Q. I have asked my neighbor to please lower the volume on his alarm radio but he refuses. I have repeatedly reported the problem to my landlord and he has suggested that I consider moving to another apartment. I have documented my complaints to the landlord by making copies of the letters I have sent him. What can I do?
A. You have a number of legal options here. Most cities have noise laws that regulate the amount of noise, its duration and the times in which certain levels of noise can occur. Here are some of the legal options available to you:
Landlord Has Duty To Abate The Nuisance – Noise Laws – Quite Enjoyment
Under the law, you are entitled to the quite enjoyment of your property and that includes your apartment. Loud noise early in the morning is preventing you from enjoying this right and your landlord is therefore under an affirmative duty to take corrective action to remedy the situation or be in breach of the lease or month-to-month tenancy.
It is excellent that you have documented your complaints which will be evidence should the landlord take the ultimate remedy of evicting your neighbor. If the landlord fails to take action, technically it is the landlord who is breach of the lease and you may seek legal action against the landlord for damages. For this reason the landlord will be sufficiently motivated to take action especially if the landlord knows you have been documenting your complaints.
The landlord will first need to follow the eviction laws in your state, which will usually require the landlord to first provide the noisy tenant with written notice of the problem and a demand that the tenant take immediate action to stop the noise abuse. If the problem is not corrected within a reasonable time, the landlord can commence eviction proceedings.
If your landlord fails to take legal action and refuses to evict the tenant then you probably would have sufficient cause to terminate the lease (or month-to-month tenancy) and move out of your apartment. You would then have the legal right to sue the landlord for your moving costs and all related reasonable relocation expenses. But there might be an easier course to follow. Consider reporting the noise violation to your local police department and request they make a visit to your noisy neighbor.
Reporting Noise Violations To The Police
If your neighbor refuses to reduce the noise, and it violates the local noise laws in your community, you might try calling the police and file a formal complaint against your neighbor. The police will not arrest the neighbor but might try to help you resolve the issue by making a personal visit to your neighbor to discuss the problem. No one likes to wake up to the presence of a police officer at his/her doorstep– so this approach might work as a scare tactic.