When constructing any type of building in Los Angeles, it’s important to understand that a noise ordinance is in place throughout the city. Noise ordinances are specific laws that are designed to limit noise levels at various times of the day within different areas of the city. Noise limits will differ between residential areas, commercial areas, and industrial areas. The reason why noise ordinances are becoming increasingly common is because areas that are zoned for different uses are moving closer to one another, which means that the noise from an industrial plant could be heard in a residential neighborhood.
Whether the noise is being caused by a neighbor or the machinery from an industrial site, noise can be a huge concern for residential communities that are trying to maintain their market value. If noise becomes a lasting issue, the market value for the area could drop significantly. The amount of noise that’s allowed when a noise ordinance is in place is usually higher during the day and lower at night. When looking specifically at the Los Angeles noise ordinance, loud noises should be kept to a minimum between 9PM and 7AM. If you’re set to begin construction, understanding more about Los Angeles noise ordinance guidelines should help you avoid the penalties that comes with violating these guidelines. This article provides a detailed look at the noise ordinance in Los Angeles.
- Noise ordinances are in place because areas that are zoned for different uses are becoming closer together.
- The Los Angeles noise ordinance is between the hours of 7am-9pm.
- There are many different guidelines regarding noise for different projects such as construction. To avoid any fines check these out the guidelines we discuss below or call your local police department!
How is Excessive Noise Determined?
To understand what the Los Angeles noise ordinance means, it’s important to first look at how excessive noise is determined. In order for law enforcement to get involved when they receive a complaint about noise, there are several things that need to occur. For one, the issue will need to have taken place at a certain time of the day. Most noise ordinance guidelines state that excessive noise shouldn’t occur between 9PM and 7AM. However, it’s important to understand that the guidelines for excessive noise are only stricter during these times. Outside of the 9PM-7AM window, excessive noise can still occur if the decibel levels of noise become too high.
The type of noise will also dictate whether a violation occurs under the noise ordinance guidelines. If the noise levels surrounding a condo, business, duplex, or apartment house are around five decibels higher than the ambient noise levels, it’s likely that a violation of the noise ordinance has occurred, which may bring about penalties for any entity that causes the heightened noise levels. Keep in mind that five decibels is relatively low, which means that any loud noise you hear from your home or apartment complex would likely be in violation of the ordinance. Additional guidelines depend on the type of sound that’s being made.
Some of the more common types of noises that can occur during the strict hours of 9PM-7AM include:
- Cars – Noises from cars typically occur for just a few seconds before the car moves along and the sound fades into the distance. However, it’s possible for the alarm on a vehicle to be set off at night, which will stay on until the owner shuts it off. If this sound occurs for a lengthy period of time without stopping, law enforcement may need to be contacted.
- Garbage trucks – In the event that your trash is kept at a distance of 200 feet or less from your home, garbage trucks are only allowed to pick up this trash during the hours of 6AM-9AM. If your trash if picked up at different hours, the police department should be called to report the issue.
- Barking dogs – Barking dogs can be a significant problem at any time of the day. While the noise can be frustrating during the day, it can keep you up at night. If dogs nearby your home are barking at a rapid rate, it may be time to file a noise complaint, which can be done through the local animal control.
- Loud parties and music – Loud parties and music are common problems in Los Angeles that tend to go past 9PM, which means that the noise produced by these parties may be loud enough for a violation to be issued. If the noise is causing a disturbance in the area, law enforcement should be contacted. The enforcement of noise ordinance violations pertaining to parties and loud music is handled by the Los Angeles Police Department.
- Construction equipment – When completing a development project of any kind, acceptable noise levels are relatively high as long as construction occurs within allowable hours from 7AM-7PM.
While it’s generally fine for these noises to occur during the daytime at reasonable levels, they are practically forbidden to occur at night, which means that any loud noises pertaining to the use of construction equipment or a loud party could result in a violation being made.
How to File a Noise Complaint in Los Angeles
Filing a noise complaint in Los Angeles is easy and should only take a small amount of your time to complete. Before you get in touch with law enforcement, take a breath and think about the situation at hand. If your neighbor is the source of the noise, consider talking to them and requesting that they take steps to lower the noise that they’re currently producing. If this option doesn’t deliver results, your next step involves contacting the non-emergency line in order to make a report pertaining to your noise complaint. The number to call is 877-ASK-LAPD.
When you have made this phone call, a police officer will come to your home and tell the offender that they are currently in violation of Los Angeles noise ordinance guidelines. At this point, they will seek compliance with the offender to reduce or stop the noise altogether. In the event that the offender doesn’t comply, the officer could fill out a crime report or even attempt to arrest the individual in question.
If a corporate entity is the source of the noise, the police officer will create a complaint application. Even though an online form can be filled out on the Los Angeles Police Department website for individuals who wish to file a noise complaint, the best way to reach the LAPD is by calling the non-emergency line. This allows for a quicker response time by the officer, which means that the complaint could be addressed while the incident is ongoing.
Even with the involvement of law enforcement, there are situations where the noise won’t dissipate. It’s important to understand that the Los Angeles Police Department has a special Noise Enforcement Team that is trained for aggressive enforcement of noise ordinance guidelines. This team won’t become involved in a situation after the first complaint is made. If the noise continues at a decibel that’s higher than allowed in the area, the noise enforcement team will drive out to your area with modern equipment that’s able to effectively monitor noise levels. When you have questions about noise ordinance guidelines and when you should call the police, you can reach the Noise Enforcement Team at 213-996-1250.
If the situation that you’re involved in can be resolved without contacting the police, you should attempt to do so. When the police are called, there’s always a chance that the situation could get out of hand, which could be problematic if the person you’re filing the complaint against is your neighbor. However, refusal from your neighbor or another entity to reduce the noise means that you shouldn’t hesitate to file a noise complaint with the police department.
Permitted Construction/Demolition Hours in Los Angeles
When you want to begin a construction project of any kind, it’s very important that you understand what the construction and demolition hours should be. These hours are very specific. If you happen to violate the noise ordinance guidelines in regards to acceptable construction hours, you would likely be required to pay substantial fees for the violation. When it comes to construction work in Los Angeles, the operation of equipment or tools that are used for construction, demolition, alteration, or repair work is prohibited between the hours of 7PM and 7AM. It’s also important to note that construction work isn’t allowed at all on Sundays and holidays.
If you operate any construction equipment or tools during the restricted hours, fees could be levied. For the initial violation, a notice of violation will be provided to you, which specifies how long you have to reduce noise levels and comply with noise ordinance guidelines in Los Angeles. If you correct these problems immediately after you receive the violation notice, no further action will be taken.
In the event that you continue to perform construction work during non-permitted hours, it’s possible that you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could be imprisoned for six months or less. The more likely penalty is that you will receive fines of up to $500. Keep in mind that each day you violate the guidelines is considered to be an entirely separate violation, which means that fines can add up quickly.
Noise ordinance guidelines are essential for making sure that the noise levels throughout the city never become too disruptive to residents who live and work in the area. While the approved noise levels can differ depending on the source of the noise, violating these guidelines can come with some hefty fines, which is why it’s important to adhere to these guidelines as much as possible. When you want to read more about the noise ordinance guidelines in Los Angeles, you can do so at this link.
Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate
With over 15 years of professional experience in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, Jason Somers has the background, judgement and track record to provide an unparalleled level of real estate services. His widespread knowledge helps clients identify and acquire income producing properties and value-ad development opportunities.