How to Make a Noise Complaint in an Apartment

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You can file a formal complaint about excess noise in your apartment building with your landlord, building manager, or through your community website. 
Your new place has everything you need to make it your dream apartment, except for one drawback—noisy neighbors. Whether their dog won’t stop barking, their music is too loud, or they keep throwing crazy parties that make you feel like an unwanted guest yourself, excessive noise that disturbs your rest and relaxation is a real bummer. 
While you might think noise complaints are just for hotels, it’s perfectly okay to file a noise complaint with your landlord if the volume gets out of hand. But before you write that email, there are a few steps you should follow to make sure your noise complaint is justified, actionable, and more likely to get followed up on with your building management. 
Renters and auto insurance expert Jerry has all the information you need to file a noise complaint in an apartment. In this article, we’ll go over what to do before you complain, when a complaint is justified, and how to get in contact with your management about noisy neighbors. 
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Before you make a noise complaint

It’s a good idea to cover some bases before you file a formal noise complaint with a landlord or building manager. 
First of all, there’s a difference between everyday noise and excess noise. Everyday noise is anything that takes place day-to-day, such as footsteps, closing doors, voices, etc. 
Excessive noise tends to be more prolonged, taking place at irregular hours and at higher volumes than usual. 
Common reasons for complaints about excessive noise include loud parties, consistent noise after 10 pm, or loud music during quiet hours. 
If your neighbor’s noise becomes excessive, there are a few things you can do before you file a formal complaint with management. First, talk to your neighbors and address your complaint. Many people will respect your concerns about noise and adjust their behavior to be more courteous after a warning. 
If your neighbors have ignored the warning you give them or seem unreasonable, check your lease agreement for clauses about noise after hours. This will come in handy if you have to move forward with a formal complaint.  

How to file a noise complaint

So, you’ve talked to your neighbors about noise and nothing has changed. It’s time to call your landlord and file a formal complaint. 
Different apartments will have different avenues for filing complaints, so reach out to your building management if you’re unclear on the proper protocol. You might email your landlord directly or file a complaint through your building’s management site. 

Review your lease

The first thing you should do is have your lease agreement on hand. Any clauses about quiet hours or noise in your building can help justify your complaint to your landlord. 
Even if there are no clauses about noise in your lease, you can still file a complaint. It helps to be familiar with your contract anyway. 

Document excessive noise

The next thing you should do is keep a record of excessive noise in your apartment. Write down the hours you’re hearing excessive noise, what the noise seems to be, and how it’s affected you. Having a clear record of the behavior you’re complaining about will help your landlord assess the situation and take action. 

File your complaint

Once you have solid documentation of excessive noise, you can contact your landlord or building management about your complaint. Be sure to explain your situation and include any steps you’ve taken to alleviate noise or talk to your noisy neighbors. 
Ask your management what they plan to do about the noise (in a friendly way, of course) and what you should do if the noise continues. 

Follow up with the complaint

Now that you’ve filed your complaint, your trusty, reliable landlord should be able to reach an understanding with your neighbors and get them to quiet down. In the event that they don’t, however, following up on your complaint can strengthen your appeal. 
As before, keep a record of any continued excessive noise after you’ve complained. You can use this to file another complaint if the noise continues after your landlord has taken action.
If your management ghosts you, you may have to break out the big guns (so to speak). Contacting the city or police should be your last resort. 
Of course, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact the police if you’re hearing consistent fights that turn violent or threaten public safety. But if your landlord hasn’t done anything about excessive noise in your building, you can try filing a complaint with the city.
Research your area’s noise ordinances and file a formal complaint with law enforcement if the offense falls within legal parameters. In most cases, a warning from law enforcement is enough to convince people to quiet down. 

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FAQs

Whether your neighbors will know if you’re the one who filed a complaint against them depends on your situation. You can always ask management to keep the specifics out of their conversation with your neighbors. But if the complaint is specific to your unit, you may have to live with the fact that your neighbors will know you filed a complaint.
Only if the complaint isn’t justified. Filing a noise complaint for everyday noise like creaky floors and low-key social events is probably going a bit too far. But if you’re constantly disturbed by excessive noise in your building, you’re completely justified in filing a complaint.

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