How can I turn down the volume on my next-door neighbors?

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Question:

I live next to a multi-unit apartment building with lots of families with children. Every day I am subject to blood-curdling screams, yelling, plastic toys being smashed on the concrete, and balls being bounced and kicked against the wooden fence with resounding repercussions. What do I do? I have complained to the landlord in writing. I have spoken to the parents. They ignore both me and the landlord. I've even called the cops, but they don't take my complaints seriously. Since I work at home as a writer, it's even more disturbing. How can I get some peace?

Answer:

There may be hope for you. Most cities have noise level laws prohibiting prolonged noise over a certain decibel level. Check your city's ordinance either online, at the local public law library, or by calling the city clerk. Then, measure the noise: You can purchase a meter at a local electronics store or ask the police or city noise agency to measure the noise for you.

Once you know the noise level exceeds the allowable level as stated in the ordinance, talk to the landlord and parents again and show them a copy of the ordinance and your notes about the noise decibel level. Still no results? Keep a log of the type of noise, times, and decibel levels to show the police when you call to make a complaint.

If your noise documentation attempts do not bring the quietude you crave, you might get relief through an agreement reached through a local neighborhood mediation organization.

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