How to file a noise complaint in New Jersey City

When I first read Jersey City’s Noise Ordinance, I thought it provided direct and efficient action on noise complaints. The ordinance refers to noise control officers and noise control investigators, whose role is to investigate claims and apply the ordinance. This is a huge difference from other cities, which rely on the police force to ensure that noise doesn’t become an issue for its residents.

Having a dedicated task force to look into noise complaints and overall acoustic well-being is a huge step forward.

The neighboring New York City also has a relatively new and progressive ordinance against noise control, so I was not surprised to learn that New Jersey City had its own, which in some aspects looked even more promising.

However, these nose control officers and investigators apparently exist only on paper.

Jersey City appeared to be a likely place for such an innovative approach to noise pollution. Refugees from the high property prices across the Hudson River in Manhattan, relocating tech companies, and a new generation of immigrants fuel the City’s renaissance. City leaders boast it is one of America’s “most livable cities” and provides services to speakers of 70 different languages.

The 2017 Noise Ordinance’s “Declaration of findings and policy” seems to capture this progressive spirit.

The New Jersey City noise control ordinance

The New Jersey City noise control ordinance was adopted in 2017, and it begins as follows.

222-1. – Declaration of findings and policy.

[Added 1-25-2017 by Ord. No. 17-007 ]

  1. Excessive sound is a serious hazard to the public health, welfare, safety, and the quality of life; and,
  2. A substantial body of science and technology exists by which excessive sound may be substantially abated; and,
  3. The people have a right to, and should be ensured of, an environment free from excessive sound.
  4. It is the policy of the City of Jersey City to prevent excessive sound that may jeopardize the health, welfare, or safety of the citizens or degrade the quality of life.
  5. This article shall apply to the control of sound originating from sources within the City of Jersey City.

What does the law provide?

  • It specifically provides for noise control officers, who are trained to measure noise with a sound level meter, and noise control investigators who do not have this training.

I thought this sounded like a huge improvement over cities that relied on the police to resolve noise complaints between neighbors.

  • It also provides that sound could be measured by the more accurate sound level measurement.
  • It provided sound limits measured in decibels for outdoors and indoors for residential and commercial properties:

Maximum noise level for residential spaces in New Jersey City

7 am to 10 pm55dB65dB
10 pm to 7 am40dB50dB

For commercial spaces, the maximum noise level is always 65dB, both indoors and outdoors.

  • It restricts the time for noisy activities such as construction, the use of landscaping equipment, and the use of self-contained musical equipment, and certain motor vehicles could be used.
  • It establishes a 2-tier system for enforcement.
    • The noise officer control or investigator could issue a Noise Ordinance Violation (NOV) for minor offenses giving the violator time to voluntarily correct the violation.
    • The noise control officer or investigator also could issue a warning for a non-minor violation requiring the violator to immediately correct the violation immediately or face a civil penalty not to exceed $2,000 per day.
  • It regulated the use of sound trucks by time and location.

So, how do I file a noise complaint in New Jersey City?

First, if you think the noise might signal someone in danger or a criminal act, call 911.

Trying to file a noise complaint in New Jersey City by phone

If your complaint is not an emergency, you call the Jersey City Resident Response Center at 201-547-4900.

Sad to say, I have my doubts that you will reach a noise control officer or investigator.

I called the Resident Response Center and asked to speak to a noise control officer. Sounding surprised the operator asked me to repeat my request, put me on hold, and then gave me the number of the Bergen County Health Department. Since Jersey City is in Hudson county, I stopped playing detective.

Trying to file a noise complaint in New Jersey City online

Visit the Center at

If you are on the Center home page:

  1. First, choose Resident Response Center on the left menu. This opens the SeeClickFix page.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and launch the portal under “City Connect”.
  3. Move to any location on the map and click. This will bring up a long list of response categories. You will not find a category for a noisy neighbor complaint. In fact, you will not find the word “noise” on the list.

Seriously, I do not believe that Jersey City has a single noise control officer or noise control investigator. I went through two lists of city employees without finding anyone with either of those titles. Neither the Public Safety, Health, or Police department pages mentioned either position. And they were not listed on the City’s “ help wanted’ page.

If I have a noise problem, can I sue?

Yes, you can. You wouldn’t be the first either.

The Lee’s vs LaFrak

In Jersey City, Theodore Lee and his wife sued LaFrak Organization for fraud, breach of contract, and misrepresentation. 

According to the online publication “The Real Deal – Real Estate News” Lee purchased a $650,000 condo on the 12th floor of a building on November 14, 2008, the year the tower built by LaFrak opened. Lee said that the couple could not sleep their first night because of noise from the nearby Path train electrical power station and that they had to convert their bedroom to a storage room and sleep in another bedroom. Lee said the noise was not apparent during the sales process.

“It sounds like a sub-woofer. It is a constant, low-frequency type of noise that at its worst you can feel,” Lee reportedly said in an interview.

I do not know the outcome.

Lawsuits between neighbors

In another New Jersey case, a computer analyst who worked at home sued her neighbor because his 15-year-old son banged his drums day and night in the garage 15 feet from her house. She claimed that the noise adversely affected her work performance, kept her from sleeping, and caused her to seek therapeutic treatment for stress and anxiety.

The trial court found for the defendant. However, the appellate court reversed that decision stating that the defendant had created a question of fact by presenting evidence from her neighbor that the drumming is “so incessant and loud that the drums appear to be beaten by a maniac”.

As most often happens, the ultimate result of this case was not reported.


As for Jersey City’s noise control enforcement, perhaps I am too skeptical. Perhaps this most livable city has no noise pollution and therefore needs no noise control officers…

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I'm W. Dan Bell, a semi-retired attorney living in North Carolina. I am married with two daughters. I enjoy traveling, through-hiking in the UK, writing, spending time with my family, and playing Texas Holdem.

6 responses to “How to file a noise complaint in New Jersey City”

  1. Kessang says:

    I am also troubled by my neighbor’s backyard parties and gamblings. The police wont do anything and I don’t know where else to complain.they play loud music all day and night and shout on top of their lungs.. Every weekend they have a birthday party so I’m guessing that they rent their space, else who would have family member’s bday every weekend.

    • Avatar photo fightforsilence says:

      Hi Kessang! That sucks… having a noisy neighbor is not a nice problem to have… if it’s construction at least you’ll know it will be done eventually, but a noisy neighbor is trickier…

      The only advice we can give you is to be persistent. File a noise complaint every time there’s a party, not just once. Also try to get your neighbors (not the ones making noise) to also file a noise complaint of their own. If the issue persists over time and there are multiple complaints by multiple people the police is a lot more likely to respond.

  2. Kessang says:

    Thank you… it’s another Friday n I wish the weather wasn’t good because they started their game again and shouting in disagreement.. the last time we called the police, they turned down their music but not their voice.

  3. Avatar photo fightforsilence says:

    Hello Kessang,

    Today is another Friday, and we can only hope your neighbors will give you a break this weekend.

    That being said, it’s great to hear that the police responded to your call a couple weeks back and that they got your neighbors to at least turn the music down.

    We encourage you to keep calling the police every time you feel like you should. Even if they are not able to send a car every single time, the fact that you call helps build your case should you ever decide to take legal action against them. It shows that they have a history of uncivil behavior and that they do not take the police warnings seriously.

  4. Crystal McDonagh says:

    my neighbor is the worst.

  5. Brody says:

    I am also having the same issue. I have called the police multiple times just today and nothing. They’ve been playing music for almost 5 hours straight. Their speaker is literally a couple feet from my bedroom window. They have the speaker in between my house and the other which is a walkway maybe 5 wide, so it will echo louder, basically an adding another speaker. I can’t enjoy being in my own home. I called the police 3 hours ago and again 1 hour ago and nothing. I called the non emergency number, do I need to call 911? I don’t want to do something stupid. And I’m at my breaking my point. I haven’t lived here a month yet. I asked the landlord to talk to the guy underneath me 2 times. He came here last night supposedly said something but when came back to speak to me, (he’s Spanish and doesn’t speak a word of english) he basically told me after 10 pm no music, before is okay. The house literally shakes, I work from home. Not only a terrible city, neighbors, but landlord who doesn’t do shit!!! This is I ridiculous!!!

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