Can Apartment Tenants Have Any Rights if There Is Excess Noise Coming From Their Neighbors?

Whether you rent or own your home, you have a right to peaceful enjoyment of your house, and noisy neighbors can interfere with that right. If your neighbors keep you up all night with loud sound, there are several steps you can take to remedy the problem.

Tenants’ Rights Basics

Generally speaking, being a renter does not impact noise ordinances or the right to quiet enjoyment of a rental property. Landlords are required to remedy issues they could control, like bug infestations and broken doors, however — unless the neighbor also possesses your neighbors’ property — he has no control on the noise generated by your neighbors. Consequently, you are going to need to use local ordinances to ensure your privacy and ears are protected. If your neighbor does own the problematic property, then notify him that renters are producing excess sound.

Noise Ordinances

Each municipality in California is in charge of establishing and applying its own sound ordinance. San Francisco requires that mechanical equipment like air conditioners and generators not generate disturbing background noise. Televisions, stereos and other sounds shouldn’t be audible within 50 feet from the house of origin between the hours of 10 7 and p.m. a.m. Violation of this noise ordinance is a municipal offense that can result in fines and, for repeat or intense offenders, imprisonment.

Enforcement of Ordinances

If excessive noise is coming from a neighbor’s house, he might not be conscious that the sound is bothering you. Speak to him about it or contact him in writing and also let him realize the law prohibits these sound. If the noise goes, call the police. Law enforcement will tell your neighbor he must keep the volume down. If the problem continues, try contacting a mediation service or the San Francisco Rent Board.

Landlord Help

Because your neighbor is the property owner and because he’s got an obligation to supply you with a safe, habitable property that you can peacefully enjoy, it can be very helpful to ask your landlord to intervene on your behalf. He might contact the local police or talk to the neighbor himself.

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