Noise pollution caused by your nearby business or noisy neighbors can sometimes be prolonged and extreme enough, that it can cause serious problems in your daily life and have a severe impact on your health.
In some cases, you might need to take legal action and take help from law enforcement authorities to solve this problem. In California, there are different solutions available for the victim of noise.
In this article, we will discuss the law of noise protection in California to let you know what solutions are available for the victim of excessive noise. Also, here we have covered how to deal with noise complaints from tenants in California.
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The Basic Law Of Noise Protection In California: What You Need To Know
In California, each community can set its own sound ordinances or regulations. And different decibel levels are generally allowable during different times of the day. Here we have discussed the basic law of noise protection in California that can help you to deal with any noise-related issues.
1. California Noise Laws
In California, there are laws to protect residents from excessive noise. According to the state’s Health and Safety Code, all Californians are entitled to a “peaceful and quiet environment without the intrusion of noise which may be hazardous to their health or welfare. It is the policy of the state to provide an environment for all Californians.“
So, in some cases, if a person thinks that he is the victim of noise disturbances, he may file a nuisance claim in civil court. This law actually establishes public policy and enables a series of public laws that are applicable to the public in general.
However, it might not be very useful for the individual seeking solutions to their problems regarding noisy neighbors. Anyway, it can be a useful law to be aware of.
2. California Local Ordinances
Most cities in California have different local laws for the protection of their residents or citizens from excessive noise. And due to the California Noise Control Act of 1973, local communities in California got the power to set their own noise ordinances or regulations.
You can search on the internet to get the details of local ordinances applicable to your local area. And under these local laws, people can take the required action to deal with noise disturbances, such as noisy neighbors or noisy dogs.
Also, Most local ordinances include specific “quiet times“, during which loud noises are prohibited in that area. In general, a local ordinance restricts loud noises between 11 pm and 7 am or 8 am on weekdays, and between 11 pm or midnight and 8 to 10 am on Sundays and other holidays. And you should check your local ordinance before filing a formal complaint.
3. Tenants Rights
In California, tenants have the right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their property. So, if a noisy tenant is making loud noise beyond what is “normally acceptable” under the Noise Guidelines, then he/ she is actually violating the city’s noise ordinance.
In some areas of California, a tenant’s noise level is generally restricted by the time of day. For example, a tenant cannot make noise of more than 50 decibels during some specific times of the day. And during that time, any noise exceeding 50 decibels is considered a nuisance.
Tenants must inform their landlords of the excessive noise. And landlords definitely have a duty under the law to ensure that their noisy tenants do not continue violating local nuisance regulations or prevent other tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of their premises.
Tenants can also contact local law enforcement agencies. And if the landlord does not resolve the issue to prevent the violation of the noise ordinance, then a tenant might have a right to terminate his/her lease after providing a written notice of termination.
4. California Penal Code
Under the guidelines of Section 415 of the California Penal Code, it is illegal for any resident to knowingly make loud and unreasonable noises that disturb another resident. If a person is found guilty of this crime or violates this law, he/she might face a maximum of 90 days in jail and/or pay a fine of up to $400.
And unnecessary noises can be a violation at any time of the day. However, what an excessive noise is might depend on the local area and the time of day.
The definition of excessive noise for a person with a home next to a steel mill will not match that of a residential property situated next to a fishing destination. And most police will not take a report seriously unless they think it is a clearly unreasonable noise.
How To Deal With Noise Complaints From Tenants
Sometimes property managers have to deal with noise complaints from tenants and they have to solve the problem as soon as possible. But, in some cases, these complaints can be difficult to resolve for several reasons.
Because you might need to try to change the behavior of the person making the noise so that they can be aware of their disturbances and their impact on others.
Also, there can be a huge difference in the perceptions of people making the noise and the people who have to tolerate that loud noise whether they want it or not.
And sometimes complaining parties can also have their own unrealistic expectations about the realities of living in apartment houses with several other families or neighbors. So, the landlord has to take an unbiased approach to handling the noise complaints.
So, first, a landlord needs to investigate while receiving a noise complaint to see if it is valid or not. And if you are the landlord, you should carefully listen to the tenant expressing the complaint and then try to determine if these are actually excessive or unnecessary noise or just part of normal living.
You need to get those details, such as when the sound occurred or how long it lasted, as it will help you to prepare to talk to the noisy tenant. And some of the most common reasons for loud noise complaints are- loud television or music, noise from parties, or barking dogs.
After listening carefully to the complaining tenant, the landlord has to find out what the source of the noise is and identify the problem, and then talk with both parties and see if this issue can be solved with a solution that is beneficial for everyone involved.
When You Should Involve The Police With Noise Complaints
Your initial approaches to the person making the noise should be polite and thoughtful. However, if nothing changes or you haven’t got any desired results, then this might be the time to contact law enforcement agencies.
Especially, if the sound is occurring for a long time and it is impacting people’s sleep, then you can definitely contact the police. You should check your local noise ordinance or regulations and if the noisy tenant is breaking the local laws, then just call the police and they will take care of the problem for you.
And you should always try to contact the police when the sound is occurring. Sometimes you can simply hold the telephone in the direction of the sound and it is enough for them to listen.
So, if you have already tried to solve the problem yourself, then if the police come to address the issue, your noisy tenant will realize that the matter is serious.
How To Make A Noise Complaint In San Francisco
Loud noises are strictly prohibited inside all residential properties in San Francisco between 10 pm and 7 am. Residential properties actually mean those properties that have at least one dwelling unit and have been approved for human habitation.
So, any noise levels higher than 45 decibels during these hours are excessive and in violation of the noise ordinance.
- Noisy Neighbors: Noise regulations in San Francisco control the noise that can be heard outside of a residential property. So, a resident is violating the noise ordinance if the sound of his/her television, radio, musical instrument, or any other device can be heard beyond 50 feet from the residential property from 10 pm to 7 am.
So, to make a noise complaint about these kinds of noisy neighbors in San Francisco, you can call the non-emergency telephone number of the police.
- Noisy Dogs: In San Francisco, a barking dog means “a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any other noise continuously and incessantly for a period of 10 minutes to the disturbance of any other person.”
According to the city’s noise ordinance, animal owners have a duty or responsibility to handle any noise problems created by their dogs.
And if they maintain a barking dog on their properties, then they are violating the noise ordinance. If people file a complaint about the disturbance, then the dog owner might need to pay a fine of up to $500. And to make a complaint about the noisy dogs in San Francisco, you can call the non-emergency telephone number to contact the police.
When You Need To Make Noise Complaints In Los Angeles
According to the noise ordinance of Los Angeles, there are permissible hours for construction, nightclub music, and even trash pick-ups. For example, permitted construction hours in Los Angeles are:
- Monday to Friday: From 7 am to 9 pm,
- Saturdays and other holidays: Between 8 am to 6 pm.
And no construction work is allowed on Sundays unless it is carried out by residents. Also, any nightclub noise level that is five or more decibels higher than the ambient noise level on any other occupied property is violating the local noise ordinances in Los Angeles.
- Noisy Neighbors: If your neighbor is having their television, stereo, or radio too loud, or your noisy neighbors are creating other problems in Los Angeles, then you should contact the local police station. You can also make a noise complaint by calling on their non-emergency number. And the issue can be mostly resolved by a local law enforcement officer attending the issue.
- Noisy Dogs: You need to file a dog noise complaint in Los Angeles to the city’s Animal Care and Control Department. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) recommends that this should be done in writing, where you need to provide the name, address, and telephone number of the complainant. You have to also give the contact information for the owner of the dog and a detailed description of the issue.
Wrap-Up On The Law Of Noise Protection In California: Understanding California’s Laws
Everyone, including the court and police, knows that noise is a part of the urban environment. And a temporary amount of noise, for example, the noise caused by a New Year’s party or a small amount of construction noise should not be taken very seriously.
You can give your neighbor a little warning, however, they will not be going to jail or paying any fine. But a continuing loud noise or repeated violation of reasonable noise levels is another thing and it should be addressed as soon as possible.
We hope that our informative guide has helped you to know detailed information about the law of noise protection in California. If you want more information, please let us know in the comments below.
FAQ: The Law Of Noise Protection In California
Continuous loud noise at excessive levels can seriously impact a person’s health and well-being. That is why if you are living in California, you should know the law of noise protection in California. And you might have several questions while handling any noise-related issues and we have answered them here.
Q1. Is Loud Music Illegal In California?
Ans: There are appropriate state laws and city ordinances in California to deal with loud music and noise. Several laws make it illegal to disturb the peace of other people with unreasonable loud noise or music.
Q2. What Decibel Level Is Illegal In California?
Ans: Most exhaust systems found on cars that are coming off of a production line are at no more than 75 decibels. And the legal noise limit for cars, excluding motorcycles, in California is 95 decibels.
Q3. What Is The Legal Noise Limit In Los Angeles?
Ans: If you are specifically looking at the Los Angeles noise ordinance, then you will find out that loud noises should be kept to a minimum between 9 pm and 7 am. So, if you are starting construction work, then you should understand the Los Angeles noise ordinance properly if you want to avoid the penalties that come with violating these guidelines.