So the neighbour called the cops on me

anson89

Senior Member
Yup. He called the cops on me. In fact, today is the second time.

When I first moved in, I played till 6.30pm ish. He came over the first time and complained, so we agreed to 5.30pm. Fast forward a year and half later, he called the cops on me and he basically told the cops that I had to stop by 5pm. Fine, I stop by 5pm.

2 weeks, later he called the cops on me again and tells me that I only can play between 11am to 12pm or when I DON'T see his car around or when he is in a good mood. WOW..............
First off, I go to college everyday from 9am to 4.30pm. When I get home, I only get to practice for an hour and it's all for church playing. I don't even play 7 days of the week, probably only 3 or 4.
My drumming life can't revolve around this guy's MOOD or his retarded CAR or when his garage door is closed. I might as well play at 10pm if his garage door is closed!

To add to that, he even complained to the HOA that I had 4 cars on my driveway and that I was detailing. I later told the HOA that these are my cars, can't I even wash my own cars on my own PAID property!

I mean seriously, I don't play drums till 12am or dinner time, I stop at a reasonable time. This guy owns a company and he comes back whenever he wants and whenever he feels like it. The cop told me that he has the right to complain because the city rules states that if there is noise bothering your neighbor, it's a ticket.

I'm in the process of drafting a letter and drop it in my neighbors mailbox. Do you guys want to proof read it for me? This guy is probably racist, cause I'm Asian.
 

fixxxer

Senior Member
Man, that's a bummer. Have you thought about using a practice pad or e-kit? It doesn't sound as if your neighbor is going to be reasonable about this situation if he is as fickle as you describe. Maybe a letter would just give him some undeserved gratification?
I think I would find a way that you could practice without having to get his "permission".
 

bromasi

Senior Member
i would not drop any letters to him he could use it against you, I would get some legal help, your college could help finding some free legal advice, hang in there
 

Brundlefly

Senior Member
I would advise against dropping a letter in his mailbox. First, he may turn you in for tampering with the mails, which is a federal offense. Second, any printed words can be used as evidence against you if some legal matter were to occur further down the road. Better not to open that door.

You may consider asking him over/out for a meal or something of that sort, where you can get some focus time from him and get him to see you more as a person rather than a nuisance.

Lastly, you might want to consider some kind of sound proofing effort. Even a modest one would go some distance towards reducing the problem and showing that you have some consideration for this circumstance.
 

diosdude

Silver Member
Get familiar with the laws and codes in your neighborhood. Specifically the local noise ordinances in your county. There are laws in place in every municipality that set guidelines for our civil liberties. For example, in Broward county, Fl the noise ordinance only is enforceable between the hours of 7pm to 6:30am. During that time, noise needed to be quelled to a certain level. Before citations are issued, noise must be measured from officers using a decibel meter at the point of the complaint. Things like lawnmowers, power tools, car engines all make considerable amount of noise. You cannot discriminate against a certain type of noise, only the volume as laid out by ordinances. It is not your neighbor's choice or decision when you can or cannot play at a certain volume.

Also print out a copy of your local ordinance and tape it to your practice room. With the law on your side, it is much easier to deal with cops, who a lot of times don't even know the law. When you have the ability to point to a piece of paper with the ordinance printed out, you can claim that you are well within the confines of the law and the burden of proof then becomes the neighbor and the investigating officer. Again, if you see the cops are in the area, just stop playing and there is basically nothing that they can do.
 

RollingStone000

Silver Member
I've got a friend who's got pretty much the same issue with his neighbor right next door. He's had the cops called a few times since he first got his kit about 6 months ago. The worst part is aside from his kit, he's also dropped about a grand into his garage to try reduce the escaping sounds to no avail.

My best suggestion would be go around to your other neighbors (anyone within earshot) and get their input on what time would be the most ideal to play (it may take some time going back and forth). Document it in some way, get their signature/s possibly, and as far as your neighbor the decibel Nazi, to hell with him. If he's in the minority I really don't see how the cops can do anything after that, especially if you've got an established consensus with the rest of your neighbors.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Most cities have noise ordinances, and while what's "too loud" is somewhat subjective, as long as one person says someone else is making noise, the authorities will normally defer to the one making the complaint.

In this situation where you and the neighbor have set some terms, he should adhere to them. That is, the police should understand that a compromise has been made, and that if the neighbor keeps changing the rules on you, there's only so much they - or you - can do to satisfy him.

On the other hand, volume is volume, and the time of day has nothing to do with excessive noise. Exactly how loud are you playing? Do you have music playing as well and is it blaring? Do you have windows open where the sound might carry? Have any other neighbors complained?

Whether the neighbor is bigoted or not shouldn't make a difference in terms of how the complaint is handled. Even if responding officers are bigoted as well, they have to be very careful to be fair. I don't think playing the race card here is going to help you.

I would make an effort to control the volume, and perhaps consult with the police and determine what they feel is an acceptable level when standing outside of your house. The neighbor can make all the complaints he wants, but there's also a point where the police will have to tell him that your noise level isn't excessive, and to please stop calling them unless it gets out of hand.

When compromises are required, they should be equal. Neither of you should have to give or take disproportionate to the other. So while you've agreed to practice within certain hours, that doesn't mean you can compensate by making excessive noise when you do.

Overall, your best approach is to be a cooperative neighbor, rather than an insistent drummer.

Good luck,

Bermuda
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I looked for the ordinance here in Pinellas Couinty Florida and the key word here is nuisance. There is no time limit which means that at 4 in the afternoon if you are being a nuicance you can be stopped. Make sure of your locale because the police don't always no the letter of the law and just because the neighbor complains is not an automatic ticket. If it is then he get one for bothering me every time he slams his car door or his front door. The letter will be used against you so just find the law and stick to it. You may also mention to the police that he at one time gave you a time frame and you stuck to it and he is just being an ass.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Here is the sugar land noise ordinance:

Sec. 3-101. Noise regulations. (a) Definitions. In this section:

Dwelling has the meaning as defined by the Development Code.

Outdoor playground means an area that is not entirely enclosed within a building that contains play equipment for younger children, such as slides, swings, climbing bars, chutes, tunnels, or similar recreational equipment.

Public facility means any park, playground, stadium, entertainment arena, athletic facility, Town Square Plaza, or other real property, other than a public street, highway or right-of-way, which is owned by a city, county, public school, or other governmental entity.

Public service utility means an entity that provides water, wastewater, electric, telephone, telecommunications, or natural gas service to customers from facilities located within a public right-of-way.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to intentionally or knowingly make or create any noise of such volume, intensity, or duration as to disturb or annoy a reasonable person of normal sensitivity in the usual and expected enjoyment or the use of a dwelling. In determining whether a violation of this paragraph occurs, the following may be considered:

(1) The level, frequency, or duration of the noise;

(2) The proximity of the noise to the dwelling;

(3) The nature and zoning of the area within which the noise occurs; and

(4) The time of the day or night the noise occurs.

(c) The operation of any radio, speaker, musical instrument, sound amplifier, or other device used for producing or reproducing sound for entertainment purposes so as to be plainly audible within a dwelling, other than the dwelling where the sound-producing device is located, is prima facie evidence of a violation of paragraph (a).

(d) Any radio, speaker, musical instrument, sound amplifier or other device used for producing or reproducing sound for entertainment purposes that is located within or upon a motor vehicle and is operated at a volume that is plainly audible at a distance of more than 50 feet from the vehicle is prima facie evidence of a violation of paragraph (b). It is presumed that the registered owner of the motor vehicle from which the sound is produced in violation of the paragraph is the person who committed the violation.

(e) It is unlawful for any person operating a business that operates an outdoor playground as an accessory use if the playground is located within 500 feet of a dwelling, to intentionally or knowingly allow any person to make use of the playground between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. of the following day.

(f) Exceptions to violations.

(1) It is a defense to prosecution under paragraph (b) of this section that the noise was caused by an employee, contractor, or agent of any city, county, public school, or other governmental entity or of a public service utility in the performance of his or her duties.

(2) It is a defense to prosecution under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section that the noise or sound was created by persons lawfully using a public facility.

(3) It is a defense to prosecutions under paragraph (b), (c) or (d) of this section that the noise was caused by persons participating in a parade conducted on a public street pursuant to a parade permit.


Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/houston/658157-sound-ordinance-sugar-land.html#ixzz0hKgGPRex
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
that's a pretty bad situation. are all the windows in your house closed when you practice? at my house with all the windows closed, you can hear the drums outside, but they are definitely not loud. they're nowhere near as loud as a lawn mower, for example. with the windows open, however, you can hear them a block away.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Well, the law is clearly on the guys side. If he can hear you inside his house, you are playing too loudly for it to be legal. Time to start practicing playing with some finess. Or get an e-kit or SoundOFF pads. It sucks, but it's the law.
 

Munchdrum

Member
Whenever i've moved i've had the problem of plenty of close neighbours and found that just by simply giving up some of your time, so that they see you as a person and get to know you, helps a great deal. I imagine letters would only wind him up further. On the other hand if he is completely unreasonable, then legal advice may be necessary.
Good Luck
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I would advise against dropping a letter in his mailbox. First, he may turn you in for tampering with the mails, which is a federal offense. Second, any printed words can be used as evidence against you if some legal matter were to occur further down the road. Better not to open that door.
.
This. No need to make it worse. Such a letter will just give him the upper hand.

Work on some noise reduction. Move the kit to a different room. Rent a practice space.
 

Sopranos

Senior Member
The neighbor will win every time on this issue.... he has the right to a peaceful dwelling (meaning he has the right to read a book any time of day and if your noise interferes with that...). As others have stated, its best to call an officer out to gauge/measure your noise level to see if you are indeed a nuisance. If they feel you are not a nuisance within certain timeframes then they will start to disregard the neighbors complaints.

Other means to consider:

- Rent a practice space (you can place a free ad to see if other musicians will share the cost with you).

- Use soundoff drum mutes on the acoustics.

- Use Hot Rod sticks instead of standard sticks. I love Hot Rods and they will dampen the sound quite a bit. Obviously you wont have that phenomenal singing tone but its better than nothing I guess.

- Sell the acoustics and look for a good electric set (nice Roland will surprise you) while you are living in your current situation. If you find a good used set I guarantee it will hold almost all (if not all) its value when you go to sell it.

While I was considering some acoustical treatment to your room as an option, I realized there is not enough you can do that will please your neighbor. Therefore, I would not waste the amount of money it will take just to find that your neighbor still has an issue. That money would be better spent on an electric kit. I used acoustic treatment and Auralex foam and bass traps but that was to control the acoustics (ringing and echoing) within the room... NOT to soundproof in any way.

Good luck!
 

diosdude

Silver Member
yes the neighbor will win if he is unreasonable, but guess what? If he's out mowing his lawn while you're trying to sleep he is violating the same ordinance. Are you going to be unreasonable in retaliation? The law works for everyone.
 

Skulmoski

Gold Member
I had a very similar relationship with a neighbor that I resolved. He objected to me playing drums (and the occasional drum circle!) I tried to negotiate a day and time I could drum but he would not agree to this. He even said that if he was not at home, I could not drum! He was unreasonable. He was also a devout Muslim who recently performed the Hajj. I looked up "patience" in one of their holy books (Hadith) and here is what I found:

Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him".

I wrote him a letter apologizing to him and that I will try to be more patient. I included the above passage. I think he found it compelling that a non-Muslim was acting more in accordance to his faith than he was. Checkmate! The next day he (through an intermediary) said I could play anytime up until 9 pm. It has been about 8 months and he has been patient!

GJS
 
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