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Loud noise in your neighbourhood can disturb your peace, your sleep and your overall sense of security and wellbeing. The City of Ottawa regulates noise through the Noise By-Law.

Under the by-law, the following are considered noise violations:

  • Ringing a bell, blowing a horn or shouting in a manner that disturbs others.
  • Running equipment such as air conditioners, heat pumps, compressors, exhaust systems, and similar devices with noise exceeding 50 decibels when measured at the point of reception.
  • Operating construction vehicles or equipment between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. (9 a.m. on Sunday and statutory holidays).
  • Deliveries from a motor vehicle between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. causing disruptive noise.
  • Vehicle noise including idling in excess of five minutes, revving engines, squealing tires or lack of mufflers.
  • Power equipment such as chainsaws, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, tools and similar devices between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. (9 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays).
  • Operating refuse compacting equipment or solid waste bulk lift equipment between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (9 a.m. on a Sundays or statutory holidays) that disturbs others.
  • Operating musical instruments, radios, TVs, stereos and similar devices between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (9 a.m. on Saturday; 12 noon on Sunday and statutory holidays), that disturbs others.

For more information about the Noise By-Law, visit the City of Ottawa website.

If you would like to report a violation currently in progress, call 3-1-1.

Reducing noise from neighbours

If your neighbours are noisy, consider the following steps (excerpt from the CMHC):

  • Get to know your neighbours. Contact may lead to cooperation on noise issues.
  • Speak reasonably and calmly with neighbours about noise. There is a good chance that reason will lead to a workable solution.
  • Speak with other neighbours and consider a joint strategy. Ask others who are also bothered to discuss noise with the offending neighbour.
  • Although they may be accustomed to the noise their children make, neighbours should be aware that some occupants don't have children and may be irritated by the noise. However, all neighbours must understand that children have a right to live there and to behave like children.
  • If hosting a party, neighbours should advise other occupants about when the party will take place, and consider inviting them if it will be an open party.
  • Observe reasonable hours for noisy activities. Vacuuming, moving heavy furniture, repairs and alterations generate noise that can travel to other apartments. Restrict these activities to daylight hours or in accordance with the lease or condominium agreement.

Always keep your personal safety in mind when dealing with noisy neighbours. If your neighbour is intoxicated or has been drinking alcohol, it is not a good time to try to resolve a problem. Situations like these can quickly escalate and get out of control.

Here are some CHMC strategies for reducing noise—in your home and your neighbour’s:

  • Stereo and other audio equipment should be situated away from walls shared with other units.
  • Footfall sound can be a problem in apartments, especially those with hard floor surfaces. Avoid walking in high heel and other hard-soled shoes.
  • Dropped objects or scraping chairs in areas with hard floor surfaces will cause impact sound in adjoining units. Use carpets or mats in areas where objects are more likely to be dropped, and felt cushions under chair and table legs.
  • Place objects, such as shoes, on a floor rather than dropping them.
  • Keep music and T.V. volumes at a reasonable level and be receptive to comments from other neighbours, especially those with special needs.