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What remedies do people have in Las Vegas when neighbors play music too loud?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

Las Vegas residents whose neighbors play their music too loud can take various non-legal, criminal, or civil courses of action, discussed below. In any event, residents should compile evidence of the noisy music, such as:

  • video and audio recordings of the music playing;
  • contact information of other neighbors willing to testify as witnesses to the noise pollution; and/or
  • a log of all the times the resident tried to reason with the neighbor to quiet down

No matter what route the resident takes, this evidence may be vital in proving that the neighbors are committing noise pollution.

1. Non-legal remedies

In most cases, Las Vegas residents can simply ask their neighbors to turn down the music. The neighbors may be genuinely unaware that they are causing noise pollution.

If the neighborhood is an HOA community, Las Vegas residents can also report the noisy neighbors to the HOA. Then a member of the HOA board could reach out to the neighbors and remind them to quiet down. The HOA can even threaten the neighbors with fines if they do not comply. In Nevada, homeowners risk losing their home if they do not pay their HOA dues.

If the noisy neighbors are leasing the property, the resident can always ask the neighbors' landlord or property manager to reason with them. Tenants may take noise complaints more seriously if they hear it from their property owner than from a neighbor.

2. Criminal remedies

When a neighbor's music is too loud, a resident can call the Las Vegas non-emergency police line: 311. Then a police officer would be dispatched to deal with the neighbors. Often police will give them only a warning at first in the hopes that the neighbors will willingly turn down the volume (a "voluntary abatement").

Alternatively, the resident can file a "code enforcement complaint" with the Clark County Public Response Office (PRO). The resident can make the complaint either by calling (702) 455-4191 or filing online. A PRO official would then investigate the matter and warn the neighbor to quiet down.

If the music is coming from a short-term rental house, the city of Las Vegas has a dedicated hotline that residents can call: (702) 229-3500.

If the situation becomes untenable, residents can also consider filing a police report with the LVMPD against the noisy neighbors for either:

  1. breaching the peace under NRS 203.010,
  2. nuisance under NRS 202.450,
  3. noise pollution under Las Vegas Municipal Code 9.16.050, and/or
  4. noise pollution from portable audio equipment under Clark County Code 12.40.030

Metro would then investigate the report and determine whether to bring charges against the neighbor. If the police press charges for either breach of peace or criminal nuisance, the neighbors would face the following misdemeanor penalties:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

If the police press charges for noise pollution, the neighbor could also be prosecuted for a misdemeanor. The penalty carries no jail, but the fines increase which each successive citation:

  1. $50 for a first offense;
  2. $100 for a second offense;
  3. $250 for all successive offenses

3. Civil remedies

Las Vegas residents also have the option of suing their noisy neighbors in civil court for either of the following causes of action:

  1. negligence;
  2. nuisance;
  3. intrusion upon the seclusion of another; and/or
  4. intentional infliction of emotional distress

As plaintiffs, residents have the burden to prove a cause of action "by the preponderance of the evidence." This means that is more likely than not that the noisy neighbors (defendants) committed the wrongdoing.

Plaintiffs can sue for monetary damages and/or "injunctive relief." An injunction is a court order for the defendant to do something, such as to stop playing music too loud.

Most lawsuits settle out of court; often the parties can come to an agreement through negotiation or a formal mediation.

3.1 Negligence

In order to prevail in a Nevada negligence claim for playing music too loud, the resident would need to prove that:

  1. the neighbor owed the resident a duty;
  2. the neighbor breached that duty by playing music too loud;
  3. the breach caused the neighbor's injuries;
  4. the resident suffered damages

3.2. Nuisance

In order to prevail in a Nevada nuisance claim for playing music too loud, the resident would need to prove that:

  1. the neighbor engaged in unreasonable, unwarrantable, or unlawful use of his/her own property by playing the music too loud;
  2. the loud music caused a sustainable/unreasonable interference of the resident's enjoyment; and
  3. the loud music interfered with the resident's enjoyment of his/her own property

3.3. Intrusion upon the seclusion of another

In order to prevail in a Nevada intrusion claim for playing music too loud, the resident would need to prove that:

  1. the neighbor committed an intentional intrusion by playing the music too loud;
  2. the loud music intruded on the solitude or seclusion of the resident;
  3. any reasonable person would find the loud music highly offensive; and
  4. the loud music caused the resident damages

3.4. Intentional infliction of emotional distress

In order to prevail in a Nevada emotional distress claim for playing music too loud, the resident would need to prove that:

  1. by playing the music too loud, the neighbor acted with “extreme and outrageous conduct with either the intention of, or reckless disregard for, causing emotional distress”;
  2. the resident suffered severe or extreme emotional distress; and
  3. the neighbor's conduct is the actual or proximate cause of the resident's emotional distress

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About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

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