Dear PoP – Loud Neighbors and Calling 911

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“Dear PoP,

We have some neighbors who are really loud and dis-respectful. My fiance and I realized that we just passed the 2 year anniversary of when they moved in (I was away, but they blasted heavy, bass thumping music all throughout the very first night they moved in).

At first we tried the respectful neighbor approach and tried talking to them, hoping they’d be able to understand that we didn’t want to hear their music at all hours of the night. One of them was quite belligerent to us, but the other was semi-respectful and understanding.

The noise would come and go and our tolerance level would increase and diminish, too. Eventually we worked out a bit of an understanding that if we called them and their music was too loud they would turn it down.

One day about 6 months ago i called them and the one gentleman who had been friendly was very rude. He tried to explain his “rights” and said that my fiance and I could “go fuck ourselves.” At that point I determined that I would no longer try to reason directly with them. Instead, I would phone the landlord (who lived in the house with his wife and small child for the first 3 years I owned the house – and there were never any problems) or 911. The landlord did not seem terribly cooperative, but with enough harassment on my end I believe he had some conversations with them.

Today they were blasting music again, so I called the landlord at 8am. He was not available. I went for a run and the music was still blasting when I returned, so I called 911. I was still home when they arrived at the door of our neighbors. As has happened in the 5 other times we called 911, our neighbor got very defensive. Luckily the police man and woman were on our side. In fact, when the neighbor said “we live in row houses and they should expect to hear things” the male police officer responded “I can hear your music from the sidewalk, so it’s definitely too loud.”

Our other 911 calls have been met with mixed reviews. If the neighbors doors and windows are closed, the music isn’t incredibly loud from standing on their front porch (they often use a sub-woofer which just vibrates and resonates through our small house). This got me to thinking about 911 calls and what happens when I call 911. When a unit is summoned to respond, do they get any history to go along with it? Did the police officers responding this morning know that we’ve called 911 in the past for the exact same reason, or is every even isolated (my suspicion).

Other than calling 911 or dealing with the landlord, is there anything else we might be able to do? Is there a community police officer that might be able to speak with us about this?

I have lived in a ton of places and various situations throughout my lifetime, and have never been so frustrated with one of them. For a long time the neighbors not only kept their music or TV on in the living room, but would keep a TV on all night in their bedroom (which shares a wall with ours). In fact, I had my contractor try to install another wall to dampen the sound, but unfortunately I believe the noise travels through the floor, ceiling and even the electrical junction box. Again, I’m not so naive that I think that I won’t ever hear noise from a neighbor I share walls with. However, as I said, I did share walls with the landlord of the building for 3 years when his wife and newborn were there, and never had any complaints.

Any suggestions or recommendations you might have would be greatly appreciated.

I’m at a loss as to how to rectify this situation, other than to move, which currently is not a feasible option.”

Ed. Note I have edited the original email for length. I think neighbor disputes are among the most difficult to deal with. It’s like the rational actor model. If you are not dealing with a rational actor it seems most people in these situations are screwed. It seems to me if you have had (a polite) conversation with your neighbors but they continue to persist in loud activities then you are left no other choice but to call the police. However, I can’t imagine how awkward the encounters would be after involving the police… Anyway, I emailed a number of folks at MPD to see what they suggest. MPD 3rd District Commander Kishter responded and is going to follow up on this particular case. He writes:

“The histories of calls for service are available at the officer’s fingertips from their mobile computers. They can also get an address history from the dispatcher. We also now have the ability to measure noise and can enforce any violations. Additionally, we can reach out to DCRA for regulatory enforcement.”

Has anyone dealt with a similar situation to this before? If so, how did you resolve the situation?

101 Comment

  • Have you thought about moving to Maryland and getting a single family home? Some of tdhe long time neighbors are not understanding.

  • I’m a lawyer but this is NOT legal advice….
    I would send their Landlord a letter VIA CERTIFIED MAIL, explaining the situation in writing, the dates and times you have had to call the police (approximate dates if you dont know the exact date); the dates you called him (the Landlord) to notify him of the nuisance. I would also begin taping the noise. Here is a website with other ideas:

    If you want to get them evicted, you will need to get the landlord involved. You will also need “evidence” if this does go to small claims court. At that point, you can sue both their Landlord and the tenants jointly.

    • This is definitely good advice and one of the first things you should do. Get your side of the story on record. At the very least, it keeps the landlord from being able to claim that he didn’t know about the problem, and make him think that you are willing to keep pushing on this.

  • I wear earplugs whenever I can no longer tolerate the never ending sonic intrusions of city life. I highly recommend this brand:

    Seriously, after you get used to them, you barely notice you’re wearing them (except for the peace and quiet). I even sleep with them most nights — quite soundly I might add. Good luck.

  • Are you really calling 911? That seems wildly inappropriate as loud music is not an EMERGENCY SITUATION!. Seriously, dumb shit like that is the reason my neighbor was put on hold while her house was burning down. Stop it.

  • Please think of the people having heart attacks or dying trying to call 911 when your complaining about a neighbor to the EMERGENCY operator.
    Remember you are not all important.
    Call the non emergency number…. *facepalm

  • @T and @jmg, it has been explained numerous times on this site that 911 in DC is for both emergency and non emergency calls. 311 is only to request services, like trash pick up and the like. This changed almost 2 years ago, and yet I continually come across people who chastise others for calling 911. Here’s the link with explanation:

    Please educate yourselves before criticizing others who are in fact doing the correct thing.

    • Thanks for linking to this. I found the Post article on the switch a few years ago very confusing, so wasn’t sure when to call 911, but the rationale here – not to have residents mistakenly determine their situation to be non-emergency – makes sense to me. I also didn’t know that you could call 311 in order to get smoke detectors installed. Nice!

  • Kalorini

    Ok, *rather* than the 2 people above criticizing your action, call 311 and after explaining the situation, they’ll patch you through to the appropriate people.

    I have used the Rant/Rave to complain about my similarly frustrating situation in Adams Morgan. I share my bedroom wall with some loud disrespectful neighbors. One kind person in the PoP community suggested contacting my local councilperson. Within the hour of emailing Jim G., He had involved his staff and the CEO of my apartment building’s management company.

    So, I’d suggest buy some earplugs (like I have), KEEP calling 311 (not 911) and get your councilperson involved. Good luck with everything–I’m really sorry anyone has to deal with anything similar to my apartment situation. Chin up and keep fighting!

  • I’ve had to call police before because of a noisy party on a Tuesday night keeping us up. I first called 311, and they told me to hang up and call 911. You’re supposed to call 911 for any type of complaint that involves police, so that’s the city’s fault, not these guys.

    Also, I’d recommend to try to be a little more tolerant of noise during the day. If you focus on noise at night when you need to sleep, you might become a more sympathetic figure rather than a nagging neighbor.

  • Horse sh*t! I am NOT paying all of this gd money to listen to your effing music! I WILL call the police!

  • Sue for loss of quiet enjoyment of your premises. Get an injunction. Make it very costly for them to keep it up.

    • I agree that this would be the correct answer, though fairly difficult and potentially fairly costly for you as well…

  • I dealt with an eerily similar situation two years ago. My neighbor in a condo building (I was renting from an owner, the neighbor, sadly, was himself an owner) fancied himself a DJ and made this awful awful bass-heavy house music and play it at floor-shaking volume all hours of the day. I and some other neighbors talked to him repeatedly (he would agree to turn it down and then it would go to ear-splitting volumes again within an hour), we called the police several times, and even had a particular police officer assigned to the case. The police couldn’t fine him unless he was caught in the act multiple times, and, as it often took 45+ minutes for an officer to show up, he had turned the music down by the time an officer showed up.

    I’m sad to say the best solution I found was to move. You have an advantage I didn’t: The asshole neighbors are tenants, not owners. My strategy would be to annoy the piss out of the landlord with complaints and threaten to sue. A right-thinking landlord will just find new tenants (which shouldn’t take too long ’cause I bet the tenants are now month-to-month and can be sent packing with the proper length notice).

    • Generally, in DC, you cannot just ask a tenant to leave/ not renew their lease. You can raise the rent and hope they move(within certain guidelines, unless you are exempt, which this LL might be). Otherwise, you are pretty much stuck on eviction due to breaching the lease.

  • As a general matter, there is nothing worse than a neighbor playing music with loud bass. It vibrates the floor and you can feel it sitting on a couch or laying in bed. If the beat is uptempo, it’s impossible to relax or fall asleep. Earplugs don’t help because you feel the vibrations in your body.

  • In most major cities you are to call 911 for any police action. Noise disputes can easily escalate to confrontations and even violence which is why you are to call the police before it gets to that point. It is their job to help ‘keep the peace’. In fact, many times 311 advises you call 911 rather than confront neighbors directly because people who are being excessively loud are often drunk or high. T, JMG and Kalorini – I highly doubt you called 311 otherwise you would have been told to hang up and call 911.

    Noisy neighbors stink. Involve the police or your landlords. You shouldn’t have to use earplugs to live in your own home, plus sleeping with them is just plain unsafe. Hey, at least in DC, the police will fine for a noise violation. A few of those usually does the trick…

    • Kalorini

      I did call 311 and they patched me through multiple times to the right person. Thanks for the skepticism though!

      • When I called 211, they immediately patch me right through….to 911.

      • I have called 911 on loud parties in the past. When I asked if 911 was the correct number to call for the situation the answer was “absolutely”.

      • That “right person” was the person at 911. I went through a similar situation recently. I started off calling 311 or the local police station directly and they put me through to 911 every time. Even when I called to follow up on a call the next day they put me through to 911.

  • I had noisy neighbors, and CM Graham’s office and DCRA got them to shut the hell up. But there were other problems, so I don’t know if noise alone will get them involved. I second the advice above about harassing the landlord and making it a pain in his ass. Ultimately he’s the only one who can make it stop, by booting the jerks.

  • Lots of good advice here; including some remedies for coping and deafening the noise until the matter is finally resolved.

    Modern day life in the city is not easy as its decline in civility continues.

    We may be urban, but we are sadly no longer urbane.

    Your neighbor seems not much of a neighbor, not courteous, and has a false sense of entitlement. You need to assert your own prevailing entitlement to the quiet enjoyment of your home.

    Government exists to do what citizens cannot do for themselves; consequently, lacking any resolution from police enforcement and elected officials, the best advice may be to keep a log of your plight, seek adjudication, and take the good advice of voice of reason (whom I’m pleased to find myself in rare agreement with):

    “Sue for loss of quiet enjoyment of your premises. Get an injunction. Make it very costly for them to keep it up.”

    Try to get the landlord on your side as well during the process and perhaps help with getting an alternative tenant occupant.

    • It isn’t a lack of civility or the city scape being noisier, it is an epidemic of narcissism. Seriously, shrinks are writing articles about it all of the time.

      Whether it is someone using a lap top for hours in a crowded restaurant or someone playing their stereo at 2 am it is a matter of a particular generation of people never having finished growing up.

      They never realized that there are other people and that their own habits don’t exist in an insulated bubble with endless entitlement.

  • you know what? to the original poster– I’m sorry you have to go through all this.

  • I had to deal with an unpleasant neighbor once. We circulated a petition to the surrounding (and nearby) neighbors and presented that to the landlord. Their lease was not renewed. Also – if they are Section 8 you can contact DCHA. I doubt their voucher would be revoked for noise, but DCHA can set up a mediation meeting between neighbors and tenants, and at least reprimand the tenant.

  • To the original poster:

    Let me tell you what you know in your gut, but haven’t accepted yet. You are going to have to move.

    Your neighbors haven’t and will likely not change.

    I saw a situation like this in Arlington years ago.

    A guy who worked from home starting a consulting business liked to play his stereo in the backyard on work nights.

    The neighbors talked to him, talked to the people he rented the house from and finally started calling the police on him. The police half the time could not care less and half the time were on the neighbors side when he was at his loudest.

    At one point the police actually fined the guy $500.

    I talked with this guy so I knew he had very little, if any income at the time. I knew it HURT. Next week he was back to his old habits.

    The neighbors eventually sold their house and moved to get away from the guy.

    I did too.

    Don’t think of it as a trivial reason to move. The ability to sleep on work nights ( or even think ) means having your best performance at work and feeling your best in your free time.

    Those things are worth the inconvenience of moving.

  • Earplugs do very, very, very little.

    I’ve tried all types since college a million years ago. They only take a slight edge off of the noise. They don’t do much with stereos, especially in close quarters like a row home or an apartment.

  • I do not agree that the original poster should move. Make the lame-ass neighbors uncomfortable until they either learn to live in society, or determine that they should be living in a secluded barn where their thirst for decibels won’t bother anyone else. CALL 911, and immediately say “NON-EMERGENCY POLICE.” It’s a false choice to pit your very real issue against someone’s house burning down. So many extremists. You have a right to some peace and quiet. Make your neighbors move.

  • I just make life equally inconvenient for them. I’ll break thier car windows when no one is watching, drive nails through their tires…i once even did the burning dog shit in a brown bag routine. WHAT A RIOT that was!!!

  • We had some neighbors who played loud music all the time, huge parties, etc. It was so bad that we live a block away and could still hear the music enough to call the police. Then all of a sudden the parties and the music stopped. Shortly after that we found out that one of the “kids” at the house was killed as a result of gang/drug violence… definitely NOT an innocent bystander. Not sure if they are mourning or simply trying to keep a lower profile, but the music has stopped.

  • I agree that the threat of a lawsuit may spring the reluctant landlord into action. It sounds to me like the landlord doesn’t want a headache and is hoping that you’ll stop complaining, so you need to make it more of a headache for him to allow the noisy tenants to remain.
    I’m really sorry you have deal with these idiots — if you rent your place than it might be worth looking into moving (if that landlord made the decision to rent to people who would say “go f- yourselves” to a neighbor, it indicates a lack of good judgement which you may not want to continue dealing with). But if you own or are just determined to stay for some reason, I think you just need to figure out a way to make it so that kicking out the tenants is easier for the landlord to do than keeping them there.

  • i’d suggest quitting whining.

  • I’ve read the first few answers/comments not all of them.

    First of all, you should never have to tolerate this kind of situation. The world is changing and we are increasingly going to have less space in this country, not more, so I don’t think it’s viable anymore to say “Move.” We have absolutely got to learn to get along with each other.

    There’s huge difference between asshole noisy neighbors and nice noisy neighbors, thank God. I had nice ones and talked to them, even offered them solutions. The noise has been reduced some so that’s good. Some noise I know I will have to take, but unnecessary gratuitous noise is another animal.

    The advice about the certified letter is good. Also, you can buy a contraption that measures noise. Learn what the legal limit is and see how the noise your neighbors are generating measures up.

    Earplugs? No way. You should NOT have to wear earplugs.

    And by the way, there is no more 311 so calling 911 is not the same thing as stating there is an emergency in progress (I don’t think). I think you can call and say no this is not an emergency but I’d like for the police to visit my neighbors.

  • I would bluff them and tell them that the last time you talked to the cops they said that they could and would issue a fine now that its been documented that its a persistant problem. And that the fine could exceed 500 dollars. Douch bags are always low on cash so that may scare them. I was also going to say pumping your own base into their house around 6am when you get up might get the point accross. But it sounds like your neighbors are early to rise as well.

  • I have occasionally noisy neighbors. Generally, they are quiet but they throw huge parties every once in awhile (this is in an apartment building Last weekend they were playing loud music all night. I actually tolerated it for a few hours and then called the cops. Cops showed up within 30 seconds and were definitely on my side since you could hear every word of their music from the other side of the hallway. The people having the party turned their music off immediately.

    911 IS the right number to call for this, this was confirmed last weekend by the operator. People on this blog need to stop spreading lies.


  • don’t see an easy solution for this one but you and your neighbors should be phoning that landlord every single time you hear a peep outta yer neighbor, no matter what time of day or night it is. if he isn’t going to do anything about it, at least annoy the living crap out of him.

  • I’ve experienced a similar situation with our neighbors here in NE. We live in a semi-detached rowhouse and our shared-wall neighbors are just about the biggest jerks I know. Harsh language, right? But, my experience with police response has not been the same as some of these postings.

    I won’t spend too much on the fact that 2 summers ago, my noisy neighbor’s friend decided to pay him a visit using a baseball bat on my actual neighbor as a way of “talking” out a misunderstanding. But, that story sets the scene nicely.

    Our neighbors, during all warm weather holidays, set up a sound system you would not believe. The music begins at 2pm or so and is so loud that when I go out on my back deck, I feel like I’m in a club. I have to shout to my guests who are standing beside me on our back deck as we try to prepare and enjoy our own BBQ on these good weather days/holidays. Inside our house, our kitchen walls vibrate and I am unable to hear my own iPod which is in the same room as I am! We’ve repeatedly ask that our neighbors turn down their music as we are trying to enjoy our own outdoor activities just like they are (attempting to reason with them is futile). The volume is turned down a millimeter and then is cranked back up within minutes.

    So, after repeatedly trying to do the upfront thing and ask them to turn down the music, we began calling 911. Yes, 911….the number you are asked to call for this type of situation and we are immediately routed to the right person. BUT….in the course of one particular party this past summer, we called 911 TWO TIMES in a few hours and the cop shared with us that “there are no noise ordinances in DC” and there was nothing he could do other than to kindly ask them to lower the music.


    Why did I get a different story from this police officer? Even if I could get a decibel reading on the noise level, it seems I can’t follow up.

    I refuse to concede to their bad behavior. No earplugs for me. But, when spring and summer come around again and the parties start, I want to be able to take some action. How do I go about finding the owner’s contact info? I’d love some advice.

  • To repeat once again as others have mentioned, call 911. There is more than one dispatcher taking calls.
    Bass will make earplugs useless.
    If the victims are homeowners so they can’t pick up and move as easily as renters if they are underwater in the mortgage and in a downmarket. The cost of moving goes into the thousands, to tens of thousands when factoring sellers costs. So they need to put out about 1/2 of what it would cost them to move into suing or harrassing the landlords and tenants.

  • I too have been assaulted by blaring angry, almost tribal bass thumping “music” by several of my neighbors. I’ve attempted to speak with them about it on several occasions only to provoke bellowing threats and assorted gang signs being flashed into front of me and loved ones. I’m at my wits end. These beasts will not listen to reason.

  • Renters move, owners fight. Think of it purely from an asset preservation perspective, bad neighbors don’t attract good neighbors. Fewer bad neighbors make places more desirable to live, thus more valuable.

    911 is the way to go… make those taxes you pay work for you, send the landlord the letter, contact ANC/Councilman, and then if all else fails get an attorney. What you will pay in sales commission to sell your house would be more costly than the attorney filing the injunction?

  • Do NOT call 911 for non-emergency reasons! It is inexcusable to take up 911 operators’ time with a noise complaint when someone’s life might (literally) be on the line.

    In a case like this, call 311 and tell the operator you have a non-emergency police issue. I have done this and had success when the restaurant across the street from me was doing some noisy ate-night construction. The police stopped by eventually and put a stop to it.

    • As has been said many times in the comments, 911 IS the appropriate number to call. The police aren’t stupid – if they get a call for a noise complaint then one for a fire or a shooting, they will deal with the more important one first. Calling 311 will get you transferred to 911.

  • The levelheaded response is to keep a journal of all the times you hear the noise and all the times you call the cops. This is legal evidence admissible in court. every interaction with the neighbor and LL gets a date and time stamp. Then you sue them both. I would actually threaten to sue the LL first and make it his problem. Any lawyers know whether you can withhold rent in this case? Anyway, I’d make the landlord miserable until he dealt with the situation.

    The non level headed response is to bust his car windows…who ever mentioned that earlier, I like it.

  • Can you hack with their main power supply, without disturbing yours? I would definitely try that route. No electricity, no music…

  • I too have encountered this tropical drum music that some refer to as “Go-Go” and it disturbs me and sends me into a frightened stupor. I think these inner city ghetto blasters need to have more respect for the hard working tax payers of this city, as it is our money that paves the streets that they seek to terrorize with subwoofers.

  • Anon 954 – you are misinformed, Fenty implemented 911 for all incidents which require police, fire, or ems.

    The neighbors life is on the line (literally), the caller is preventing him/herself from taking matters into their own hands. This is how modern society works, the police are the initial arbitrators.

  • I say plan a nice long weekend with your significant other and just before you leave, place a nice loud alarm clock right next to the wall, and have it go off 30 minutes after your departure. Make sure it’s the type that sounds like a nuclear reactor warning system.
    I’m sure 3 days of this non-stop noise will help them get the point.

  • My advice: retaliate. It’s simple game theory: tit-for-tat. But a subwoofer place it against the wall when they are asleep and blast something that you find pleasant but they are sure to find annoying. I had this problem once – neighbor blasted (and sang along to) rap music all day. I placed a subwoofer on a shelf right along his wall and pointed all the speakers right at the wall and blasted the same Pearl Jam song for hours on end. I enjoyed the music while I cleaned my entire apartment and he got the point. (Even if it doesn’t work – you’ll still have peace of mind b/c you got the bastards back.)

  • The Fact remains, your taking time away from real emergencies. subsidized number or not

    • Actually, no. The fact does not remain. The bottom line is that 911 is the number to call for all situations that require police, fire and ems response – regardless if that is an emergency response or non emergency. This is the way the city has set up the system, and have coordinated the call centers accordingly.

  • I’m pleasantly surprised that this conversation has been so civil. When reading the letter and the amount of comments I just assumed it would be another classic case of people A) Criticizing the writer for complaining about something other than murders or taking the law into their own hands, B) Complaining about POP using his blog space for something that doesn’t interest them or C) immediately jumping into an epic debate on race and class.

    Hopefully this is the start of a trend but methinks it is more likely that no one likes jerk neighbors that make too much noise and we all agree they should be banished from our immediate presence.

    • Meant to say Criticizing the writer for…NOT taking the law into their own hands.

    • Kalorini

      I was also thinking that same thing, when I saw 60+ comments now. I thought, oh no, race/class debate, and criticizing the original email writer.

      Bravo to everyone for not attacking the writer and PoP!

  • In a law abiding jurisdiction the law would firmly be on your side, but in DC its more of a crapshoot. It depends on what ward you live in, who your councilmember is, who your police commander is, and the color of your skin and your neighbors skin. In Ward 4, with Bowser you’re screwed on these issues as she and her staff are too incompetent to follow up on anything, much less a delicate issue like this. Police would generally sneer at you for wasting their time. But in other wards you might have better luck. So, start with your councilmember and your police commander for your district and you’ll figure out pretty quickly whether you will get any help from them. If not, in a practical sense you have no choice but to move, unless you want to set aside your lifes plans and start waging a guerrilla war against your neighbor, who probably has a lot more free time than you do. Good luck, and sorry DC is the way it is! The city basically has a unique interpretation of individual rights, which allow some people to prey on everyone else.

  • Oh, and definitely write that certified letter to the landlord, but without law enforcement to back you up that won’t help much. The landlord knows that you have little ability to hurt them, especially in that absence of governance.

  • From DC govt 911 website below. If you want onsite response from the police you dial 911.

    What is 911?

    911 is the public’s lifeline for emergency police, fire, and medical services in the District of Columbia. 911 number is designed for contacting the Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC) and the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS) in all situations requiring an onsite response by MPDC or FEMS.

  • also

    For city services and police matters that do not require police to respond to a location, call 311.,a,1237,q,547620,mpdcNav_GID,1554.asp

  • also

    For city services and police matters that do not require police to respond to a location, call 311.,a,1237,q,547620,mpdcNav_GID,1554.asp

  • 912 is the real number.

  • This requires police to respond, so you’re right, 311 is not the right option.

  • Keep records, and… may I recommend: Judge Hatchett, Judge Mathis, Judge Alex or Judge Judy?

    Think of how much fun it would be! And free! And you could sue them for quiet enjoyment. That’d make ’em leave.

  • I am firmly in the self-help camp. I had a similar situation when I was in law school. An upstairs neighbor would turn on loud music at all hours. Whenever he did this, I turned on loud music of my own. He always got the message and turned his music down.
    For the folks who can’t enjoy their backyard in the spring or summer: The next holiday rent a P/A system and set it up in your backyard. When your neighbor starts blasting their rap music, start blasting some country music. I’d suggest some old school stuff – none of this nouveau “I wear a cowboy hat and sing with an accent and that makes me a country singer” crap. There is some pretty deep bass in those tunes. I guarantee your neighbors will come around in short order.

    • I don’t know….I’ve had this backfire on me with my own loud and irrational neighbhor problem. I blasted my music and they just turned theirs up louder! It turned into a game of chicken to see who would give up first. As I was a renter and the police and landlord were unable/unwilling to fix the problem, I ended up moving. I know, it sucks to let him win, but the game stopped being fun and I just wanted to live in peace!

  • I really don’t like this older/newer comments division going on, it prevents issues from really gathering steam and turning into a brawl.

  • If you’re considering retaliation, it’s probably best to consider the reality that with bona fides in the realm of incivilty as established as these neighbors’, your willingness to out-escalate them is probably a lot lower than theirs. Slash one of their tires, watch all four of yours go down. So call the landlord, call the cops, and document/record everything that goes on. Then be prepared to go to court when nothing happens.

    But I’m totally sympathetic. You shouldn’t have to wear earplugs in your own home. This is like the kids on the Metro who crank their cellphone mp3 players or just blast music through their headphones, only your neighbors aren’t getting off in two stops.

  • Prince- props for editing the reader letter! There is a chance that posting the entire thing might have caused the thread to degenerate into a “blame the writer” flame chain like the recent Tynan-related post. In the future, it might be a good idea to take long reader letters and edit them in the actual thread post, while including a link to the full text of the letter at a seperate site, so voyeurs can “read the entire story,” and people that get bored/and or angry at long narratives dont have to deal with the full post.

    For those that advocate retaliation in this case, please remember that the letter writer is the owner of their house (right?). A homeowner getting into a retaliation cycle with a renter is generally a losing proposition- since they have no lasting stake in their propety and you do. DC laws also are very supportive of tenants rights, which can be great in some cases, but horrible when you have to deal with bad actors, as in this case.

    I am surprised and happy that Councilperson Graham gets involved in these disputes though.

  • Am I the only one who thinks calling 911 for a noise problem is ridiculous?!?!? What a waste of police resources! How is this an actual emergency? I know the dispatchers will prioritize the call accordingly (at least I would hope they would) but still. At least use the non-emergency number to call this in.

    • Sigh. I direct you to any number of the previous 83 comments that explain that 911 is the number for police response in DC for both emergency and non-emergency situations, including calls to report noise.

      For the third (or possibly fourth) time in this thread, here is the link with the explanation:

      Here’s the link with explanation:

    • Can people. (Like this one above) Please read over all the comments before repeating comments that have already been proven incorrect.
      Aggie-911 IS the correct number to call. Calling 311 will only direct you too….. 911! And yes you are correct. The calls are prioritized. Which is why it takes over an hour for police to respond to noise complaints.

    • No. You’re also not the only one who doesn’t read the entire thread before commenting, more’s the pity.

  • It’s unusual that an owner of a property would lack in concern for his one-time neighbor or to know that a good relationship is souring because of a new, disrespectful tenant. (Neighbors are good eyes and ears for absent owners to know if their property is being taken care of.) Without their support doing anything lacks teeth. I’d revisit the neighboring owner and working with him to press the tenants to control their liveliness. There are many ways available to do that.

    Or, perhaps, we are getting only the perspective of an overly-sensitive, socially-awkward individual who doesn’t know how to communicate with his current neighbors, his former neighbors and finds only one way to solve his issues.

    • Vibe, maybe your new to town, but DC is full of dicks who love tormenting other people, and full of dick landlords who could care less what impact their properties have on a community. More accurately, the world is full of dicks which in many areas see their influence limited by governance and law enforcement, which is spotty at best in DC. Any open air drug market, of which there are many in DC, proves this.

  • When you call the 311 non-emergency number, they patch you into 911 anyway. Mayor Fenty told me himself (I was in the audience at a community meeting) to call 911 directly for everything.

    Plus, it seems like the poster tried lots of other avenues before involving the police, including trying to reason with these jerks.

  • Are there neighbors on the other side of the noisy house? Can you enlist their aid, get them to call the landlord and police? Complaints from more than one source would be helpful.

  • two words: sonic weapons. Sends focused ultrasonic sounds through walls and causes severe discomfort as well as other…unpleasant effects.

  • I “resolved” my noisy-jerk-neighbor issue by moving away.

    It was partly a jerkiness issue and partly a structural issue. The landlords had done a renovation that left “beautiful” exposed brick and removed all the soundproofing.

    After many discussions with the domestic-fighting, party-all-night renters, and useless-to-help landlord, we moved. We lasted 8 months.

  • I say go with the sonic gun. What is the likelyhood of physical or gun violence?

  • I’m all for transparency. It solves many social ills at less cost than other options (think the ease of releasing names of Johns caught soliciting prostitution, vs. the expense of prosecuting them.) To the writer of this letter, Publish the address and (if you have them) the names of these neighbors. The rest will take care of it may take care of itself ((as long as you’re not making any of your account up, in which case they could sue you for slander.)

  • We were once blamed to be the “loud neighbors” in a row house in DC. Well, I guess watching a movie on normal volume is now too loud, so the upstairs neighbor wrote us a letter and copied the land lords on it (who also lived in the house, just 2 floors down). The landlords and we laughed at the stupid lady who wrote the letter, because she was just ridiculous. Maybe the reason why the landlord in this situation is not doing anything is because s/he does not want this complaining tenant living there anymore and calling the cops every other day. I definitely wouldn’t care if that person was upset if I were the landlord. Sounds like this person is just sad and old and they need to move on with their life, either by not giving a crap about this (c’mon, 8am on a weekday is bad to play music? why isn’t s/he at work in the first place?) or move to a different place. Also, there are regulations about what time people can be loud, and in the Laurel area, for example, it is from 7am (!!!) to 11pm, so in that time you can not complain about the noise. I doubt DC does not have similar rules. That person needs to find out what the hours are and stop whining.

  • I have a different sort of issue. There is a night club in my neighborhood and due to lack of parking, the patrons park on my street (a fully residential street off a major DC “state avenue”). This club has an afterhours license so they frequently stay open until 4:00 AM on weekends. Just about every Sat or Sun morning at 4:00 AM or 5:00 AM, I am jarred awake by loud (probably intoxicated) people getting into their cars, turning on their music in the cars, and generally being disrespectful of the residential neighborhood. Several times, I’ve called 311, which did forward me on to 911. But since the patrons are always different there’s not a whole lot the police can do, except dispurse them; the club remains the problem.

    I have complained to DCRA as well as to the Alcohol board (ABRA), but there’s not much they can do. I’m trying to get neighbor support to get our ANC to have their alcohol license reduced to a regular non-afterhours license (effectively ending alcohol service at 2:00 AM). I guess 2:00 AM is better than 4:00 – 5:00 AM.

    Really like the idea of a sonic gun…

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