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RE Q&A: What Can We Do About Loud, Partying Neighbors?

Unreasonable amounts of noxious smells, smoke and noise are nuisances, as are indecent signs or pictures. Each case is different, but if sincere attempts to “talk it out” fail, the next step might be hiring a lawyer who can ask a court to step in.

FORT LAUDERDALE – Question: We live next door to a house that has recently turned into a busy short-term vacation rental. The guests party to all hours outside in the pool and otherwise misbehave. We tried speaking to the owner and even calling the police. Nothing works. What can we do? – Tracy

Question: Our neighbors are very loud. They yell and play loud music at all hours. We have asked them to tone it down and complained to the city to no avail. How do we end this torture? – Jasmine

Answer: Everyone has the right to enjoy their property, but they do not have the right to do so in a way that stops their neighbors from having the same privilege.

It is called a “nuisance” for someone to use their property in a way that interferes with their neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their home. Under the law, unreasonable amounts of noxious smells, smoke and noise are considered nuisances, as is directing water drainage onto someone else’s land and posting indecent signs or pictures.

What can be seen as a nuisance varies in each situation, so each case will need to be examined to see if the offender’s actions are reasonable.

For example, an occasional party that ends before most people head off to bed is very different to thumping music that can be heard two blocks away blasting until 4 a.m. every weekend.

In most columns, I have advised trying to talk things out, and I see that you both have already done so. The reality is that sometimes you cannot resolve a dispute yourself no matter how hard you try. When that happens, it is time to hire a lawyer and go to court for help.

In situations such as yours, a judge can grant an “injunction” ordering your neighbor to follow the rules and stop the offensive behavior, and in some circumstances, even give you a monetary judgment to compensate you for the damage your neighbor caused.

If the neighbor still does not stop, you can go back to court to have them held in contempt of the injunction order, which has serious consequences.

About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation.

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