In the City of Angels there are many with big dreams, and big noises. In this blog, we will review the Los Angeles noise ordinance, how to submit a complaint to the city of Los Angeles, and how to deal with specific sounds.
Note: If it sounds like an emergency, or related to domestic violence or abuse, call 911 immediately.
Table of Contents
How to File A Noise Complaint in Los Angeles
Types Of Noise Issues
Loud Music & Parties
How to File A Noise Complaint in Los Angeles
“The responsibility for enforcement of the Noise Ordinance is now delegated to the Police Department, Department of Building and Safety, Department of Animal Regulation, and Bureau of Street Services.” –LAPD Website
Before you pick up that phone, take a deep breath and consider communicating with your neighbor. Read this post for some tips – remember that they are people too, and inviting the police to their home for noise could bring about larger consequences you may not wish upon them. If that is not an option:
Call the non-emergency line to report your complaint at 877-ASK-LAPD.
An officer will come out and advise the offender they are in violation and seek a voluntary compliance of stopping the noise. If necessary, they will complete a crime report or attempt arrest. If it is a place of business / corporate entity, they will prepare a complaint application.
While the LAPD has an online form, they request for you to call their non-emergency line for disturbances. This way they can visit the site, talk to the offender, and log the complaint at the time the crime is happening.
What happens if that does not work?
LA has a Noise Enforcement Team that is specially trained to more aggressively enforce the noise ordinance. They will not come out on the initial complaint, but if the noise is ongoing they will come out with specialized equipment to monitor the noise levels. Your police officer will escalate the case to them if needed, but if you have questions you can reach their team during business hours only at 213-996-1250.
For more information on specific sounds and actions you can take, read on.
“The Police Department is responsible for the enforcement of Noise Ordinance violations involving people–generated or controlled noises–which are considered disturbances of the peace.” –LAPD Website
If you hear gunshots, firecrackers, or any sounds of domestic abuse, these are not noise violations but serious crimes that should be reported immediately.
How excessive noise is determined:
The first question is what time of day this is happening. A typical ordinance prohibits loud noises between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. If the noise violation is happening outside these quiet hours, it does not mean it is okay. They will just change the decibel level that is considered an injunction. This formula is going to be based on what zone you are in (residential or commercial) and what the source of the noise is.
“Any noise level caused by such use or operation which exceeds the ambient noise level on the premises of any other occupied property, or if a condominium, apartment house, duplex, or attached business, within any adjoining unit, by more than five (5) decibels shall be a violation of the provisions of this section.”
To give you perspective, 5 decibels is less than the noise a pin dropping makes, so if you can hear it from your property it is likely in violation.
If you do not wish to call the police on your neighbor, check out our blog post on how to deal with neighbors playing loud music for some alternative solutions.
If your trash is within 200 feet of your residence, the trash can only be picked up between 6am – 9pm. If the trash is more than 200 feet from your residence, they can collect it at any time.
If you are experiencing a trash collection that violates these rules, you will need to call the police department through the process defined at the top of this page.
Is the problem that it is a single barking dog making noise or too many dogs on the same property? If it is too many dogs, this goes outside the parameters of noise violation and is an animal control issue. Either way, Animal Control in LA has an easy online form for you to submit the complaint:
There are acceptable hours for construction to be made, in which case the acceptable decibel levels are quite high. Allowable Construction Hours are Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays and National Holidays between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sundays, no construction except for residents.
If construction is operating during these hours, or if the noise level is very high, call the police. A good rule of thumb is if you can turn on a vacuum cleaner and still hear the noise, it is too loud. If a sound that loud lasts for several minutes at a time, it could be impacting your health.
If the noise is coming from a building and it involves noises from permanently installed mechanical equipment (ex. air conditioning unit, a Jacuzzi, or a generator at a construction site), the noise will be enforced through the The Department of Building and Safety. We still recommend calling the police to report the initial noise and they will assist in properly escalating the case after reviewing the source of sound and speaking with the offending business.
From honking horns to loud music, cars can be a nuisance in your neighborhood. It can also be tricky to catch as the offender will likely leave the area before you can get police to respond. You should still call the police to report the disturbance. This way they will track patterns of issues and take it up with the right department to investigate different roadway practices needed in your area. This can sometimes be a lengthy process, so make sure to read up on how to soundproof your space to get noise reduction in your home quicker.
Note: In determining whether or not a noise violates this section, officers may consider the following factors: ▪ Level of the noise; ▪ Nature of the noise (usual or unusual ); ▪ Origin of the noise (natural or unnatural ); ▪ Level and intensity of any background noise; ▪ Proximity of the noise to sleeping facilities; ▪ Nature and zoning of the area; ▪ Density of inhabitation in the area; ▪ Time of day or night the noise occurs; ▪ Duration of the noise; ▪ Whether the noise is recurrent, intermittent, or constant; ▪ Whether the noise is produced by commercial or non-commercial activity.
There is a lot of ambiguity in the rules, and ultimately the police officer is going to decide to file a citation or not. If you want to contest that, you can take it to court. You can read the noise code in its entirety here.
Stopping the sound by soundproofing your home
Depending on the severity of the noise, you can also consider soundproofing your space. This will prevent you from having to go through the police or the court systems, and can make your home comfortable no matter if the offender is continuing to make sounds. A disclaimer that soundproofing is very subjective and is often not the complete elimination of noises. It instead takes something loud and brings it down to a mere whisper so it easily fades into the background, allowing you to focus on other things.
Noise travels through vibration, which is carried through the air. So to stop noise, you must control the airflow. Noise generated outside, in a separate space from you, calls for soundproofing products. They stop noise from traveling through windows, ceilings, doors, and walls. Here are some examples:
Soundproof Window Inserts
Installing window inserts is an easy and effective way of soundproofing windows. Indow® Acoustic Grade window inserts can reduce up to 70% of outside noise when placed over single-pane windows and up to 50% of noise coming through double-pane windows.
Scott Sidler has been working with windows for years. He owns his own historic restoration company and runs the national The Craftsman Blog, which he calls his “laboratory, classroom, playground”.
He jumped at the chance to play with our Acoustic Grade window inserts in his shop. Check out this video for a demonstration on the noise reduction Indow inserts can provide, and imagine what this sort of impact the noise reduction will have on your life!
Best of all, you can self measure these window inserts and get them delivered to your home without the need for outside help.
Look through your space and find areas where you see gaps between things like your door frame and the wall. While it seems like a small area that might be insignificant, sealing up all gaps will help reduce the noise. Consider it like a mission to find a leak in the bathtub. The leak still happens with even a pinprick. Standard caulks will work, but Green Glue sealant has a specialty formula for acoustic damping.
Whether you have filed a complaint with the LAPD or are wanting to take matters into your own hands, we would love to hear from you. Head over to our Facebook or Instagram and tell us about the noise you are experiencing. Together we can improve the world of noise awareness and create comfort for us all.
Signing up for our noise newsletter will bring you tips from us and other noise experts we’ve worked with to help you get the peace and quiet you’ve been looking for.
There is loud noises rumbling like really loud between 12 am 7am. It may be the building of the blue line tunnel or a loud generator or cell towers. It may be from the new multiple units being built on Mansfield between pico and Venice. I really don’t know but it is very disturbing what can I do to stop the noise?
Hi, Margaret. We are sorry to hear about this noise problem, and we wish you the best in resolving it quickly and effectively. Until you are able to pinpoint the source of the noise, it will be difficult to determine the best solution.
What if the sound is coming through the foundation of your house? In my case it’s a neighbor’s, almost assuredly useless, 20 year old A/C unit vibrating so hard it drones endlessly into the night, depriving me of sleep every night between early April and late September. It vibrates up into anything touching the floor so my bed becomes an acoustic speaker when I put my head to the pillow.
Hi, Josh. The compressor should be on a slab. You could also speak to them about the possibility of adding a noise dampening mat beneath it.
So my neighbor to the south decided to set up a welding/construction shop. It looks like they do various projects for other people. Not to work on their own place.
They have a tent set up to block the sun. Underneath the tent, they have a whole setup. They build, weld, use a compressor, saw, and bang for many hours during the day. The setup is no more than 6 ft from my bedroom window. I have gone out once and mentioned the noise. That went nowhere. This morning I went out in the midst of their construction with a decibel reader and got up to 89 decibels. I know it’s probably a bit less once I’m inside, but this is daily. Even Sunday’s where there is no work being done just the loud music from the speakers they set up.
So with their shop setup….what are my options?
We applaud your attempt to speak directly with your neighbor first to resolve the noise issue. You can check your city’s website or call 211 to inquire about how to file a noise complaint. If you would like to make an attempt to simply reduce the noise, we are happy to speak with you about our noise-reducing inserts. However, at a decibel level you have mentioned here the noise reduction offered by inserts, while substantial, might not be enough to bring you peace of mind. We would recommend identifying one room in your home with a small amount of windows for a pilot project.
Hi! Night Club across the street from my building build outdoor seating and stage (DJ/ life music) it is very loud 7 night a week from 8;50PM to 3AM. at least 50 families in my building are affected by this noise.
Music, screaming, fighting in front of our windows every night.
we tried to speak to the owner but he don’t see why his business should suffer.
Local Police is not responding and landlord is not reacting neither.
what we can do, please advice!
we are located in Marian Del Rey CA.
Hi, Marta. I am sorry to hear about your noise issues and lack of concern from those responsible. Have you filed an official noise complaint? If you do, it will be reviewed and determined if it warrants action.
Grandma bought her getaway here in Granada Hills and time has caught up with this 5 acres with mansions and their. Waterfalls, pool pumps, Generators, going off at all hours ,vibrations and electrical currents are keeping my dog and I awake . Worse though is the pressure in our ears and the constant electrical feeling LAPD won’t send someone and topping it all off So Cal Gas is working 24/7 with work light gens and heavy earth movers and boring machines creaking and mooning vibrating the property all night.I can’t afford to upgrade as Tenents arnt paying rent or utilities I’ve made copy’s of the noise ordanence to give them copy’s and neibhors got a little snooty when suggested change the hours of their machines Can you come out and help this neibhorhood? Please
Hi, Stephanie. I am sorry to hear that your peaceful getaway home is experiencing noise issues. We don’t do home visits, but one of Fit Specialists will be able to discuss your noise issues with you to determine if Indow inserts are the best solution. Give us a call at 503-284-2260.
I have two night clubs which are further then 50 feet away from my house. I continuously call the Sherrifs department and they either never respond or don’t do a thing about it. I’ve been dealing with this for 6 years. I’ve gone to the city council 3 times and still nothing is being done. I’ve filed noise complaints and still nothing. This is happening in Pico Rivera. I don’t know what else to do??
Hi Christopher, we are so sorry to learn about this difficult situation. Have you tried getting your neighbors involved? Unity is empowering! Here is a guide to organizing a petition: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Petition
Good luck and we hope you get to a good outcome! If you cannot solve the issue, we’d be happy to give you a 10% discount on Indow Acoustic Grade inserts to help you live more easily with your noisy neighbors.
Hello… I wish to report a neighbour who has a carbon monoxide alarm beeping constantly about every minute or so? It has been happening for about 2 weeks and driving us crazy! The owner has put the property on the market (so no-one is living there) and I have contacted their realtor twice over four days to ask them to attend to it…. to no avail. He said he would inform the owners but nothing has happened. Please assist. The home is at 6300 Drexel Ave 90048.
Hi Michael, It looks like you live in an interesting neighborhood. I’ve never visited La Brea or all of the other interesting near by places. I think your best bet is to cll the non-emergency line to report your complaint at 877-ASK-LAPD. Have you tried that yet?
Hi, my apartment is above the gym & they recently renovated the gym & installed new heavy duty equipment. We can hear the weights being dropped all day & night. The gym is open 24 hrs. What are my options to get the landlord to close the gym @ 10pm( quiet hours)
Hi Jane, we are not sure about this one. An effective tactic may be to organize a petition for signing by all the apartment residents. This will make management take your concerns more seriously. Maybe you can convince management to curtail the gym hours. You can also ask them to provide you with thick carpeting and carpet padding. This can help reduce the noise.
Deliveries at a warehouse across the alley less than 200ft. from apt building at all hours day and night including weekends. Loud talking and laughing. Start with the 877 number or directly to the 213 number?
Sounds bad! I’d start with the 877 number and then escalate to the 213 number. Good luck! You may also wish to organize your neighbors. If they business knows they are facing a group of people, they may be more responsive. Get a petition going? Get all of your neighbors to call in a single week. Wishing you peace and quiet.
The grocery store down the hill from us never put in enough backroom storage so now they keep adding a number of incredibly loud portable refrigerated cold storage units in the alleyway behind the store. These things cycle on and off all day and and night. It’s like we are suddenly living on the deck of an aircraft carrier. This was not in the original plan that they filed with the city when they remodeled and moved in years ago. What can we do? Earplugs don’t work. The managers are quite unsympathetic. What can we do? Is there an inspector we should call? The quality of our neighborhood is really being altered by this horrible noise.
Hi Olivia, there is strength in numbers. All your neighbors will be similarly afflicted by this terrible noise. You may try organizing a day or week of calling the store to complain. Circulate a petition. Call the phone numbers listed in this post!