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Q: Noisy Neighbour - Loud Music - what to do? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Noisy Neighbour - Loud Music - what to do?
Category: Family and Home
Asked by: nimiaj-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 02 Nov 2005 16:31 PST
Expires: 02 Dec 2005 16:31 PST
Question ID: 588191

I have a neighbour who plays really loud music. I have tried to speak
with him. It goes away for a week or so and it starts all over again.
I live in an apartment complex and I complained to the rental office.
They sent him few letters and same result. They asked me to call the
police as they said they cannot do anything about it.

I called 911 multiple times and really no police shows up when I call!!!! 

I live in philadelphia area. I went to the local police station near
by and they gave me a name of an officer who I should contact. I left
him three numbers to reach me and nothing.

Finally I was able to reach him - he said he would talk with the
rental office but have not heard back from him - but the loud music continues.

I want to explore  my options are in order to get the neighbour to
stop playing loud music.

Please give me some guidance about how to approach this.

If you need clarification, please ask for it.

Thank you very much
Subject: There's help and options available to you!
Answered By: cynthia-ga on 03 Nov 2005 20:25 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi nimiaj,

My suggestion at the other question was NOT my final solution. I ended
up threatening the landlord with a lawsuit for not enforcing my right
to the "peaceful enjoyment" of my rented dwelling. Read on...


City of Philadelphia Noise Ordinance
..."It prohibits unreasonable noise between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a. m.
Police may issue appearance tickets to or even arrest violators. Fines
range up to $300 and/or 90 days in jail for repeat or serious

It seems the police have the noise ordinance on low priority. Reference:

Urban Warrior | DiCicco proposes new noise law (9-22-05)
...""The Philadelphia Police Department does enforce the noise
ordinance, although perhaps some people feel we should enforce it to a
greater degree," said Inspector William Colarulo.

But just last spring, when I asked how many noise tickets cops had
written in the previous year (since the most recent law went into
effect), a police spokesman didn't even chuckle when he told me "that
would be zero."

Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, who has also written noise laws, said
cops have told her flat-out that noise is just a "low priority." ..."

This looks good, but my bet is it won't change YOUR situation.

Bill aims to make city a lot quieter (9-16-05)
..."The noise proposal, introduced by Councilman Frank DiCicco, is
part of a sweeping revision of the city's existing regulations. The
law would hand noise-enforcement power to the Police Department and
the Department of Licenses and Inspections, in addition to the Health
Department, which currently enforces the rules. And it would change
the standard for violations from excessively high decibels - which
require special equipment to measure - to the simpler test of whether
a sound can be heard 100 feet away..."

Here's where it starts to get interesting:

You can get free help here:  Philidelphia Landlord Tenant Unit
..."The Landlord Tenant Unit advocates for the legal rights of tenants
who live in private housing. Legal assistance can be in the form of
advice, referral, direct representation, where the case has merit, and
where time and staff permits. We handle issues involving conditions of
rental units (single and multi-unit dwellings); utility issues;
general landlord and tenant issues; and eviction.

The private housing unit is open for intake on Mondays and Wednesdays
from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Clients may walk in to our office at
1424 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during that time.
They will be seen on a first come, first serve basis. Clients may call
the unit during normal business hours from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on
Mondays and Wednesdays. First time callers will be able to leave a
message. Calls may not be returned until the next normally scheduled
intake day. Emergency cases, such as an imminent eviction, utility
shut-offs, or illegal lockouts that will occur within the next 24
hours, may call or come in during any normal business hour.

The telephone number for the private housing unit is 981-3700..."

You can try to be nice about it, where calling the police is a last resort:

How should I approach my neighbor about a noise problem?  (more info at the link)
..."There are two common reactions to noise coming from a neighbor.
The first is resignation. You hate the noise, but you do nothing. The
second is anger. You lose your temper and call the cops. There are
better ways to handle the situation.

Approach the Neighbor. Raising a problem with a neighbor is not easy.
But it should always be the first step and, if done with respect and
sensitivity, may be the last.

Often the neighbor is unaware of a problem--for instance, the dog
barks only when nobody is home. Assume that the neighbor doesn't know
and would like to be told.

If you are being bothered, someone else probably is too. The greater
the number of people complaining, the faster the relief should be.

Warn the Neighbor. If complaining doesn't work, get a copy of your
local noise ordinance at city hall or the public library. Send a copy
to the neighbor with a note repeating your request to keep the noise
down and explaining that you'll be forced to notify the authorities if
you don't get results.

If you rent or live in a planned development, send a copy of the lease
agreement or special rules to the neighbor. If that doesn't work,
report the problem to the landlord in writing. Especially if several
tenants complain at the same time, the landlord will probably order
the tenant to quiet down or face eviction.

Suggest Mediation. If you value the neighbor relationship at all, or
just want peace in the future, give mediation a try. You and the
neighbor can sit down together with an impartial mediator and resolve
your own problems. Mediation services are available in most cities and
often they are free. Simply call the mediation center, and it will
then contact the neighbor for you. Especially if there are problems
other than noise, the neighbor may be delighted at a chance to be

Call the Police. No response from the neighbor? Stereo turned up
another notch? Now is the time to bring in the police (or, if the
problem is a barking dog, the Animal Control Department). If you have
tried to solve the problem yourself, the police will know your
complaint is serious and that you need help.

Try to notify the police while the noise is continuing, so they can
measure the noise or hear it for themselves. (Some people simply hold
the phone out the window.) Sometimes cities won't act until the noise
affects two or more persons, to prevent complaints from excessively
sensitive people.

Sue for Nuisance. As a last resort, you can sue in small claims court.
It's easy and inexpensive, and you don't need a lawyer. ..."


Read this first...

New Philadelphia Fair Housing  (SEE #7)
..."Tenant?s Responsibilities
The tenant must: (Sec. 5321.05(A), Ohio Revised Code)
     1. Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary.
     2. Dispose of trash and garbage in a clean, safe and sanitary manner.
     3. Use and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
     4. Comply with the requirements imposed on tenants by the
applicable housing, health and safety codes.
     5. Allow the landlord or his agent to enter his or her apartment
for inspection to see what repairs are needed or to make repairs or
improvements at reasonable times, if the landlord or his agent has
given reasonable notice.
     6. Not intentionally or negligently destroy, damage, deface
property or remove any plumbing fixture or appliance from the
premises, and forbid any of his guests from doing same.
     7. Act in a manner that will not disturb his neighbor?s peaceful
enjoyment of the premises.
     8 Maintain in good working order and condition any range,
refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, or other appliances supplied
by the landlord and required to be maintained by the tenant under the
terms and conditions or a written rental agreement. If the tenant
violates any provision of the above responsibilities, the landlord may
recover any actual damages which result from the violation together
with reasonable attorneys fees, termination of the rental agreement,
or other necessary actions.
Note: the tenant (you) must be current in rent for legal remedies to apply..."

If your landlord fails to make other tenants comply with the noise
ordinance, --you will have lost "PEACEFUL ENJOYMENT" of your dwelling,
and you may have a good case for what is called "Constructive
Eviction" (suing the landlord) and be able to recover damages,
including being able to break your lease before the term of your lease
expires, having the move paid by the landlord, and the return of your
entire security deposit.

These might come in handy, but the Landlord Tenant Unit (link and
phone number is above) can assist you. I don't recomment filing
without legal counsel.



Introduction to Landlord Tenant Cases (looks very helpful)

Anyway, the police won't be much help, I recommend giving the landlord
WRITTEN notice you have lost the PEACEFUL ENJOYMENT of your dwelling. 
That term will alert them that you are aware of your rights.  Tell
them that unless you regain the peaceful enjoyment of your dwelling,
you will take further action, as allowed by law. Send it certified and
keep a copy for court.

This puts them on notice, they cannot deny that you reported the problem. 

This article explains what "constructive eviction" is, and how to
substantiate a claim:

Constructive eviction claim may be difficult to establish

Good luck!  Please keep me posted and let me know how it turns out, ok?


Search terms used at Google:
philadelphia "noise ordinance" 
philadelphia "landlord tenant" "peaceful enjoyment" 
philadelphia "constructive eviction"

Clarification of Answer by cynthia-ga on 05 Nov 2005 11:39 PST
Hi nimiaj,

Thanks for the kind words, the 5 stars and TIP!!

QUESTION: Do you think going back to the rental office is the best
option or going to the Tenant-Landlord court is the best option?

ANSWER: I have a better idea. First, since you have already complained
in writing to the Rental Office, I would look up the owner of the
actual property, and write a formal letter to the building/LANDowner.
You can get the records from the County Assessor web site. I can find
the search page where you enter the address, if you like, just clarify
with your County for me. You might call the Philly Landlord-Tenant
Unit listed above and ask them for help on wording. They write scare
letters all the time.

Don't forget to use the terms "Landlord-Tenant Act" and PEACEFUL ENJOYMENT. 

TENANTS RESPONSIBILITIES:  "The tenant must act in a manner that will
not disturb his neighbor?s peaceful enjoyment of the premises."

Explain that you have complained to the Rental Office, and provide
copies of those complaints. Mention the Rental Office has acknowledged
getting other complaints.  Next, say that you are contacting them, the
landowner, as a last resort before enforcing your legal rights and
seeking damages in court. You might mention the term "constructive

If you don't have a copy of your complaint, write AGAIN, date it, and
mention you have complained NUMEROUS times, send certified mail, to
document to the landowner your written complaint.

QUESTION: Should I run survey of the neighbours (dropping suryey in
their mail boxes) and show it to the Landlord?

ANSWER:  This could be very helpful, bur might take a few days,
depends on how soon you want to sleep at night! Get copies of other
written complaints, if there are any copies of letters from your
neighbors. A group effort would be very effective.

QUESTION: Keeping log of the noise and its level would help?

ANSWER:  YES!  Extremely helpful, and admissable in court as long as
it's kept in LOG form.

Clarification of Answer by cynthia-ga on 05 Nov 2005 11:42 PST
PS, I noticed I cited the wrong Revised Code! (SORRY!!) There's a "New
Philidelphia" --in OHIO...., I assume you're in PA...  Update with
your COUNTY and I'll find the search page for you at the Assessor's
site, and I'll look for the Philidelphia PA code.


Clarification of Answer by cynthia-ga on 05 Nov 2005 12:35 PST
CORRECTED LINK for Pennysylvania's Landlord-Tenant Laws:


From there, I clicked:   I. The Tenant - Finding A Home
Scrolled to #9:

The tenant has the right to invite into his/her dwelling unit business
visitors and deliverymen. The tenant also can invite, for a reasonable
period of time, social guests, family or visitors. The tenant shall
not permit any person to willfully damage or destroy or remove any
part of the dwelling unit NOR DISTURB THE PEACE. (bold mine)

The landlord is permitted to enter the premises at reasonable times
(normally daylight hours) for the purpose of inspection or to make
repairs and should first notify the tenant.

The landlord is permitted to make rules and regulations after the
lease goes into effect; however, these rules and regulations may deal
only with the health of the tenants and the safety of the premises..."

ALSO clicked:  III. Municipal Housing Codes

Scroll to:

What is a Nuisance Complaint?

These are generally neighbor problems, such as weeds and littering,
failure to maintain exterior premises, dilapidated houses and
buildings, rat and vermin harborage, junk accumulation, excessive
noise, etc. Nuisance conditions all fall under the category of Health
and Safety Hazards.

How to Report a Nuisance Condition and Get Assistance

The tenant or landlord should report nuisance conditions (Health and
Safety Hazards) to the local government. Pennsylvania law for boroughs
and townships provides for enactment and enforcement of ordinances
regulating Health and Safety Hazards. (For Boroughs - Section 1201 of
the Boro Code, and for Second Class Townships, Section 702 Para. XII
of the Second Class Township Code)..."

Some of these phrases should be used in your letter to the landowner....




CITY etc


CITY, etc

DEAR (landowner name),

I am writing to make you aware of a situation at the above apartment
complex, which your Property Managers have failed to remedy.

..."I have written the Rental Office X times (see attached) since
9DATE PROBLEM STARTED) regarding a nuisance (noise) complaint about
the tenants in unit X, and I have appealed to the tenant directly
about their noise.

Even though the Rental Office acknowledges the complaint is valid, and
that other tenants have also complained, they have failed to remedy
the problem. I am contacting you, the landowner, as a last resort
prior to taking legal action. Pennsylvania law for boroughs and
townships provides for enforcement of ordinances regulating Health and
Safety Hazards, and as cited below, nuisance complaints fall into this

(add above PA code titles here)

With no action from you, I will be forced to move as I have lost the
peaceful enjoyment of my dwelling, through no action of my own, and I
will seek whatever damages are entitled to me by law, including, but
not limited to:

1) I will break my lease, citing constructive eviction.
2) I will seek the return of my entire damage deposit.
3) I will seek monetary award for my moving expenses.
4) I will seek all damages afforded me by the Philadelphia Landlord-Tenant Laws

I request that you contact me within 3 days of your receipt of this
[certified] letter to advise me of your position so I can take further
action. If you don't contact me, I will take the above actions.

[take out the word certified, but be sure to get a return receipt for court]

If you can get other tenants to sign it as well, ---that would be fantastic.

A letter like this will get you some action...

nimiaj-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Thank you cynthia. Seems like I have lot of options. I am rating this
as your answer for the exhastive list of options you suggested. I have
a few comments though may be you can help clarify if you have few

I have written complaints to the Rental Office - they told me other
have complained as well. Rental office said they sent memos to the
neighbour and it still continues so the they can't do anything more
about it. You are correct - Police have recetly told me flat out that
its on the low priority and nothing can be done about it. Do you think
going back to the rental office is the best option or going to the
Tentat-Landlord court is the best option? Should I run survey of the
neighbours (dropping suryey in their mail boxes) and show it to the
Landlord? Keeping log of the noise and its level would help?

Subject: Re: Noisy Neighbour - Loud Music - what to do?
From: tlspiegel-ga on 02 Nov 2005 17:21 PST
I liked cynthia-ga's comment here:

Subject: Re: Noise Reduction Noise Elimination

From: cynthia-ga on 11 Jun 2005 19:58 PDT     
What I did, was to take a copy of my work schedule over to my
neighbors apartment. I spoke to them in person, both were home. I
stated their agguements and loud music bothered me, but in the
interest of being a "good neighbor" I was coming to them first, before
taking any *other* action. I asked them to please confine their
arguements and loud music to the hours I was not home.

Keep a log of the noise, in case that doesn't work.

Subject: Re: Noisy Neighbour - Loud Music - what to do?
From: nimiaj-ga on 03 Nov 2005 12:11 PST
Right. I honestly do not believe that "reasoning" and "request" will
work.  I am more looking for how to lawfully make the neightbour aware
of the situation. I am a lawful taxpaying citizen. I do not know why
my calls or even visits to local police stations are not being
attended. May be some other institution I can go to?
Subject: Re: Noisy Neighbour - Loud Music - what to do?
From: nimiaj-ga on 03 Nov 2005 12:14 PST
Btw - If I am coming off as someone who has another problem with the
neighbour - I don't. Except for the fact that I want peace and quite
in the evening and  night when I get back home from work. As I
mentioned, I have tried request and reasoning both before posting this
Subject: Re: Noisy Neighbour - Loud Music - what to do?
From: makeitfunkynow-ga on 23 Nov 2005 18:02 PST
911 is for emergencies, not annoyances. so it doesn't surprise me that
no police arrived when you called 911.

my suggestion would be to ask other neighbors if the noise bothers
them. if they say yes, perhaps they'd join in your fight. if it
doesn't bother them, try earplugs.

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