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It’s definitely possible to use a lawsuit to resolve a situation with noisy neighbors, but there are some steps you’ll need to take first. If you want to succeed in court, you’ll need to be able to prove a few things regarding the situation:

That there is, in fact, excessive and disturbing noise happening. Recording incidents with your phone or home security system can be a good way to collect proof here, as can a record of repeated noise complaints from you or other neighbors in the area.

That the person you’re suing is responsible for the noise, either because they live at the property in question or they are the landlord. That this situation is negatively impacting your ability to enjoy your home. This can be the most difficult one to effectively document. You can say that you’ve lost sleep or can’t hear your TV at a reasonable volume, but proof can be hard to come by here.

Ask the person to stop making noise

That you have asked the person in question to stop making the noise. Repeated requests can help your case, as can getting at least one request delivered in writing. If you can prove all this, great! You might have a case! Your next decision is choosing a court to pursue this matter. While a civil or small claims court can secure monetary damages from your noisy neighbor, you’ll need to go to a court of law in order to force your neighbor to stop being noisy.

-Ben Michael, Attorney, Michael & Associates, topnotchattorney.com

stop making noise

If you’re suffering at the hands of a noisy neighbor, you’ll be pleased to hear that yes, there’s a good chance that you can file a civil lawsuit against them. However, this should be your last resort- beforehand, you’ll need to have exhausted other options, like talking to the culprits directly and contacting the homeowners association (if applicable).

To win your case, you’ll need to collect plenty of evidence to prove that your neighbor is a ‘nuisance’ with their excessive noise. There are two types of a nuisance- private and public- though it’s likely that you’ll want to file for a private nuisance lawsuit, as public nuisances are typically dealt with by the authorities.

Sue my noisy neighbors

For a private nuisance lawsuit to be successful you’ll need to prove that your neighbor is unlawfully or unreasonably interfering with your enjoyment of your private property. Evidence normally given in successful cases includes recordings of the noise, witnesses to support your claim (perhaps another neighbor), and written requests to the neighbor in question to be more mindful of their noise.

Typically, if your case is successful, an injunction will be issued telling the neighbor in question to cease and desist from making nuisance noise. You could, however, also pursue monetary damages too- some would suggest this is the best way to ensure that the noise really does come to an end. How much you could get depends on a variety of factors, although it could be a substantial amount in the right circumstances.

-Richard J. Brandenstein, FBR Law partner, https://www.fbrlaw.com/

Of course, you can sue your noisy neighbor. But should you?

What defines “noise”?

By definition, “noise” can be subjective since it’s loosely defined by words such as annoying, offensive, obnoxious, loud, or unpleasant. Depending on when and where the noise occurs, noise could escalate from unpleasant to disruptive—and even harmful when it interferes with someone’s right to quiet enjoyment and quality of life.

Different states and regions have different noise control laws and regulations. There are usually different noise level limits for residential, commercial, or industrial spaces. The time the noise occurs also matters. In general, the standard unit to measure noise is decibel (dB), and the level of intensity is dBA.

Typical residential noise/sound levels:

Daytime (7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.) 65 dBA 

Nighttime (10 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) 55 dBA 

In other words, if your neighbor is making noise that

  • Is over the typical residential noise levels
  • Occurs during an unusual time or at an unusual location
  • Hinders your right to quiet enjoyment
  • Will not stop despite you asking countless times

You may consider suing your neighbor.

What kind of allegations should the suit be based on? Do I need a lawyer?

In most cases, your best course of action is to file a lawsuit against your neighbor in Small Claims Court. It is far less expensive, and no lawyer is needed. You will file a civil claim against your neighbor for nuisance. 

What kind of evidence should I collect? Should I record the noises?

  • Document the noise violation (i.e. date and time of violation, recording of noise, sound level meter reading, any witnesses besides you)
  • Document your attempts to resolve the noise issue with your neighbor (i.e. verbal conversation, email communication, written letter)
  • Document any noise complaints made to your landlord, property manager, condominium or housing association, or law enforcement 

How much compensation should I ask in a lawsuit against a noisy neighbor?

If you file a suit in Small Claims Court, there are limits to the amount of money you can request as monetary damages. The typical maximum ranges between $5,000 and $25,000.

If I win the lawsuit against my neighbor, what kind of means will the court take to make sure the noises don’t happen again? You can ask the Small Claims Court for a court order, an injunction, to prohibit the noisy neighbor from committing noise violations. 

sue my noisy neighbor

Should I sue my noisy neighbor?

Generally speaking, if you could prove that

  • There is disruptive and excessive noise
  • Your neighbor is responsible for the noise
  • You have asked the neighbor to stop but to no avail
  • The noise has disrupted your quality of life and your right to quiet enjoyment

You may have a chance at winning the lawsuit. However, taking everything into consideration—the cost of filing the lawsuit, the time spent, the breakdown of neighborship—there may be other alternatives.

Landlord or property manager (for rental properties)

If you live in an apartment and your noisy neighbor is also a tenant, you may ask the landlord or property manager for help. Standard lease agreements contain a “quiet enjoyment” clause that forbids tenants from disturbing neighbors. The landlord could ask the tenant to comply with the agreement, or the tenant could face eviction.

Local law enforcement

You can call your local law enforcement (agency or non-emergency police) while the noise is happening. They may issue noise violation citations to the noisy neighbors and the neighbors could be fined. 

Condominium or homeowners’ association

Condominium and homeowners’ associations have their own set of rules and regulations governing the community. You can look to these rules and regulations regarding excessive noise and quiet hours and get your management or board involved.

-Susan Chai, Legal Templates

Take your noisy neighbors to court

In the US, you can surely take your noisy neighbors to court if the excessive or unreasonable noise is proven to disturb your peace, violate state laws or local ordinances, or even break the rules laid down by your homeowners’ association. Moreover, if you sue them in small claims court and the judge sees merit in your case, you can even seek monetary compensation. 

From noisy pets and loud music to deliberate attempts at disturbing the peace through excessive noise, such as the untimely use of lawnmowers, a homeowner has the right to file noise complaints for these reasons and more. The first steps should, of course, consist of amicable dialogue and an informed approach that explains your problem to your neighbors. Getting together with other neighbors disturbed by the noise and talking to the troublemakers helps too. Tenants can request their landlords to intervene.

If all else fails, and if you have collected the evidence that your neighbors are indeed being noisy despite repeated requests through proper channels, you can begin by filing a noise complaint with your HOA. If all these attempts are unsuccessful, you can contact an attorney and ask for a consultation on how you can sue your noisy neighbors.

Your attorney will then review the evidence you have, leave you with tips on collecting some more substantial evidence, and guide you through the process of presenting your case in court. They will also discuss other associated details such as costs and chances of winning.

-Riley Beam, Managing Attorney, https://www.dougbeam.com

Filing a lawsuit for noise complaints

You can sue whoever you want. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or you’ll win your case. Suing your neighbor should always be your last resort. Before you make an enemy out of your noisy neighbor, talk to them about their disruptive behavior.

Most people don’t appreciate being reprimanded, so be careful about your approach. Be direct in asking them to turn down the volume. Attempt to get to know your neighbors because people will usually try to be more considerate of people they consider friends.

You can call law enforcement if talking to your neighbor doesn’t work. Most communities have a noise ordinance and a law against disturbing the peace. You can file noise complaints, and law enforcement will likely request that your neighbors be quiet. If the problem persists, officers will usually start writing tickets.

Filing a lawsuit

Sue my noisy neighbors

If you’re dealing with an ongoing noisy neighbor situation and don’t mind becoming their enemy until one of you moves, you can take them to small claims court. Documentation of police reports and videos you’ve taken can help your case. You should also be able to explain how the noise has impacted your life with specific examples of cause and effect.

Suing your neighbor isn’t neighborly, but neither is disturbing your neighbor’s peace with noise. In some situations, suing is your only option, but don’t make it your first tactic to reduce the noise.

-Melanie Musson is a US-based legal expert with Clearsurance.com

Different noise ordinances

It depends on your state and city laws.

Each state has different noise ordinances that set the parameters for what is considered a reasonable level of noise, and what can be done to address it. In most cases, you can file a complaint with your local police department if you’re having trouble sleeping or if the noise is disturbing your peace. If the police department receives multiple complaints about the same person or noise, they may investigate and take action against the offender.

If you feel that your quality of life has been significantly diminished by the noise, or if you’ve suffered any health effects as a result of the noise, you may want to consult with an attorney to see if you have a case. Every situation is unique.

Manual Thomas, Head of HR at AquariumLife, https://aquariumlife.org/

Noise pollution rules

As humans, we live in a civilized society and that is why we are called social animals, which means we are expected to be and behave better than animals and wild animals. We must respect each other and cause minimal or no harm or harm to others. This philosophy would make society and the earth a better and more peaceful place to live, otherwise, WW3 would inevitably end us all forever.

If you have a noisy neighbor and it’s been constant then yes you can sue your neighbor for private nuisance and claim damages for tort. Under noise pollution rules, if a complaint is filed against a person for private nuisance then the police have to restrain that person and confiscate their music system, if the police fail to do the same you can press charges and initiate a proceeding before the message.

Nathan Hughes, Founder at Art Ignition, artignition.com

Sue my noisy neighbors conclusion

The easy answer is “yes.” If your neighbors’ noise is bothering you and the zip you have done to resolve the case has worked, you have the right to file a legal proceeding.

But whether or not you have a winning legal proceeding and what reasonable damages you’ll be able to expect can depend on the particular facts of your case and simply how creaky your neighbor significantly is.

To win your case, you may have to prove that there’s excessive and troubling noise and that your neighbor supplies the noise. Next, you may show that your quiet enjoyment of your house is discontinuous, which you have asked the person to prevent. You may like proof to prove your case.

Neil Duazo Marketing Director at Lifestyle Markets, https://lifestylemarkets.com

Still wondering if you can “Sue my noisy neighbors?” Speak to a lawyer near you to learn about your options.