Few things are as challenging as dealing with a neighbor who has little regard for noise. Whether you rent an apartment or own a single-family home in a small community, you have to tread lightly when dealing with someone next door. Always avoid confrontation, but realize being thoughtful and careful in how you approach the problem doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for your rights.
As a homeowner, you have a right to enjoy your property and the respite it offers. When your neighbor's behavior goes above and beyond to the point of being a public nuisance, you may have ground to stand on for a legal claim. If you find yourself in this situation, consider taking the following steps.
1. Talk to Your Neighbor Directly
When your neighbor is consistently disturbing the neighborhood environmental, best to not ruminate on the problem. First thing to do is to reach out to your neighbor about the issue and attempt to have a civil conversation on the matter at hand. If possible, schedule a time to talk outside, either at the property line or on the sidewalk.
The best course of action is to have a solution to offer. If your neighbor refuses to talk, is not accepting the proposed solution, or makes no effort to cordially correct their behavior, make a second (or subsequent) request in writing before going further.
2. Contact Your Homeowners’ Association
If you are a condo, townhouse, or homeowner with a neighborhood HOA, this is possibly your best resource to resolve when dealing with a noisy, inconsiderate neighbor. Set up a meeting and talk with your HOA board members or file a formal complaint against your neighbor. The HOA should take action to enforce its covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). This includes documenting the issue and citing the offending homeowner or renter, in addition to monetary penalties for nuisance behavior such as fines or a suspension of certain rights and privileges afforded to all HOA members.
Be sure to document the date and time of the occurrences with your neighbor and if necessary, resort to filing a noise ordinance police report regarding the offensive conduct.
3. Report Your Neighbor to the Police
Your neighbor might be committing a crime. Certain obnoxious behavior might violate local noise ordinances. The most common example is loud noise after a certain time at night and some cases your neighbor’s behavior could be considered a misdemeanor or felony offense. Legal experts recommends tenants and homeowners be aggressive in collecting evidence against nuisance neighbors, which entails reporting the incidents to the police. If little ground is gained in the situation, the only other viable option is to seek out the counsel of an experienced lawyer or attorney.
4. Seek Legal Counsel
If your neighbor is continuing to be an active nuisance in the community, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit against them.
A nuisance can be either private or public. A private nuisance is one that unreasonably or unlawfully interferes with a person’s use or enjoyment of their property. You can file a private nuisance lawsuit for compensation and for an injunction against the nuisance.
A public nuisance is an unreasonable or unlawful interference with the general public. Typically, a public body has to deal with this type of issue, which is why it is essential to contact the police. Homeowners can pursue compensation for any physical injuries or property damage they sustain as well as for emotional distress.