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How To File A Noise Complaint

How To File A Noise Complaint

Filing a noise complaint is inconvenient (as is the noise), but it may be necessary. If you are being disturbed by a noisy neighbor and have tried to rectify matters yourself, it may be time to reach out to the authorities. A safe bet is to file a noise complaint with the police or your landlord. Chances are if someone is disturbing you, they are disturbing a fellow neighbor wanting peace and quiet as well. Here’s a look at how to file a noise complaint, as well as what the laws are for noise ordinances.

How To File A Noise Complaint

Filing a noise complaint is quite simple and can be done at any time of day or night. First off, make sure you understand the difference between:

  • A valid noise complaint
  • A non-valid noise complaint

If you are near a military base, excessive noise can be harmful to citizen’s welfare. You will need to contact government officials for that. But if it is of a civilian nature, it may be coming from music in an apartment, a burglar alarm, barking dogs, or construction. Next, decide if you are going to approach the scene before calling in a complaint. If it is a neighbor creating the ruckus, it may be a better idea to politely ask them to keep it down before involving the authorities. In many cases, your neighbor might not even know their noise is being a disturbance. However, if you believe that the noise is coming from a dangerous situation, do not put yourself at risk by approaching the property.

Laws For Noise Complaints

Before you call in a noise complaint to the police, you may be wondering what the laws are for excessive or disturbing noises. Every jurisdiction has different regulations and laws in regards to noise, called Noise Ordinance laws. These laws typically outline the time of day and night when excessive noise is prohibited (i.e. 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.). To find out what the Noise Ordinance laws are in your town, simply do a google search for your county.

Noise Complaints

How to Make A Noise Complaint to Police

If you are concerned about disruptive noise in your area, you can make a noise complaint with the police. You may call 911 if you believe it is an emergency but only do so if it appears there is criminal activity going on on the property. Otherwise, you can call the non-emergency line to file your complaint. You can find the phone number for this hotline by searching your county, followed by a “non-emergency phone number.”

If you contact the police, they will come out and inspect the noise themselves. Hopefully, the police will arrive before the noise stops. Then, they will talk to the person and ask them to turn it down if it is in fact too loud. Noise complaints usually result in a friendly warning at first.

Second Noise Complaint

Remember, just because the situation is not rectified immediately, does not mean the police have ignored it. Issues like this take time. Consider it a record building case. After so many attempts, your city will get tired, as well, and it will become a city case rather than a neighborhood being affected.

How To File a Noise Complaint in an Apartment

If you are in an apartment building and the disturbance is coming from there, it is time to look over your lease. Your lease will specify the noise ordinance. Most leases may put an end to high noise levels after 10 p.m. or midnight. If there is no clause, you can still report the complaint to your landlord. It can be a bit easier to reconcile a noise issue in an apartment because you have your landlord to help. Plus, you have many neighbors in close proximity who are likely just as frustrated as you are about the disturbance.

If your neighbor is breaking the lease agreement, contact your landlord. If it extremely late or a disturbance outside of your building, contact 311, which is the non-emergency number in most cities to reach the local police. You can file a complaint anonymously.

If the noise persists, your landlord can issue a fine based on the lease agreement and after too many write-up, this person can be evicted during a court procedure. If it is a violation of the noise ordinance of your city, the police can issue a ticket.

Can You Make An Anonymous Noise Complaint?

If you are wondering how to file a noise complaint anonymously, you are in luck. When you call the police, they do not require you to leave your name over the phone. Most jurisdictions will simply ask you if you would like to leave a name and phone number, but you can respectively decline. Keep in mind, however, that there are positives to giving your name to the police when you make the complaint. If there is criminal activity going on when the authorities go to check out the premises, you may be able to serve as a witness or give the police more information to help with their investigation.

If you simply do not want to be linked to a minor noise complaint about music that was too loud, you can certainly do so anonymously.

Can I Make A Noise Complaint Online?

It’s 2019, can’t you make a noise complaint online? Unfortunately, filing a noise complaint to the police must be done over the phone. However, if you are making a noise complaint in an apartment complex, your landlord may have a process where you can submit a complaint online or via email.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.