SmartLaw: Attorney and Lawyer Referral Service. Divorce, bankruptcy, criminal, accident, business
The Los Angeles County Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service, the largest and oldest such service in the United States, has hundreds of pre-screened, qualified and insured lawyers in the Los Angeles area who can help you with your legal issues. Contact us now and our courteous, professionally trained staff will help you connect you with the right lawyer. The LRIS is a nonprofit public service of LACBA.

Message #760 Noisy neighbors

mp3 #760 What to Do About Noisy Neighbors (mp3 file)

If you have neighbors who are disturbing you because they're making too much noise, the simplest thing to do is to ask them to stop. But if you've already tried that and it hasn't worked, you may be able to take legal action through various city and county ordinances.

If any noise in your neighborhood interferes with your peaceful use and possession of your property, it may be reported to the police and may be found to be a misdemeanor. Excessive noise may be classified as a misdemeanor in two different ways. Disturbing the peace is a misdemeanor. If anyone unlawfully fights or challenges another person to fight in a public place, or if someone maliciously and willfully disturbs another person by loud and unreasonable noise or uses offensive words which can produce a violent reaction in a public place --- then that person can be charged with a misdemeanor. Sometimes a local ordinance against disturbing the peace may' also apply to unreasonable noises on private property if disturbing to a large number of persons.

Unreasonable noise may also constitute what is called a nuisance. In order for a noise to be defined as a nuisance, however, there are certain legal requirements which apply. The noise has to be so loud that it is really offensive to the senses and interferes with your enjoyment of life or property. Some noises don't qualify legally as nuisances no matter how much they may seem to annoy you.

Noise and vibrations from machinery, loud noises from a refreshment stand, barking dogs, motorcycles, etc. ---- these are all noises that can be declared nuisances. Or the offensive noises that come from rock quarries and gravel pits. Even motor bus or truck terminals can be declared nuisances. And lately, airports and airport noises have also been involved in lawsuits against disturbing the peace.

If the courts decide that the noise you've complained about is a nuisance, then it will order that the noise be stopped. If it continues, the person responsible for it faces contempt of court charges and heavy fines and penalties.

You can also file a complaint against a public nuisance -that is, a noise that affects and interferes with the enjoyment of a considerable number of people. The police and the court will then take action on your behalf. The noise maker may be temporarily or permanently prohibited by court order from continuing his or her activities. As a private citizen filing against a public nuisance, you must be able to state that the noise you are objecting to is especially offensive to you more than other people.

If your problem is a neighbor who plays his stereo too loud, try first to work it out with your neighbor as peacefully as you can. A little compromise can often help solve problems for both sides. If the neighbor is really out of hand and will not cooperate, however, you always have the right to take legal action. Check with your local law enforcement office or with your attorney to see what your rights are.

Back to Top