When and How to Write a Noise Complaint Letter

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When and How to Write a Noise Complaint Letter

Neighbors are a given. Pretty much anywhere you live, you are going to have neighbors. Particularly as a renter. When you rent an apartment, neighbors become a pretty significant aspect of your everyday enjoyment of living.

And almost anyone who has rented or is renting now, has had to deal with a noisy neighbor. When you experience the occasional noise from neighbors it’s no big deal right? But what happens when the noise begins to actually disrupt your peace and your comfort? Well, then it may be time to submit your complaint with the landlord or the property manager. An excessively barking dog, loud music at all hours, or parties that disrupt your days. These are all big nuisances that really can mess up the experience of renting.

Types of common noise complaints include:

  • Excessively loud music or television
  • Heavy walking, running, or stomping overhead
  • Yelling
  • Excessive noise after 10pm
  • Noise from pets
  • Noise from gatherings in or around property
  • Parties
  • Noise from people who are not tenants

When is it Time to File a Noise Complaint?

When the noise coming from the neighbor next door becomes too much to handle and the noise becomes excessive and out of normal living conditions of living, there are a few things you can do first to see if you can resolve the problem without getting the landlord involved.

Noise Ordinances and the Law

First, review your contract for a “quiet enjoyment clause”. Many apartment contracts contain this as everyone has a right to live in peace and quiet, and be undisturbed. In addition to noise, your contract may contain other neighborly rights everyone must adhere to, so check and see if your contract contains any reference to these types of rights.

Keep in mind, because it is a right to all tenants, the right of quiet enjoyment is almost always implied in rental contracts, even if it's not specifically stated.

Most cities and states have some form of noise ordinances when it comes to allowable levels of what many would consider noise. This may refer to driving cars without mufflers, loud music levels or gatherings, and they also may have laws in place for the hours people can be loud, in order for everyone to enjoy a quiet and peaceful space for living.

Check the city you live in to see if you have ordinance and law protections in place for your neighborhood.

Talk to the Neighbors

Next, if and when possible, speak to the neighbor who is causing the disruption. They may not know about the excessive barking of their dog while they are at work or they may not realize how loud the music is carrying through the walls and floors. So, see if you can speak with your neighbor about the situation before sending the complaint to your landlord.

Let Your Landlord Know

The last resort, if you have tried to resolve the problem yourself to no avail or still the noise continues against any efforts by you, then it is time to reach out to the landlord or property manager and submit a formal noise complaint.

How to File a Noise Complaint

Filing a noise complaint is pretty straightforward. You wil need to write a letter or email detailing how you have tried to resolve the problem yourself. Document when the noise started, what time and day you have tried to resolve the problem, and the exact details of the steps you took to resolve the issue. Make sure to note how the noise is affecting you. Are you losing sleep? Are you unable to properly focus on your work? Are you unable to hear your television? However the noise is affecting you, be sure to include it, and finally, detail your expectations moving forward and the desired outcome.

Try and document the noise as well. Record it when it happens and how often it occurs. This can be added as evidence to your complaint and support the landlord's assistance in resolving the problem. You can send the evidence files if you are going the email route, or state in your letter you have recordings to show if required.

Record when you sent the letter and follow up with your landlord if you haven’t heard back . You don’t need to rehash the entire letter again, but a small nudge to see how things are progressing should suffice; along with a note reiterating how the noise is negatively affecting your living situation.

Hopefully, you may not have to do any nudging at all, if after you have sent the letter, you notice the noise has stopped.

What are Your Other Options

If you have sent the letter and follow up message with your landlord and the noise continues, you can submit your complaint with your tenant association if you have one. You can call the police and file a noise complaint the next time the noise happens, and in the most extreme cases, hire a lawyer to consult with on the issue and move out.

Don’t Become Known as the Complainer

Having to file a noise complaint is never something anyone wants to do, nor do we ever want to live in an environment where we are constantly exposed to disturbances affecting our peace and quiet. The reality is though, it happens.

If you are one of the unfortunate experiencing noise disturbances from your neighbors, make sure to act reasonably and keep your calm when you are dealing with others through the noise complaint process. No one likes the neighbor who constantly complains about every little thing, and you can also lose your credibility with the landlord to take your complaint seriously, if you become known as the neighborhood complainer.

Neighbors can be a good thing. Renting can be a long-time enjoyable experience. Although noise disturbances happen, sometimes people just don't realize they are disturbing others, so be neighborly first and give them a chance to correct the issue before taking things to the extreme.