DC Homeowners: Beware of City’s New Noise Law

by UrbanTurf Staff

image

DCist reports via The Georgetown Dish that a new DC law went into effect late last week that doubled existing fines and maintained that violators can be arrested for making excessive noise.

While news of this new law was brought to the attention of DC’s blogosphere last night at a Georgetown ANC meeting, enforcement will not be limited to Hoya house parties or the inebriated masses outside Third Edition. Anyone (including a home owner) in the city that a police officers deems is making excessive noise between the hours of 10pm and 7am is subject to a fine of up to $500 (doubled from $250) and can be put into jail for up to 90 days. Whether or not the person is fined or put in the slammer is up to the discretion of the officer.

If you are curious how reasonable noise levels are defined by the District here is a quick chart:

image

So, at night, a residence can not exceed a noise level of 55 decibels. To put that into perspective, 55 decibels is essentially the level of a normal conversation or someone working at a typewriter.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_homeowners_subject_to_citys_new_noise_law/2935

15 Comments

  1. janson said at 3:31 pm on Tuesday February 1, 2011:

    What’s a typewriter?

  1. JohnDC said at 3:31 pm on Tuesday February 1, 2011:

    Does this pertain to dog barking? I have 2 neighbors who leave their dogs out day/night all year long and they just like to howl

  1. SimonF said at 4:23 pm on Tuesday February 1, 2011:

    It sounds like this is mainly targeted at college kids. The idea of being fined $500 because your neighbor called you in for having a large dinner party sounds very uncool.

  1. Nick said at 4:33 pm on Tuesday February 1, 2011:

    I would like to see them enforce this. Previous noise ordinances in the city have included decibel limits and very clear definitions for “excessive”. I have a feeling anyone with a halfarsed lawyer could easily beat this. Of course, then you have to PAY the lawyer so that would suck…

  1. Anonymous said at 4:45 pm on Tuesday February 1, 2011:

    Does these fines pertain to CSX trains as well?  If enforced, this could close the DC budget gap completely!

  1. anon said at 5:49 pm on Tuesday February 1, 2011:

    the train question is good one—I wonder if Metro will be subject to fines when they run ventilation that emits an astonishing noise level towards my residentially zoned block.  Or when their buses transmit recorded messages at each stop.  I’ll raise it with my ANC rep if it persists.

  1. pqresident said at 11:11 pm on Tuesday February 1, 2011:

    I suspect these limits do no apply to non-commercial amplified speech, aka megaphone wielding preachers and animal rights protestors.

  1. anon said at 2:27 am on Wednesday February 2, 2011:

    Yeah, right. We’ll see how serious they are about “Noise Ordinance”. There was an incident not to far from where I live where the police were called because some youngsters were hosting a “party” and it distributed nothing but noise. What did the police do? Not a damn thing, other than just sit outside of the location for a brief moment and drove off, only leaving these youngsters to continue on with the noise, instead of shutting down the damn party. Like I said, we will see how serious they are about noise ordinance. But then again, this will most likely only apply to more affluent areas anyway.

  1. formerly_fined said at 4:55 pm on Wednesday February 2, 2011:

    once upon a time, I was one of those youngsters who got clipped with a few of these noise violations.  $250 was alotta scratch to come up with, especially when you just spent your last dime on getting booze.  the thing about this fine is: step 1 - you can pay it at the police station step
    2- request a hearing step 3 - just like contesting a traffic ticket, the officer usually wont show up at said hearing and
    step 4 - you get your money back

    so if im a rich kid in georgetown with a hefty allowance and college kid schedule, i’ll party all night, pay the fine and get the refund.  call it the down payment on the next soiree.

  1. CC said at 10:35 am on Sunday March 27, 2011:

    Does anyone know of a good lawyer I could hire to see if I have a case against a neighbor with a loud air conditioning unit?

  1. Sharon McNair said at 2:32 pm on Wednesday February 29, 2012:

    How is this law applied to resolving the issue of one tenant walking on hardwood floors (in hi-heels) over another tenant at any time of the day or night?

  1. Dogbegone said at 12:02 am on Wednesday April 4, 2012:

    To answer the one question about a barking dog, there is a specific DC reg that states nobody can keep a dog whose barking disturbs a neighbor.  Do note however that the cops will do everything to avoid enforcing this regulation.  The law is itself is Rule 24-900:  http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/ChapterHome.aspx?ChapterNumber=24-9

  1. Gracie said at 3:11 pm on Sunday December 30, 2012:

    Does this apply to music that you can hear all night long?  This just started happening recently in my neighborhood but I don’t know where it is coming from since I have not gone outside to investigate.

  1. Kate said at 9:38 am on Thursday November 7, 2013:

    The catch with this ordinance, as some have already expressed, is: are cops going to really enforce it if you call them on noisy neighbors and invoke it?  I’ve called the cops on our obnoxiously loud neighbors about 10-12 times per year for the past 7 years, mentioning to the cops that I am positive that our neighbors are exceeding posted decibel levels only to be told that DC cops don’t carry decibel readers on their person and a “specialist” would need to come and assess the noise level.  Clearly I was being fed a line but…it doesn’t change the reality which is that who is going to test the noise level and enforce this?  I want to get my hopes up but am pessimistic about this supposed good news.  Does anyone have any advice about how to get this enforced once the cops are called?

  1. Wallace said at 10:09 pm on Saturday December 7, 2013:

    There is a party house (apartment) next door to me. Every weekend is miserable for all the neighbors. You can’t even sit and watch TV because the music thumping though the wall and yelling is so loud. The police come and go. Then the noise starts right back up. I’m sure no fines have ever been given despite being there multiple times. Their landlord does not care, no one cares. Maybe it’s a step in the right direction, but I doubt this updated law has had any effect.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.




 

Lance P. Macon

Keller Williams Realty

240.718.8023

Serving:

Shepherd Park

Brightwood

Takoma

Play to hear Lance in his own words

NEW!

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We’ve collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 'hoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾