Q: I bought a house several months ago. The sellers didn’t mention the tremendous amount of noise that the neighbor makes.
Almost every Sunday, the neighbor next door (it’s a duplex, so we share a wall) screams while watching sports, and not just when his team makes a touchdown or a home run either, it’s constantly screaming every couple of minutes for the entire game.
After the game, he blasts Pink Floyd’s “Money” really loud, and keeps screaming the “Woo-woo” part long after the song is over. I’ve asked him to keep it quiet, especially because I work rotating shifts and sometimes need Sunday afternoon to sleep. His answer was to scream louder. Since our last conversation, I’ve noticed trash thrown in my yard.
I contacted the local code enforcement officer, he said that the law only covers noise from animals, car stereos, or construction. So, technically, the neighbor isn’t breaking the law, although I still think my right to peace and quiet and a decent amount of sleep should outweigh his right to make noise.
Was the seller required to include the noise in the disclosure? Is there any action I can take against either the seller or the neighbor?
A: I’m getting sleepy just reading your letter.
While the seller could have disclosed the neighbor issue, most seller disclosure laws might not cover this specific issue. You could argue that they should have disclosed that there is a problem with noise transmission between the units, but you really will need to talk to an attorney in your area to determine whether you have a seller disclosure issue.
Of course, it’s possible that your seller was never home on Sunday to watch sports, or that he and your neighbor were good friends who cheered through the games together.
Do you have a homeowner’s association? The HOA may have rules about noise that your neighbor may be violating. You may have some other options under your municipal laws that you can discuss with an attorney in your area.
What else can you do? You can put up some soundproofing between your wall and your neighbors that will dampen the noise and allow you to get some sleep. That may be pricey, but it might help your neighbor’s voice fade into the background. There are companies that specialize in noise issues and can help you reduce the amount of noise that comes from the neighbor’s apartment.
But ultimately, you may have to sell your home. If you can’t fix the problem and the neighbor will not keep the noise level down, you can sue your neighbor to a quiet night’s rest. You can also consider moving to a new place where you don’t share walls with anyone else.