What can I do in order to win my court case with my landlord about noise complaints?

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2012

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What can I do in order to win my court case with my landlord about noise complaints?

This morning I got handed a subpoena by the maintenance man at my apartment, saying I needed to appear in court next week for breaking the lease agreement for excessive noise. Apparently, our neighbors have been calling and complaining about the noise. There was one incident where the police did show up to our apartment, but told us “to keep doing what we were doing.” and everything is fine. I just want to know if there is a way that I can win this case without being evicted.

Asked on April 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, if the issue is alleged lease violations, than you most likely need to be provided first with a "notice to cease," or an official warning to stop doing what you were doing, before an eviction action could be initiated against you. If you did not receive one, it may be that you could get the case dismissed for failure to first provide you proper notice. So bring any docmentation relating to notices you received--or did not receive--from the landlord and be prepared to bring up that issue.

Second, if the lease does not contain some provision relating to excessive noice or disturbing the right to peaceful enjoyment of other tenants, there may be no grounds to evict you for noise unless it was truly excessive. (Even without a lease provision in this regard, there are levels of disturbance which would justify eviction under the general law relating to other tenant's right to quiet enjoyment). So analyze your lease and see what your obligations truly were.

Third, as a general matter, the mere fact that someone else complained does not make what you were doing wrongful--it must have have too loud or disturbing by the standards of the average reasonable person. If your neighbors are hypersenstive about noise, that is their problem, not yours. So be prepared with testimony (yours and other witnesses--possibly those police officers you mention) about the true extent or level of noise.

And the single best thing you could do to help yourself--get a lawyer. With your home/residence at stake, you want a professional's help. If you can't afford an attorney, try contacting Legal Services.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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