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Legally Silencing A Noisy Neighbor

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What can you do – legally – about your noisy neighbors?

An 81-year-old man and his 71-year-old wife in Sweden were arrested for harassment last month after blaring the heavy metal band Iron Maiden’s song Afraid to Shoot Strangers in retaliation, they claim, for the noise made by their neighbors. No word if the music, blasted by the elderly couple until 4:00 in the morning through several speakers pointed at their neighbors house, was being played off an 8-track or cassette tape.

Even if you’re not cool enough to have an Iron Maiden you want to know: what are your legal rights if your neighbor’s noise is causing a nuisance?

If you live in an apartment and have a neighbor whose noise is driving you crazy, check your lease and require your landlord to uphold the rules for all tenants. Condo associations can force condo owners to comply with their bylaws. For private homes, check zoning ordinances on the township’s website to see what neighbors can and can’t do and how you can file a police report.

But no one wants to start a battle that ends with crotchety neighbors shaking their fists at you. Before taking any action, go to your neighbors and ask them nicely to please turn down their victrola.

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