Music too loud in an apartment what are my rights?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “If I live in an apartment in Dallas, Texas, and my next door neighbor plays their music so loud it shakes the walls and wakes my baby, do I have the right to get them to turn the music down? I cannot live like this. Can you please help?”

Cities have instituted statutes and laws which govern the rights between tenants and their landlords. In the State of Texas, these regulations are codified in Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code. Tenants may also have additional rights and responsibilities which are outlined in detail in their rental agreement.

City ordinances may also provide additional protections against excessive noise within city limits.

So what do you do if your neighbor is potentially violating your rights? Consider taking a few easy steps.

Steps to deal with noisy neighbors

  1. Talk to your neighbors.

An easy first step to deal with noisy neighbors is to talk to them. They may be unaware that you have a baby that sleeps from 12 to 2 each afternoon. A pleasant conversation may be all that is needed to reduce the noise level. In fact, often neighbors have no idea that someone else can hear the noise from their apartment.

  1. Contact your landlord.

If you do not feel safe discussing issues directly with your neighbor you may contact your landlord. Although common noises such as walking, talking, or showering are to be expected in apartments, if the noise is too loud and is interfering with your right to enjoy your apartment this could be a violation of your rights.

Before talking to your landlord, however, you may want to review your rental agreement, Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code, and the City of Dallas Noise Ordinance. After you have all the information about the potential violations you can discuss potential violations with your landlord.

  1. Contact the police.

Contacting the police regarding excessive noise should not be your first step, but under some conditions, it may be your best solution. Most cities have ordinances which specifically address the issue of noise. Some cities may also designate quiet hours or have set decibel levels for noise which are considered unlawful.

If the police witness any unlawful activities they may be able to issue a warning or fines for violations of common noise ordinances within your cities.

  1. File a civil complaint.

Finally, if all other actions fail and the noise is unbearable you may also consider filing a civil complaint against the offender. A civil case may be filed regardless of whether or not criminal penalties are ever filed.

If you win your civil case you may be allowed to recover a civil penalty pursuant to Section 54.017 of the Texas Local Government Code.

More information about Noise Ordinances in Dallas, Texas

Different cities in Texas will have their own noise ordinances. For example, if you live in Dallas, Texas, you will need to review the Dallas Noise Ordinance. This ordinance prohibits persons from “making or causing to be made any loud and disturbing noise or vibration in the city that is offensive to the ordinary sensibilities of the inhabitants of the city.”

Offensive noises can include horns, radios, televisions, and musical instruments “with such volume as to disturb the peace, quiet, comfort, or repose of persons in any dwelling, apartment, hotel, or other type of residence.”

If a violation occurs the offender can be charged with a crime, which can result in a criminal fine not to exceed $2,000.

Bottom line:

You have the right to live in your apartment with peace, comfort, and quiet. This does not mean, however, that it will be silent 24/7. You will need to be a reasonable person with normal sensibilities.

If the noise you are experiencing far exceeds what a reasonable person should be expected to endure it is time to take reasonable steps to remedy the situation.

If you need absolute peace and quiet, however, you may need to purchase a single dwelling residence in the country.

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