Noise complaints are handled by local councils so to make a complaint you need to get in touch with them directly, this can usually be done through your council’s website.
If you live in the U.S type “your local authority name make a noise complaint” into your search engine of choice.
This should bring up a page where you can make a complaint directly to the relevant people in your local council.
If you live in the U.K you can also make an anonymous noise complaint via your council’s website.
To find the correct place to make a complaint visit this page on the Government website and type in your postcode.
Having made your complaint it is very unlikely that anything will happen anytime soon.
If you want the noise to immediately stop then you will need to call the police.
The police will take your name when you make a complaint however they will not inform your neighbor who it was that made the complaint so you will still remain anonymous.
You certainly shouldn’t expect a council official to appear at your neighbors’ door demanding they turn off the music.
Instead they will review the complaint and if it is deemed enough of a public nuisance then they will issue a formal warning to the residence or business.
Two things you can do to strengthen your noise complaint making it more likely that your council will act on it are:
- Keep a noise diary – a simple list of dates and times when noise problems occurred will allow your local authority to see patterns making it clear how much of a problem the noise is.
- Record the noise – when music is being played record it on your phone to give your local authority an idea of what you are experiencing.
When Is It Reasonable To Make An Noise Complaint?
In the U.S, U.K and most western countries, night hours are specified as being between 11pm and 7am.
You cannot play loud music (or make any other loud noise) after 11pm.
So if someone is flouting these rules then it is reasonable to make an anonymous noise complaint if you don’t want to approach them directly.
Why Stay Anonymous?
In the majority of cases noise complaints are made in residential areas.
You’re trying to get to sleep and your next-door or upstairs neighbor are still blasting out the tunes that they promised would have stopped long ago.
Ideally, you would be able to approach your neighbor and politely ask them to turn the music down and they would listen and that would be an end of it.
However when alcohol is involved people seem to quickly forget that the noise can be heard outside of their home and while they may temporarily turn it down the volume seems to quickly increase again.
Remaining anonymous when making an official complaint can be ideal because it means your nuisance neighbor will not know that you were the source of the complaint, meaning there will be no awkward exchanges in the street.
For most people making an anonymous complaint is one of the last resorts (trumped only by calling the police).
However if you aren’t quite ready to make an official complaint about your neighbor yet then make sure you have tried these:
- Speak to the neighbor (calmly)
- Talk to their landlord
- Soundproof your apartment
- Try a pair of noise-canceling headphones (you can wear them to sleep in and they are effective without the need for music).
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