Legal How-To: Dealing With Noisy Neighbors

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By Betty Wang, JD on May 21, 2013 9:07 AM

Moving into a new house or apartment may not come with a guide telling you how to deal with noisy neighbors, but that doesn't mean that they are not a problem. Noisy neighbors can be distracting, disruptive, and difficult to deal with.

While it may not seem like a difficult task, you'll want to deal with noisy neighbors with caution. Many common and instinctive responses involve anger, calling the police, or ignoring the issue.

Here are a few easy steps that you may want to consider instead:

1. Check Your Lease or Homeowner's Association Agreement.

If you're renting, your lease should include a covenant called "quiet enjoyment" which ensures not only that the landlord won't invade your use of the premises, but also that he may step in to maintain that enjoyment, which often includes noise control if it is getting out of hand.

If you are part of a homeowners' association, your HOA's policy should include rules on noise that will help direct your next step.

2. Approach Your Neighbor.

Reaching out to the neighbor should be done with respect and caution. Do not make any accusations, but explain the situation as you perceive it and how it is negatively impacting your life.

If the neighbor does not respond positively or agree, you may want to suggest a third party mediator. Mediation is a step below hiring an attorney, is far cheaper, and is an especially popular way to deal with neighbor disputes.

2. Contact Your Landlord or Building Management.

If confronting your noisy neighbor fails to resolve the issue, you may want to put your complaint in writing and deliver it to your landlord, your building's managers, or your HOA. If possible, attach a copy of the policy that shows specifically which part is being violated.

4. If All Else Fails, or It's an Emergency, Call the Police.

Everyone deserves peace and quiet, and local laws often spell out "quiet hours," especially at night. If your noisy neighbor truly won't let up, then it may be time to ask police to enforce your local late-night noise ordinance.

Need More Help?

While most noisy neighbor disputes can be handled without law enforcement, it may take more than a verbal warning from an annoyed neighbor to resolve the issue. Especially with more complex disputes, an experienced lawyer can help you determine what your best next course of action is.

Are you facing a legal issue you'd like to handle on your own? Suggest a topic for our Legal How-To series by sending us a tweet @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #HowTo.

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