If noise issues is what you’re having with a neighbor and talking (which is the first thing you should do) didn’t help, you need to know not just how to file a report against them, but also how to leverage it and even get them evicted or sued. It’s easy to do and it can give your case a lot of weight.
Start reporting them to the landlord & police:
Let your landlord know this is going on. If you have a good landlord, they will tell you to call the police and collect the report from them. They will also have a word with the neighbor and ask them to stop.
Even if you have a landlord who doesn’t take action, just call the police, especially if it’s loud music, dog barking, partying going on after hours. In New York City where I live, after hours is after 10 or 11 P.M.
If you live in the city and have to call the police, understand that in many states, 911 for noisy neighbors is not considered an emergency. You will have to call the city. In NYC, it’s 311.
Usually an operator from the city ordinance will file the complaint, transfer it over to a local precinct and then the police will have a few hours time to handle the complaint.
There are problems with calling the city. I’ve had times when I was put on hold for almost an hour before reaching someone and then speaking with the person and filing the complaint also takes time and then police have up to 8 hours to answer it.
These are important periods where time wasted means the noise might stop and start up again the next night or you can’t collect evidence or the right files to take action. You can go around this bureaucracy by just filing the report directly online.
In NYC, here is the official 311 report page where you can file a complaint. You can also do it anonymously if you fear some sort of repercussion. This will save you a lot of time and get the report right into the local precincts hands quickly giving you more chances to catch the noisy neighbors in the act.
If you live somewhere outside NYC, find out if there is an official noise complaint page for your city or town. You may have to also visit your local police station to find out if there is a direct number you can call. In my situation, there wasn’t and I have to go through 311. But if you can find a direct number, you’re in luck.
After you’ve made the complaint, contact the precinct and ask for a copy of the police report. If the police arrived and saw there was noise happening, they will note this.
Police reports carry a lot of weight. Call them, file the reports and use them if the noise doesn’t stop. Do not threaten your neighbor, ever. If you have to speak to them, let them know that the noise is disrupting your life and you will have to call the police if it doesn’t stop. Say it politely and respectfully.
Is the noise continuing?
If you can collect 1 or multiple police reports proving there was noise after hours (it is a violation of the law), you are going to be able to take this to the landlord and begin legal action. If the landlord doesn’t do anything about this, you have the option of suing the neighbor directly.
This will have to involve you going to court and showing the judge police reports proving your case. These files are going to really help your case so make sure you start compiling them.
Keep a document with logs:
Every time you hear noise that’s beyond reasonable, note it in a pad. Use this as extra proof in court or when speaking with your landlord. Logs don’t really provide proof. They provide claims it’s happening, but if you already have files with police reports, people, including the authorities (judge) will believe you.
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