Skip to main content

How to Handle Noise Complaints

Mother and son sit on living room couch plugging their ears and looking up at their ceiling.

Every neighborhood has its own unique soundtrack—children laughing and playing outside, lawnmowers humming on a sunny afternoon, dogs barking as they enjoy time with their owners, and more. These are the sounds that give a community its heartbeat. However, when these noises become disruptive, they can create tension among neighbors.

In a homeowners’ association (HOA), where residents share common spaces and amenities, managing noise complaints effectively is essential to maintaining a positive living environment. Here are some practical strategies for handling HOA noise complaints and promoting community harmony.

Common HOA Noise Complaints

Across communities, the noises that you’ll hear are similar. Often, they come and go without much issue, but ones that can cause conflict may include:

  • Loud parties or gatherings

  • Excessive dog barking or pet noise

  • Construction or renovation work

  • Loud music or TVs

  • Noisy tools or appliances

  • Disruptive outdoor activities

How to File an HOA Noise Complaint

In many cases, HOA noise complaints can be resolved amicably through direct communication with the offending party. Board members should encourage residents to approach their neighbors politely and respectfully, express their concerns about noise, and seek mutually acceptable solutions. If that approach is unsuccessful, community members will need to review HOA noise rules outlined in the governing documents, bylaws, CC&Rs, and rules and regulations and appropriately move forward. It varies by community, but the following steps are often recommended:

  • Document the noise: Residents should keep a record of the dates, times, and nature of noise disturbances, along with specific details or observations that may be relevant to the complaint.

  • Submit a formal complaint: When informal attempts to resolve the issue don’t work, residents may have to submit a formal noise complaint. This will involve following the established procedures for filing complaints, including possibly completing a complaint form or submitting a written violation letter detailing the nature of the noise disturbance. Your governing documents will include more information.

  • Participate in the resolution process: Every HOA has its own resolution process. No matter how your association works, make sure you’re always engaged with those involved, flexible throughout any dialogue, and compliant with laws. 

Governing documents guide boards and homeowners through so much, including noise complaints. Check out our complete HOA governing document breakdown to find out how they can help you!

Woman in black and white striped shirt writes on paper with pen while holding her head in pain.

Board Tips for Handling HOA Noise Complaints

For an HOA board, it's essential to approach a noise complaint with professionalism and empathy. Here are some tips for navigating the process:

Do Your Due Diligence

Typically, standard guidelines are already in place for boards to handle these situations. To ensure you’re working within your scope of power:

  • Review governing documents: Familiarize yourself with the HOA's bylaws and covenants related to noise. Some HOAs have specific guidelines outlining acceptable noise levels and quiet hours.
  • Review relevant laws: Understand local ordinances or state laws that may apply to noise disturbances.
  • Follow reporting instructions and violation procedures: Ensure you adhere to the correct protocol for documenting and addressing noise complaints.


Strong communication from the board strengthens communities. When handling noise complaints, communication is especially crucial to guarantee issues don’t escalate. Remember to always:

  • Act quickly: If communication with the homeowner at fault is necessary, deliver it promptly to prevent matters from getting worse.
  • Be professional: Maintain a respectful and courteous tone in all communications.
  • Be factual: Stick to the facts when discussing noise complaints and avoid making subjective judgments.
  • Inform about the next steps: Clearly outline what actions need to be taken to address the noise issue and the consequences for non-compliance.

Educate Homeowners

Education is key to helping homeowners manage noise issues on their own. Armed with the proper tools and information, residents can confidently navigate a noise complaint resolution without the board’s involvement. However, it’s the responsibility of the board to guide homeowners on the steps and protocols to get there. As a board, you should:

  • Be pre-emptive: Provide homeowners with information about noise restrictions and the importance of respectful neighborly behavior before issues arise.
  • Send information about noise restrictions: Distribute reminders about quiet hours and noise regulations within the community.
  • Share conflict resolution tips: Offer resources or workshops on communication and conflict resolution skills.

Review Your Rules

All rules related to noise should be reviewed and updated by communities periodically (preferably on an annual basis) so they remain effective in addressing the needs of the community. You should: 

  • Make adjustments: This could mean adding specific guidelines for a recurring problem or removing language that no longer applies to an amenity that’s been altered or replaced.
  • Adhere to governing documents: When changing rules, adhere to your community’s governing documents. 

Rely on Professionals and Your Community

Every community can benefit from professional advice and resident feedback. Seeking guidance from the ones who know your association best fosters cooperation and transparency. Whether it’s a noise complaint or another conflict among homeowners, consider input from these parties:

  • HOA attorney: Reach out to your HOA’s attorney for legal guidance on noise complaints and the association’s power to mediate.
  • Community manager: Rely on your community manager to help you lead mediation efforts related to noise complaints. They’ll be able to advise you on steps you should take throughout the process to keep things from escalating.
  • HOA residents: Solicit input from association residents on your community’s noise guidelines. Their advice will help you proactively address future concerns.

HOAs can use professional partnerships for a variety of services. Follow our guide to learn about the professional service providers every board needs!   

HOA Noise Complaints & Other HOA Violations

One of the first steps a board may take after receiving several HOA noise complaints is to send a violation letter to the offender. Used to address a violation formally, many communities send a violation letter as an initial notice of an infraction. To learn how to correctly write a violation letter, follow the tips in our “How To Create An HOA Violation Letter” ebook. With this guidance, you’ll be able to address noise complaints and other issues more smoothly.