We have all had that one prickly neighbor who loves to complain about everything. Here’s how to deal with false noise complaints that are meant to harass you more than any actual problems to the complainant.
We all love to dance to loud music, party all night, talk in a loud voice or turn up the speaker’s volume, at least sometimes. However, not many people appreciate loud sounds coming from their neighbor’s house, so they register noise complaints.
If you are on the receiving side of it, you know frustrating, it can be, especially if you haven’t done it intentionally. The good thing is that many a time, neighbors file false complaints because they are cranky due to their problems.
While you cannot stop neighbors from filing complaints repeatedly, there are some sure shot ways to deal with the false noise complaints without losing our minds. In this article, we shall discuss the same.
How Can You Tell if a Voiced Complaint Is Unreasonable?
Noise complaints are the warnings that come from your landlord or neighbors. However, often, it is not they who come to your doorstep to complain – it’s the police. The complaint comes directly from law enforcement. The first thing to remember when they visit you is maintaining your calm.
If you get angry or lose control in the middle of the conversation, the chances are that things will be blown in your direction, even if the complaint is unreasonable. So, what must you do to tell that the voice complaint is minor?
Here’s how to begin with it.
- Ask the police officers about the number of people who have filed the complaint. If there is just a single person, the chances are that the complaint is unreasonable.
- Ask them the number of times someone has filed the complaint. If the complaint has been lodged just once, the authorities also consider it unreasonable. You are not a nuisance at all!
- Enquire about the records of false accusations. If there are several false accusations from the locality and the complaint has been lodged by the same person or group of people, it is an unusual complaint, or so it seems.
- Tell them about the nature of the sounds since everyday noise cannot be avoided. Usually, the noise complaints related to doors banging, children playing or crying, construction (drilling, hammering, etc.) for a few days, domestic appliances, etc., are considered unreasonable by law.
It is a bonus point if your house is quiet at the time of the arrival of the authorities. Also, if the sounds coming from your home are infrequent and short-lived, the complaint will be considered unreasonable by default.
If the above suggestions do not solve the problem of unreasonable voice complaints, consider the following ways to deal with it.
- Apologize for the disturbance caused by you, even if it seems unreasonable. It is better to diffuse the situation at home than to take the matter to legal authorities.
- Try to minimize the noise and share your number with the complainant to text you in case it becomes a nuisance to them.
- Learn about the local laws related to noise regulation. Once you are thorough with it, you will be able to abide by it and not allow others to step over the line since you would be able to draw the line between reasonable and unreasonable noise.
- Try to keep it low anyway. Even if unreasonable, someone complained about you because there was louder noise than usual and an uncomfortable one. So, make sure you replace loud appliances and equipment with new ones to avoid the complaints, even if unreasonable.
Reducing the noise is better than paying thousands of dollars or facing eviction. Thus, make sure that you maintain good behavior with the neighbors and the landlords. It indeed does help, we promise.
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Ways To Defend Yourself Against Noise Complaints
If you want to learn how to deal with noise complaints, you must be thorough with the listed points below.
Warn your neighbors ahead of time
The best way to deal with a conflict is to avoid it. Thus, if you plan to be loud on a particular day or several times in a week, however infrequently, it is recommended to let your neighbor know about it.
We can agree that loud noises can be pretty annoying, and not everyone is hospitable or understanding towards other people. Thus, you should notify your neighbors a few days before you plan to indulge in a noisy occasion, such as parties, renovations, music lessons, using power tools, etc.
Diffuse the situation
It is especially recommended to diffuse the situation as quickly as possible if your neighbors are unreasonable people who take offence at things or behaviors that seem normal to others.
Take a deep breath, and don’t try to explain your side of the story because they will find new and creative ways to blame you for the noise. Yes, it is best to apologize and let go of the matter.
To diffuse the situation quickly, share your number with them and tell them to text you if the noise gets too much for them to handle again. When they notice that you are being understood and trying to alleviate the situation, even the nastiest of neighbors will calm down.
Check for quiet hours
When we talk about quiet hours, it has generally to do with a specific time of the day when making excessive noise is not allowed. It is the time between late night and early morning when people usually sleep or rest.
It is thus, considered to be a violation of laws related to quiet hours and can result in fines or even eviction. Therefore, it is recommended to check with your local municipality about the quiet hours and the exact time when they last. Many landlords also mention it in the lease for the perusal of the tenants to avoid disobeying the rules.
Thus, you may face penalties upon complaints if you have violated the quiet hours with unwanted noise. However, if there are no laws related to quiet hours in your locality, you might not have to face any trouble.
Keep it down
You will have to understand that there are people who are extra sensitive to noise and thus, do not enjoy loud music, TV, or even appliances for a long time. So, if they have already told you about their situation or complaint once or twice about the noise problem from your side, it is recommended to pay some heed to it.
For instance, you should lower your TV volume and move your speakers away from the walls to the room’s floor. Also, try to take your music lessons by visiting your teacher’s place, if it is not too far. With minor changes, you can solve the noise problem with your neighbor if they are genuinely disturbed by it.
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Train your dog not to bark
A barking dog can be a problem for your neighbor, especially if they do not own one. So, it is your duty and responsibility to train your dog to not bark for no reason at all. Dog lovers or owners might not understand it, but listening to a barking down around the clock is pretty annoying and disturbing.
So, it is essential to keep a check on your furry friend. There are plenty of online dog classes and tutorials to help your pet learn the etiquette of not barking except during specific situations.
Determine the validity of the complaint
Often, tired or simply cranky neighbors make specific complaints that have nothing to do with the reality of the situation. Thus, you need to determine the validity or legitimacy of the noise complaint filed against you.
For example, partying all night with loud music is a valid complaint, and the sound of water, however, is not. Ask for specific information from the authority connected with you regarding the complaint, and if it seems irrelevant, talk to the neighbors or ignore it.
Ask your landlord or the police for a warning
If this is the first time a complaint is filed against you, it is recommended to ask for a warning from your landlord or the police. Usually, three notices are given before the tenant imposes a penalty. So, by all means, go ahead and request the same from the authority.
However, if complaints have been lodged against you several times, you might have to go ahead with the penalty, which can be acceptable or even eviction.
Soundproof your home
If you do not want to compromise on the sounds of your TV or speakers and cannot stop partying with your friends all night, we have a one-shot solution for it – soundproof your home. Connect with a designer, get all the techniques and tools you need, and finish the work as soon as possible.
In this way, neither the sound will come out of your room nor the neighbors will be worried. Replace loud appliances with quiet counterparts
While no one can penalize you for the loud noise your appliances make (unless the noise is unusually aggressive and loud), you can still make it easy for your neighbors (and yourself) by replacing them with new products.
If you cannot buy new appliances and tools due to specific issues, you can at least adjust their volume wherever possible. For example, treadmills and exercise bikes can be adjusted to quiet books.
Apologize if you are in the wrong
If you wonder how to deal with littering neighbors, the simplest way is to apologize for your mistake. Someone who swallows their pride and apologizes when they are in the wrong is always appreciated.
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Responding to a Noise Complaint
It is never fun to deal with a complaint registered against you. However, it needs to be acknowledged and taken care of, and an excellent place to start is by responding to the complaint and not reacting to it.
We have explained the way to go about it in four simple steps below –
- Hear out the complainant and see if you can agree with them. It might require you to allow them to get their frustration out, which, by all means, may not be related to you. People are cranky like that, and they need a reason to let out stuck or sad emotions. Let them, and in most cases, things get fine.
- Ask specific questions related to the complaint once they are done letting their frustrations out. Be empathetic in your approach to diffuse the situation.
- Do your research if the complaint is valid. If it is, take steps to lower the volume of noise coming out of your house. If it doesn’t, ignore it, or better inform the complainant about it carefully.
- Even if the complaint isn’t valid, it is recommended to assure the complainant that you will take care of the loud noise and that it will not be a trouble for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is unreasonable noise from a Neighbor?
Unusually loud sounds are considered to be unreasonable noise. When it disturbs you so much that it interferes with your otherwise peaceful and quiet life, it can be petite. Loud TV or speakers, partying during quiet hours, dogs barking, etc., can cause you to be considered as a noisy neighbor.
What is a decibel level considered a nuisance?
Any noise exceeding 70 decibels is considered a nuisance in residential areas, and a shallow decibel level in some areas is also considered a nuisance. Thus, local laws define the decibel level of a noise to be considered a nuisance or disturbance.
Do police come out for noise complaints?
Yes, police do come out for noise complaints. They will visit the house from where the noise is coming out and make sure that it is turned down. In some instances, they penalize the person responsible for disturbing the neighbors with loud noises.
We can learn from this article that it is better to reduce the noise level rather than get into arguments with the neighbor. Even if you know that it isn’t a valid complaint, try to let the matter go and if you know you are in the wrong, apologize immediately. It is better than getting multiple complaints in your name and paying thousands of bucks in fines.