If you live in an apartment or a home surrounded by many neighbors, you probably know how irritating it is when you’re trying to sleep, but there is a party raging nearby. It can be just as infuriating when someone plays loud music in the middle of the day. Situations like these are exactly why you should be aware of how to file a noise complaint anonymously.
After all, having enough peace and quiet to rest and recharge is essential for leading a healthy and balanced life. Noisy neighbors should never make your life so difficult that living next to them feels like a nightmare. To that end, in the sections that follow, you’ll find tips on how to file a noise complaint, as well as why it should be an anonymous one. Let’s get into it!
Can You File a Noise Complaint in the First Place?
If you are feeling impatient, the short answer to this question is: yes, you can file a noise complaint to the authorities. However, there are certain exceptions to the rule that you should be aware of.
For example, you can’t do anything about construction site noise. Such projects usually already have issued permits to make noise, so a complaint would fail to do anything. The same applies to emergency situations, such as road repairs. However, any other deliberate noise that happens during quiet hours can be reported.
These noises include loud music playing between 11 pm and 7 am, excessive dog barking, and even vehicle noise (such as honking). As long as the sounds are deliberate but unnecessary, you can report them.
In most cases, you won’t actually have to file a complaint against your neighbor. All it usually takes is talking things through and voicing your concerns. Most people are sensible and kind enough to understand such requests. Even having someone to mediate, such as a landlord, could make things easier.
If you manage to agree on certain steps that both you and your neighbor can take for everyone to be happy and satisfied, no complaints will be necessary. Settling things like this is, ultimately, the best outcome for everyone. Your neighbor doesn’t have to face any charges, and you don’t have to file any complaints.
However, things aren’t always so easy, and neighbors aren’t always so civil. If the noise persists even after you’ve taken the time to talk to your neighbors, there isn’t much you can do. While soundproofing your home is a good idea, you shouldn’t be forced to make such huge changes just because your neighbors are being unreasonably loud.
If everything else fails, all you can really do is file a noise complaint. You’ll be able to do it with a clear conscience, knowing that you tried everything else and are fully out of options.
How Do You File an Anonymous Complaint?
Perhaps the most important thing to know when filing noise complaints, anonymous or not, is that you should not call 911 to do it. This number is for true, life-threatening emergencies, and people should not use it for settling any other matters or filing complaints.
Instead of 911, you should call the number that your local PD uses to take any non-urgent complaints. This number differs for each state and sometimes also for different cities or counties. You might even be able to find an online form that you can fill out instead of calling. It is best to check your police department’s website.
Before filing anything, though, you will also have to check exactly who handles the type of noise pollution you’re dealing with. In addition, you will have to check your state/city’s quiet hours and whether the noise you want to complain about qualifies for a complaint.
Again, it’s best to look at your local PD’s website or other government sites to find all that info. Once you have all that you need and are sure that a complaint is the best course of action, you can file it.
Whether you are filing the form online or via phone, you will have to go through a similar procedure. You will have to state the source of the noise and describe it to the best of your ability. It would be helpful if you had a recording of the offense, as well.
The recording could be helpful if the noise stops by the time the police or any other service person arrives at the scene. That way, you’ll be able to prove you were telling the truth no matter what your neighbor says later.
Next, you will be asked to provide some information about yourself, including your name, ID number, etc. You will give all your contact info to the officer or write it down in the form. However, you will have a chance to choose whether you want that info to be confidential or public.
In other words, you will have a chance to file the complaint anonymously or to do it under your own name. The complaint will be equally valid no matter which option you go for. Though it is great to have this choice, most people want to stay anonymous. You will find out why that is in the following section.
For now, you’ve filed your complaint, and you will have to wait for the authorities to handle it and arrive at the scene. In the end, after you file the complaint, your role in the whole process is pretty much over.
Why Would You File a Complaint Anonymously?
As mentioned above, getting the police to chime in should be your last resort when it comes to dealing with noisy neighbors. If it is indeed necessary, why would you want to file an anonymous complaint? Wouldn’t it be easier to just give all the info to the officers right away? Well, there are actually several reasons to want to remain anonymous.
- It could cause a problem for your neighbor. If you attach your name to a complaint, it becomes about you rather than the noise itself. You could become a witness or a victim in a public disturbance case, which isn’t something most people want. Staying anonymous eliminates the chance of that happening.
- You don’t want any conflicts. Knowing that you filed a complaint against them will anger most people. If you want to avoid that, all you have to do is file it anonymously. They will get a warning and a police visit, while you’ll be off the hook completely.
- You want to avoid further inquiry. When you file an official complaint and use your name to do so, you open yourself up to further questioning. The police will most likely ask you more questions and need your full collaboration. If you do not want to find yourself in the middle of a police investigation, it is best to avoid using your name or any other contact info in the complaint.
The Bottom Line
As you have read, noisy neighbors can really make your life difficult. Whether they are partying until dawn or blowing up their speakers all day long, you have the right to file a noise complaint to the authorities. You should only do so after you have exhausted all other possibilities, though.
If that is the case, filing a complaint is rather straightforward. You just have to contact your local police department and follow their standard procedure. Remember to file the complaint anonymously so that you don’t make things complicated for yourself in any way. Doing so is the best way to solve your problem without getting into trouble.