Whenever they’re at home, most people expect to enjoy their peace and quiet. However, that doesn’t depend on them alone, as they also have to contend with neighbors and all the sounds coming from their homes.
One of the worst types of noise is the blaring of a car alarm, especially if it keeps happening in the middle of the night. If you’ve been experiencing it, read on, because we’ll cover all your options and steps you could take to make the situation better.
First Things First — Why Is the Alarm Going Off?
As you probably already know, a car alarm usually goes off when an intruder tries to break into the vehicle. The noise is supposed to alert the owner that someone is trying to get in, as well as to scare the perpetrator off.
However, car alarms can sometimes malfunction. In such cases, they go off without any intruders or immediate danger. These situations happen completely at random, meaning that the alarm can go off at any time.
Interestingly, it’s not always the alarm’s fault when malfunctions like this occur. Instead, the noise can be caused by car door lock sensors, a low battery, rusty battery terminals, weather-induced damage, strong winds, and so on. Naturally, the alarm itself might be the issue, which can happen if the system hasn’t been properly installed.
Whatever the cause, it is essential to examine the car as soon as the problem starts occurring. If your neighbor does so and the noise ceases after a day or two, it’s not necessary to do anything. After all, they acted responsibly and did their best to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
However, if the noise persists and there seem to be no signs of any activity from your neighbor, it is definitely time to get involved. You shouldn’t suffer the consequences of a faulty system, and neither should the rest of your neighborhood.
Below, we’ll go over all the steps you should take to deal with irresponsible neighbors and noisy car alarms.
Compromise Is Everything
Although your first instinct might be to get the police involved, it is better to talk to your neighbor first. After all, they’re surely not happy with their alarm going off at random either and want to fix the problem as well.
So, your first step should be to approach your neighbor and explain that all the noise and commotion are really disturbing your time at home. At this point, it is essential to be civil and articulate and not start any unnecessary fights.
Instead, adopt a friendly tone and ask if they know why their alarm goes off so much. Suggest that they take it to an electrician or mechanic so that they can check the system and see if any of the other car components are causing issues.
However, while it is important to be nice, you should stay firm. Thus, let your neighbor know that the noise really bothers you and your family. Furthermore, make it clear that you will have to take more serious action if it persists and the neighbor does nothing to rectify the situation.
By following these steps, you will ensure your neighbor knows the situation is serious and does something about it. Even more importantly, you will still keep the peace and remain on good terms with the owner, which is always important.
What if Talking Doesn’t Work?
Sadly, compromising and talking things through isn’t always possible. Some people are simply not open to compromises, or they don’t really care about the peace and well-being of others.
So, if talking about the alarm and being polite doesn’t work, you should start looking into other options. Naturally, getting the authorities involved should be the next logical step. If you decide to take it, here’s everything you need to know.
Calling the Police
If your neighbor’s car alarm keeps going off without any intruders present and they’re doing nothing to fix it, you can indeed call the police on them. The case would be treated as a classic noise disturbance.
It is important not to call 911 to report the noise, as you probably already know. Instead, you should find your local PD’s non-emergency number and contact them that way.
When you talk to the dispatcher, make sure to give as much detail as you can. That includes a description of the car and its license plate number. Moreover, you should explain when the car goes off, how long it stays on, and whether your neighbor turns it off as soon as they can.
Besides calling, certain police departments also let you file online complaints. They don’t differ from calls too much, meaning that you will have to provide the same information.
In most cases, the police will read your report and contact your neighbor about it. Sometimes, they might also send an officer to check the situation for themselves. That is especially true if the alarm won’t turn off and your neighbor isn’t there or won’t come out.
If they can’t turn off the alarm, the police might decide to tow the car. The same will definitely happen if you keep reporting noise disturbances over the next several days or weeks.
Finally, we have a few words of advice. If you do decide to get the police involved, try to stay out of the situation as much as possible. In other words, don’t start fights with your neighbor or disrupt the investigation. Rather, let the authorities do their job and go back to your usual activities.
Is It Possible to Make an Anonymous Complaint?
In some states and cities, it is possible to make an anonymous noise complaint. The advantages of doing so are clear: for one, your neighbor won’t know for sure that it was you. Furthermore, you won’t have to follow up with any further statements or stay involved any longer than necessary.
To see whether making an anonymous report is possible, it’s best to check your local PD’s website. Alternatively, you can also call the non-emergency number and ask the dispatcher.
In certain cases, it might be possible to make a complaint and give all your info but to have the police seal it. Thus, only the police would know who made the report, meaning that your neighbor wouldn’t be aware that it was you.
More Drastic Measures
Unfortunately, sometimes calling the police or getting your neighbor’s car towed doesn’t really solve the issue. Of course, it’s a great fix in the short run, but what happens if the noise keeps occurring later on?
Well, the next step you could take is to file a tort lawsuit against your neighbor. You can file this type of lawsuit for a civil wrong that causes a particular person — in this case, you — loss or harm.
In your instance, that harm would be the disruption of your everyday life, the inability to sleep and get rest, or do any other activity in your own home. However, although this situation might seem like an obvious case of harm and disturbance, proving it in front of a court isn’t the easiest task.
For one, you will have to provide the court with indisputable evidence of the car alarm disturbing your daily life. This proof can include videos, audio recordings, pictures (if relevant), as well as your personal testimony.
If you don’t have any physical evidence, the court most likely won’t be able to rule in your favor. Thus, if the alarm keeps going off, make sure to take as many recordings as possible. That way, you will have concrete evidence of the transgression occurring and disturbing you on multiple instances.
Before you decide to file this lawsuit, we suggest you think over several alternative approaches as well.
Talk to Your Neighbor Once More
If you’re already exhausted from the constant talking, we get it. However, having a nice conversation about some noise is not the same as notifying your neighbor that you are planning to sue them.
The former is easy to ignore and forget as soon as it’s over. The latter, however, is a lot more threatening and serious. As such, it might get your neighbor to actually do something to avoid making the situation even messier.
Not to mention, your neighbor isn’t the only one who would prefer not to go to court. The case will be hard on your budget as well, and it will also take up a lot of your time. So, it’s in both of your interests to settle the matter on your own.
As already mentioned, you should aim to be as civil as possible during this interaction. Try not to threaten the neighbor outright, but warn them that the situation has gone on for too long and that you feel like there is nothing else you can do.
It’s pivotal not to get into disputes or any other types of altercations. Simply say what you want, hear out what your neighbor has to say, and call it a day.
In an ideal world, telling your neighbor about a potential lawsuit would lead to them solving the car alarm issue immediately. However, we don’t really live in a perfect world, and that might not happen.
So, if you get a negative response (or none at all), you can proceed with the lawsuit with a clear conscience. You’ve done your neighborly duty, and now it’s time to do what’s best for yourself and your peace of mind.
Ask Other Neighbors for Help
If you live in a building or a residential area with several homes, you’re surely not the only one hearing all the alarm noise. In such a case, it won’t hurt to ask your other neighbors to participate as well.
For one, if more people file a lawsuit and provide evidence, the court will have a harder time denying it. Your case will seem more solid, and you will be a lot more likely to win and get damages.
Of course, if you live in a more desolate area where your neighbor is also your only neighbor, simply proceed with the lawsuit on your own. As long as you have enough evidence, you should be able to win.
Get a Lawyer
If you have decided you’re definitely suing your neighbor, it is essential to lawyer up. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on every step of the procedure, and you’ll have better chances of winning the case.
Even more importantly, the lawyer will handle the case and allow you to focus on your life and work. That way, you won’t have to dedicate all your time to the lawsuit and compiling evidence.
Speaking of evidence — your attorney will also help you determine what to show the court. They probably have experience with similar cases and will know exactly what you need to provide to win.
Of course, you will have to pay the attorney for their assistance. Although that might seem like a big disadvantage, you shouldn’t view it as such. An attorney increases your chances of winning and getting damages by quite a lot, so paying them won’t hurt your finances that much.
Final Thoughts on Noisy Neighbor Car Alarms
Having neighbors can be a real delight, especially if they’re sensible people who don’t want to disturb anyone’s peace. But if they don’t care about anyone else and let their car alarm blast off into the night without any care, the whole neighborhood can quickly become a nightmare.
In such cases, it’s essential to keep your cool and not revenge on your neighbor. You can resolve the issue through friendly conversation. But if that doesn’t work, you have the right to get the authorities involved, especially if the noise keeps recurring.
Finally, as a last resort, you can also file a lawsuit against your neighbor. If it comes to that, remember to collect as much evidence as you can and get a lawyer. That way, the chance of you winning the case will be a lot higher.
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