PM PDT

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