What can I do about the neighbor's riding their ATV's next to our home?

Full Question:

We have a home at the river. The people next door have 2 boys that are wild. My problem is they are riding their 4 wheelers about 25 feet from my kitchen window. The dust and noise from this is driving us insane. We cannot even have a cook-out if they are on those bikes, because of the dirt and dust blowing over on us. I want to talk to the mother but I am pretty sure she will tell me off, so I need to know if this is disturbing the peace or should we just put it up for sale? The kid and his friends are all under age. This is rural property.They use their front yard for a race track. When the ground is dry it's intolerable. At times there are up to five 4 wheelers out there. We have talked to the father who told us to let the boys be boys. That's his answer. Can you tell me if we have any rights as far as this harassment is concerned?
03/21/2009   |   Category: Real Property ยป Neighbor Rel...   |   State: Virginia   |   #15716

Answer:

There are various strategies for dealing with noisy neighbors. Some of these include:

-Discussing the problem with or writing a letter to the offending neighbor

-Calling the police

-Asking the landlord or neighborhood body to remedy the situation

-Filing a lawsuit for breach of warranty of habitability, peaceful enjoyment, infliction of emotional distress, nuisance, harassment, etc.

-Talk to a councilperson about passing a local noise ordinance

A landlord and is required to remedy situations which may the premises unlivable. Implied in a tenant's rights is the right of peaceful enjoyment of the premises. Depending on the bylaws, a tenant may be required to have the floor carpeted.

I suggest contacting city hall or the police department to determine if a local noise ordinance has been passed. It may be possible to petition your local representative to enact a noise control ordinance if one doesn't already exist. Most local governments have some form of noise control based on either subjective nuisance or disturbance based standards, or an objective decibel based standards, or a combination thereof. Many of the subjective noise ordinances seek to control excessive noise that is of such character that it "tends to annoy, disturb or cause physiological or psychological harm to a person with normal sensitivities." Improvements in sound measurement technology and federal noise initiatives have led to a trend among local governments to adopt detailed objective decibel-based noise regulations that incorporate noise emission limitations and noise assessment criteria. These ordinances are often combined with traditional nuisance based regulations that allow for a two-pronged approach to noise control.

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