Noise Issues

According to the Warranty of Quiet Possession, California Civil Code Section 1927, tenants have an implied right to quiet enjoyment in their rental agreement. Section 2915 of the San Francisco Police Code establishes guidelines for noise regulations: It is unlawful for any person to make, continue, cause or permit any unnecessary, excessive or offensive noise. This includes vocal or instrumental music and related sounds, live or produced mechanically, which disturbs the peace or causes the annoyance or discomfort of any reasonable person.

Article 1, Section 49 of the San Francisco Police Code states that devices such as stereos and TVs must be “inaudible within a distance of 50 feet” from the property line between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. These complaints can be referred to the San Francisco Police Department. To determine whether or not the noise is in violation of the Warranty of Quiet Possession you should consider the following questions:

  • How loud is the noise?
  • How intensive is the noise?
  • Is the noise repetitive?
  • What time of day does the noise usually occur and does it reflect normal activity?
  • Does the noise last over a long period of time? Is the noise constant or intermittent?

Speak with the offenders, explaining that the noise must be controlled. Make sure to also complain to the offenders in writing, referencing specific dates and times of the incidents. Request that these incidents stop, explaining that your landlord has an obligation to provide you with a reasonable quiet atmosphere. Send a copy of this letter to your landlord.

To help reach an understanding between you and the noisy tenant, obtain help from a mediation service such as Community Boards at (415) 920-3820 or the SF Rent Board at (415) 252-4602.