Under the provisions of most leases, you will agree to keep noise levels to a minimum so as not to disturb your neighbors. If you violate this clause, you could face eviction. If police find you in violation of the city's noise ordinance, you might be fined $150.00 - $200.00 for each occurrence. Despite the risks, some tenants make a lot of noise. If you have trouble with one of your neighbors making too much noise, try these ideas.
ASK THEM TO BE QUIET. A direct approach is best. Too many tenants suffer through hours of disturbed sleep and then complain the next day to the landlord. Your neighbors may not realize how loud they are or how late it is, so talk to them first. Be polite and ask nicely. If you do not want to go to the door, check the mailbox for the tenants' names, look them up in the phonebook, and telephone them. Be persistent. If they quiet down after you ask, but then are noisy the next night, call again. This may seem like a hassle, but it's the best way to deal with the situation.
INVOLVE OTHER NEIGHBORS. If the people next door won't be quiet after you've asked, talk to the other neighbors. Give them the phone number of the noise makers and see if everyone will agree to call and ask them to be quiet.
BUY EARPLUGS: If the noise problem is caused by a baby crying, or thin walls that make you feel like your neighbor's television is in your home, or the weight of people walking above you -- but the neighbors are not really disturbing the peace, the best solution would probably be to buy earplugs.
CALL THE POLICE: If the noise can be heard outside the neighbors' apartment, they are violating city code. Amplified music and loud parties are usually the type of noise about which it is appropriate to call the police. Call 333-8911. This is the non-emergency dispatch number for METCAD who will dispatch an officer to either city.
If the people quiet down when the police arrive but start up again a half hour later, CALL THE POLICE AGAIN and tell the dispatcher that an officer responded to your earlier call but the noise-makers started up again after the police officer(s) left.
If the problem persists on subsequent nights, be persistent in calling the police. They seldom write a ticket for the first noise offense.
KEEP A LIST OF YOUR CALLS: Sometimes, a police officer who answers a call is not aware that the police have been called to the same apartment in the past. Write down the date and time when you call the police. If you have to call a second time about the same neighbor, ask the dispatcher to please inform the police officer that you had previously called and tell the date and time of the prior call. If you have to call a third or fourth time, tell the dispatcher each time about the previous calls, dates and times. In many cases, you will have to call the police more than twice but less than a dozen times before the message sinks in with your noisy neighbors. Don't give up. Be persistent.
If you have an ongoing problem that is not resolved by calling the police at the time of each incident, you may wish to call the police station and ask for the Shift Commander (Champaign: 351-4545; Urbana: 384-2320).
REPORT THE PROBLEM TO THE LANDLORD: Your landlord should be informed about noise problems with neighbors. Don't call the landlord in the middle of the night; tell him/her about the problem the next day. Let the landlord know that you are involving the police and ask him/her to please give some type of written notice to the neighbors about the noise problem.
YOUR LANDLORD IS NOT A POLICE OFFICER. When you experience the type of problem for which a homeowner would call the police, you should call the police too. Particularly if you are being bothered by someone you are afraid to confront -- an intoxicated person in your hallway or a vandal damaging cars -- don't expect your landlord to replace a police officer. Call the police.
IF YOU RECEIVE AN EVICTION NOTICE FROM YOUR LANDLORD BECAUSE THE NEIGHBORS HAVE COMPLAINED ABOUT YOU MAKING TOO MUCH NOISE -- DON'T MOVE OUT! CALL THE TENANT UNION TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS AND RISKS. MOVING OUT WILL NOT EXCUSE YOU FROM THE OBLIGATION TO PAY FUTURE RENT.
The Tenant Union does not provide legal services of any kind. All information provided in this publication is intended to help the average person prevent problems and deal with common concerns of renting. When legal help is needed, always consult with an attorney at law.