You can stop neighbors loud music at night for your sanity. Most towns and cities have some kind of noise ordinance that protects you, even though there are no federal laws covering loud neighbors.
Before filing any complaints or taking it up with someone other than your neighbor, be sure to see the rights you are entitled to by reading up on your state’s laws. You can also win this type of case if it’s a rented apartment with some kind of clause in the lease prohibiting noise.
When it comes to leases, every state and different buildings have different rules and regulations similar to local community noise laws. Get the most accurate read by checking your state-specific or county laws.
How to stop neighbors loud music at night
Consider the following procedures to stop a neighbor’s loud music at night:
1. Use furniture and décor to reduce sound
Before you take any legal action, there are a variety of solutions that are worth trying first if this noise problem just started.
A few decorative tweaks and tools are sometimes all it takes to drown out unpleasant sounds. At least it beats the loud music of your next-door neighbor to an extent, though not a foolproof solution.
- Add a couple of rugs. Getting rid of loud music at night in an apartment is not completely possible with carpeting. Nonetheless, it keeps things quieter and absorbs sound. Carpets don’t look like an intentional noise-blocking tool as they make a chic statement.
- Buy a white noise machine and earplugs. Even though you are not going to wear them to bed, noise-canceling headphones may come in handy while working remotely from home. When you have neighbors who don’t go to bed before and prefer to play loud music, a smart option is to get a white noise machine and soft, squishy earplugs. White noise significantly improves sleep for people experiencing sleeping difficulty caused by high levels of environmental noise, including loud music—Healthline.
- Bring in additional furniture. If you live with just a mattress and a lamp and have yet to purchase a couch, this might be a good time to get additional furniture. Empty rooms are great bouncers of sound energy, so you get more quiet time and less echo when you fill up your room.
- Invest in soundproof curtains. There are blackout curtains for light, just as you may have heard of drapes that decrease the volume from outside.
- Use a door draft stopper. You can get your door to absorb noise from beyond your door by using a draft stopper. Even though these handy tools are meant to prevent cold drafts, you can use them to seal noise seeping in through cracks by placing one at your front door and one in front of your bedroom door.
2. Speak with your neighbors
If you search “how to stop neighbors loud music Reddit”, you’d see lots of suggestions about speaking to your neighbor. Stop by and ask your noisy neighbor to keep the music volume down. Oftentimes, people don’t realize how loud they are until they’ve been informed. You can leave a note with your contact if you are nervous about face-to-face meetings or if the neighbor in question is not at home. However, leaving a note can be intimidating—in-person discussion is usually the best.
3. Make friendly recommendations
Your neighbor may be a professional musician who has no idea how to reduce the noise. Suggest to them to use sound-proofing curtains or add a few extra cushions or rugs to their floors to lessen the loud music at night.
4. Obtain a copy of your local ordinance
Get a copy of the local noise laws. Ordinances that control the times, types, and loudness of noise apply in most cities and counties. Unreasonable music noise every night, typically all night long, is prohibited in many local ordinances. A warning or a fine can be issued to the noisy neighbor if they don’t discontinue the nose.
Your public library, a public law library, or the city hall can be looked for ordinances in your local community. Get copies of it for yourself and present one to your neighbor to inform them of the consequences.
5. Contact the on-site manager
On-site managers and leasing offices oversee many apartments and condo complexes. Report the loud music disturbance you are facing and see what they suggest or will do to deal with the situation. The neighbor may be called or spoken to on your behalf. Likewise, other tenants in the building may be notified if it’s a rented apartment.
6. Call the police
It may be time to call the police if your neighbor has responded by not turning down the volume.
When the music from a noisy neighbor gets too loud, call the police. You can file the noise complaint with the police anonymously. Nonetheless, the police usually do not reveal your identity unless they need you to testify against the neighbor in court.
7. File a noise complaint
To get that neighbor’s attention and legally force them to stop loud music at night, file a noise complaint with your municipality if the music noise won’t stop.
Ensure you are not in the wrong in the city you live in by looking into the specific laws and ordinances. Try to exhaust every other option before escalating the problem to this stage.
8. Sue for nuisance
You can sue your neighbor in a small claims court and maybe some money if other options fail. If your neighbor’s noise interferes unreasonably with the enjoyment of your property, sue them for nuisance.
You can ask for money in the lawsuit as compensation for interfering with your rights to enjoy peace on your property. You may not need a lawyer and it’s inexpensive to sue at a small claims court. You’d have to prove the following:
- noise is excessive and disturbing;
- it stops you from enjoying your property;
- a letter that proves you have asked the person to stop the loud music; and
- recordings, police reports, your testimony, and the testimony of other neighbors or other witnesses to prove your case.
Usually, how much you are bothered by the noise determines what you ask for. Multiply the number of days you were seriously disturbed by a reasonable amount of dollars per day before making decisions. In most states, the amount of money you can ask from a court in small claims is limited between $2,000 and $10,000. Here’s a Nolo chart detailing small claims court dollar limits for each state.
Is it illegal to play loud music after 11 pm?
It is illegal to play music after 11 pm if it is:
- heard from the property at a distance of about 75 feet (or as specified by your state);
- continuous, frequent, or repetitive;
- from a property in a residential zone, excluding commercial zones;
- played on Fridays between the hours of 10 pm to 7 am, or on Saturdays between 11 pm to 7 am, or as specified by your local laws; or
- ordered to be stopped by the police but the music noise does not stop or resumes shortly after.
What can be done legally?
Police officers should be informed to issue a warning to the neighbor. If the music noise continues, call the police again and report a violation. Note that your next report should be after the police have already issued a warning and the loud music continues.
How loud the music sounds from your premises must be verified by allowing the officer into your premises to confirm the loudness. In some extreme cases, you may have to testify in a criminal case.
The maximum penalty for playing loud music after 11 pm can include up to 180 days in jail and/or up to a fine of $500 or more if the unreasonable noise is found to be criminal (depending on your state). In some cases, a fine of up to $305 can be issued by officers for a civil infraction, for instance, in Michigan
Criminal charges may be filed if a second loud music violation occurs within 24 hours of the initial incident. Usually, the property owner is notified as an additional step if the annoying person playing loud music is a tenant.
Loud music in parks and public places
It is unlawful to play loud music if:
- from 75 feet away, the portable audio equipment or automobile sound system can be heard generating sound; or
- the music player is close to a residential or commercial zone, a school, a bus, or a park.
What can be done legally?
Loud music that disturbs quiet attracts a fine of up to $50 as the consequence of a civil infraction. It could be more depending on the state.
Every year, hundreds of complaints are received by the police department. However, special priority is usually given to calls of violence and other emergencies, especially on busy weekends.
Sometimes the noise will end even before the dispatch officer can get there. It is understandably frustrating since it takes a while for officers to respond to noise complaints.
As a troubled neighbor, you can:
1. Try contacting the annoying person
The first option authorities do recommend is to contact the neighbor (if that’s the case) if you feel safe doing it.
Let the person playing the loud music after 11 pm know that they’re disturbing your quiet before making a noise complaint to the police. Nevertheless, you can always complain anonymously.
If the person is uncooperative or under influence, or you feel uneasy about making contact directly, call 911 instead of contacting them yourself.
2. Be reasonable
A certain level of tolerance for noise should be expected if you live in the residential and commercial zone of a dense and diverse city. Unless the noise breaks an ordinance, your local police may not intervene as some types of noise are permitted by law.
3. Don’t give up
It is frustrating dealing with chronic noise issues. Over some time, it may be required to call the police several times.
4. Call the police
You can call the police if everything else fails. The disturbance may be created by a loud television, stereo, or radio owned by your neighbor. When the loud noise is intermittent, occasional, or spontaneous, these types are complaints best handled by the resident’s police station.
You can call the non-emergency number of your local police as the situation is best resolved by officers assigned to the area.
Neighbors playing loud music at 3am
If your neighbor is playing loud music at 3am, you can call the police and complain about loud music or noise. The police will politely ask them to turn it down. However, you must request to be anonymous, otherwise, the dispatch will point at your house, which may sour the relationship with your neighbour. Alternatively, consider going over there and ask your neighbor to turn the music down.
Neighbours playing loud music during the day
If your neighbor is playing loud music during the day, you should file a noise complaint. Make sure to check your local noise ordinance by typing “[city name] noise ordinance” into your preferred search engine to get the times and decibel ratings, as well as specific instructions on how to file the complaint to get the neighbor to stop the music.
Meanwhile, if it’s music disturbance from short-term rental like Airbnb, here’s how you can shut it down ASAP.
Good luck shutting down that neighbor’s loud music player!