What Is Your Condo Association's Noise Policy? Need to Put Noise Rule in Bylaws

Updated on January 30, 2012
C.K. asks from Chicago, IL
8 answers

Hello Moms! Can those of you who live in condos share your association's noise policy with me? I am an officer in our condo association, and we need to write a noise rule due to a new owner who has been disturbing the whole building with late parties. Residents have spoken to this owner, and last night a resident was forced to call the police at 1 a.m. We are a five unit building and have never had a problem like this - everyone is a friendly, hard-working family, and we have all respected one another until now. I could really use some examples to base ours off of. Thanks for any you can share - and an especial thank you to those who may have to type out something really long so I can see it! :) Much appreciated!

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answers from Chicago on

Hi C.,

We live in a 10-unit condo building with (mostly) wonderful neighbors, too, but there are always a few noisy tenants (and it's an older building, so the noise really carries!) so I definitely feel your pain!

Our noise policy includes specifications for "house hours" and then "after house hours."

Here is the actual policy from our House Rules:
• House hours are Sunday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday/Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.
• *Residents shall not play any musical instrument, radio, stereo, television, or cause any other noise at a level that would disturb any other residents.* Noise levels must be kept below 80 dB (vacuum cleaner sound level) during house hours unless previously approved by the board of directors.
• No one shall make any noises in the building or adjacent grounds that may disturb the occupants of other units after house hours. Noise levels must be kept below 40 dB (standard conversation voice level) after house hours.
• Residents are encouraged to inform other residents of any planned social gatherings within a unit or on the back deck that may result in elevated noise levels.
Determination of excessive noise levels during social gatherings is left to the mature discretion of the residents.

Good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

During the week M-F is quiet at 10pm and no start oddly enough. Then the weekend is 12am. I think this is also based off of our city laws. Look into those and that base your rules off that.

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answers from Chicago on

I don't think there's much you can do in this situation, certainly not in the way of association enforcement (penalties against their property, fees, liens, etc.) You may not, for instance, just decide that owners can only do x during the hours of z or limit any owner's usage of the property unless it says otherwise in your bylaws which would be astounding to me.

For instance, just because everyone in an association, say, doesn't like dogs, and a new owner moves in with three annoying dogs, doesn't mean they can just outlaw dogs because the majority doesn't like it. That rules would have he to be in the original draft of the bylaws, as would your noise stipulations (even then I don't think it would hold water).

In other words, the best you can do probably is to get the police dept. involved to enforce your city's noise laws, which typically are nonexistent if you live in a big city.

Some would say, welcome to condo living.

My wife and I lived very peacefully in our condo for several years until our awesome downstairs neighbors moved out and in moved two of the most obnoxiously loud, scream all day at each other (and night) techno party having jerks the world has ever known.

None of which was unfortunately against the law.

No more condos for us thank you!

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answers from Lakeland on

Check with your county or town first and see if they have laws about noise first. Your HOA should have a lawyer so you should be able to set up rules, they may already have them. My community has an HOA and they have lots of rules (most do). Around here it is 10 PM and most of the homes are short term rentals. Those that don't respect the rule get a visit from the Sheriff’s dept. and then all is quiet again. We do have security guards driving around 24/7 so they call the police if people get too loud.

I forgot to add that my HOA can and will give fines to the owners of the homes for not following the rules. So if it is a rental property the landlord will get the fine, the landlord should have all HOA rules to include in the lease. This way if the tenants are continually breaking the rules the landlord can evict the tenant. And for anyone not living in an HOA community, they can make up these rules as part of the HOA even if the town doesn’t have the same ones.



answers from Washington DC on

Look to see what your county ordinance is and base if off of that. Our county rule is general quiet hours between 11p and 7a. I think my sister's condo is 10p - 7a.



answers from Los Angeles on

i would say 10 pm i dont live in condos but i know it would bother me after 10 or 11



answers from Oklahoma City on

When it comes right down to it you cannot make any rules that are not law in your town. For example, you cannot just randomly make up things that are not against the law. Such as not allowing smoking on a person's own property on their porch or deck. That is not against the law and no matter how many time you type it in the bylaws you cannot enforce it because they could sue you for not allowing them their lawful rights.

So, to limit the noise in your complex you must visit the city offices and get a copy of the city's noise ordinances.

In my town noise is restricted during certain hours that is above a certain decibel.

BUT noise that is mechanical in nature such as stereo's, TV's, lifting weights and allowing them to bang loudly, car horns, truck motors, construction tools like a jackhammer, hammering, etc...is a 24 hour a day ordinance. If I call the police at noon due to Walmart having a jackhammer that I think is too loud the police make them stop. It is the "law" since it falls under the mechanical noise ordinance.

Once you have that ordinance in hand you will be able to set your bylaws and they will be enforceable by the police.

If a person is making noise after "your" by-laws designated time and they want to continue so the police get called if the noise ordinances say he can still be making said noise the police can file a charge on the one who called for making false calls and taking up the police officers time. So make sure what the law says so you don't end up fighting an uphill battle. I am sure that the mechanical noise ordinance will fit nicely with the scenario..


answers from St. Louis on

You need to hire an attorney to draw up bi-laws. If they are not legal they are not binding.

You can make up a rule no noise after nine because it will wake my baby and they can just ignore it because you have no legal recourse to enforce it. Think about it who will enforce it?

Say you make the rule no loud noise after 10, say this is your city ordinance, what will you do if they are loud at 10:30? You can't evict them, it is against the law. You can't fine them, again against the law. You would call the police.