Question for the law saavy

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HBK42581
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Question for the law saavy

Post by HBK42581 »

My fiance and I live in an apartment building. We've been here for about 4 years and we like it very much. The majority of the owners and tenants here are Brazilian, which is fine of course. Our neighbors, however, often have what I can only assume is a Bible group, over on the weekends, which is also fine. Except for the fact that they SHOUT THEIR LIVING BRAINS OUT AT GOD. It comes right through our walls and we often have to turn our TV up to drown them out. Is this grounds for me to call the cops on a 'disturbing the peace' complaint? Any help is appreciated.
Scott "The Heart Break Kid"

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GarrettD
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Post by GarrettD »

I will preface this with: I am not a lawyer, or have any experience in the law.

Is the noise unbearable? Is this happening on late Sunday mornings/ afternoons or is it happening at evenings while you are trying to sleep?

Also, have you spoken directly to your neighbor? A face to face talk would go a lot further to keep you both friendly to one another. Calling the cops might be more than is needed, and may create ill will.

If you speak to them kindly informing them of the problem, and cannot step out of the apartment during their practice sessions, or cannot stand to be in the apartment while it goes on - speak to the management.

A manager is not likely to want to lose a good tenenat, not to mention if this noise is a problem for you, it is probably a problem for other tenants.

Calling the police and arguing renters rights vs. the right to practice religion and who has jurisdiction in the matter may be avoided.

Garrett
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cjc15153
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Post by cjc15153 »

I have a couple weeks (at least) before I can claim to be an expert on CA law, and I know nothing at all about MA law or the noise or housing ordinances in your area.

That said, in every jurisdiction you can try asking them to be quiet. Where I lived last it was X decibels between 11pm and 6am and Y decibels the rest of the day.

These laws should be online, though I'm sure busy police will try to screen out your complaint if there is no law to support it.
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Post by Chap »

I would say the first step is try a friendly chat. Having said that, I would not hesitate to take more serious measures if the noise continues.

People without thought or consideration for their fellow man aggravate me greatly.
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druphus
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Post by druphus »

What days and times does this happen Scott?
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Andy
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KAV
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Post by KAV »

Unfortunately the Bible is of little help. We are told "do thy praying quietly, and in private" in one verse and then told to "make a joyfull noise' in another." You've received good advise, I thought a little black hunour might help. :lol:
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HBK42581
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Post by HBK42581 »

It really happens at almost any time. Weekends, weeknights, mornings, evenings. A friendly chat is out of the question. It has been attempted before. They don't speak very good English. :-( I'm going to run it by my landlord and see how we should handle it. We have already had our walls sound-proofed on her dime due to a previous neighbor that liked to play his music loud.
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druphus
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Post by druphus »

Well that is certainly annoying!

I'm normally a "Live and let Live" sort of guy, and you are apparently talking about people's religious observances, but that does sound rather over the top.

Your local police could certainly explain the applicable "Noise Ordinance" and any "disturbing the Peace" laws on the books. Often these laws consider factors such as time of day (with night-time being the most restrictive), and also the duration of the disturbance. Intermittent shouting, while certainly as irritating as something constant, like loud music, may have less prohibition. You should consult with the local cops, because there is great variety regarding both the laws and enforcement.
Last edited by druphus on Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Andy
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Tye
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Post by Tye »

There's a thing called "Quiet Enjoyment". If you are a tenant in a building the neighbors have to cease and desist with the overly loud antics after a certain time of night. I'm not an attorney, but I do evictions and know more about landlord tenant law than a handful of attorneys in the town in which I reside.

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bernards66
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Post by bernards66 »

Scott, The local noise/disturbance of the peace ordanances are the key in a case like this ( and the local police's willingness to enforce them ). The wording of such ordances ( where they exist ) obviously varies from one locale to another. I've had similiar issues more than once....and I live in a private home, mind you! The ordances here in Tampa are relatively strict, and when a personal chat did not do the trick, I've not hesitated to call the sheriff's dept. Neighbors can do whatever they want in their own house as far as I'm concerned, so long as it does NOT intrude into MY space. When it does, I call the police.
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Post by CMur12 »

I lived in Brazil for a couple of years and that kind of noise was generally accepted by the culture. It wasn't unusual for a dance hall down the street to fill the neighborhood with loud music until the early hours of the morning, for a church to promote its message by blasting it out to the public over loudspeakers, or for trucks with loudspeakers to drive through neighborhood streets making announcements, promoting sales, or spreading political messages. In fact, this wouldn't be unusual in most of Latin America.

Your neighbors may well not have a concept of the problem. Someone, like the manager of the apartments, may need to explain to the offending neighbors that US culture and the laws associated with it don't allow such noise in a residential setting. It may be the apartment manager who will need to enforce the standard for the sake of the other residents.

- Murray
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bernards66
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Post by bernards66 »

Yes. When we lived in apts. and had this kind of situation it was, 1) talk with the neighbors personally...if that didn't do it, then 2) complain to the apt. people.....preferably to the actual owning company, not just the on site management. And finally, if these failed, 3) call the police....and KEEP calling them if it continues. Police officers tend to get annoyed at having to repeatedly revisit the same offending persons, and will get heavier if they have to. I lived in Mexico for awhile, and I agree with Murray regarding the cultural thing, ie. they may not automatically assume that they are creating a problem. But in this context, they are, and it needs to be addressed.
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Gordon
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HBK42581
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Post by HBK42581 »

Thanks for all the info, gents. I'll keep you updated.
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brothers
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Post by brothers »

First, of course, is the friendly but frank conversation asking for less noise, and if they say OK, then give them a chance to deliver on the promise. If it doesn't stop, there's probably something in the lease that requires tenants to refrain from bothering other tenants. Find out if it is bothering anybody else, who is willing to join your opposition. Then I suggest you read the standard lease, yours for an example, then give the notice to the manager and the ownership, in writing, quoting the lease but making no threats or anything dramatic. If it still doesn't' stop, then you might try calling the police while the meeting's going on. We lived in an apartment once, and it is certainly true that one can hear many loud activities through the walls, all of which are unwelcome, and unpleasant.
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