Did you know that YOU can help us keep our neighborhoods peaceful?

As tax paying citizens of Montgomery County, Texas, we have the right to enjoy a reasonable level of peace and quiet while at home. It is a very important quality of life issue.

Although some noise in our daily living is unavoidable, such as the routine repair and maintenance of our homes and communities, it is most often controlled by community association deed restrictions. The deed restrictions usually include language that prohibits loud garden and construction machinery between the hours of 8 pm to 7 am so as not to disturb its citizens’ time for rest and relaxation.

One of the most difficult problems to deal with is the question of noise. Noise issues vary greatly, from your neighbor’s late night parties, barking dogs, to the noise generated by highways, railroads, etc. But one of the most troubling problems with intrusive noise is that which is propagated by disrespectful neighbors.

In Montgomery County, there are no laws governing loud noise, such as the Noise Ordinances adopted by the City of Houston. The ordinances were implemented so that others rights are not violated and citizens have some control over conditions within their own neighborhoods. After much research and noise testing the City determined that 65 decibels of unwanted noise from a neighbor constitutes a daytime violation; at night, the number drops to 58. Those numbers lie between normal conversation (50 decibels) and a vacuum cleaner (70). The Montgomery County Sheriff's Dept. is restricted by Texas Penal Code Title 9, Chapter 42.01 which states an 85 decibel limit 7 days a week, 24 hours a day which is difficult to enforce and equates to somewhere between Houston rush hour traffic at 78 decibels and an airplane landing at Hobby Airport measuring 96 decibels. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 55 decibels is enough to annoy and distract someone outdoors; inside, it takes only 45 decibels.

Houston’s ordinances are laws that must be obeyed by everyone and violating them can earn you a fine of up to $2,000. In the tiny town of Montgomery, the fine is $500.

So what do WE do when we have neighbors who do not care about their communities’ peace and quiet and feel they have the right to do whatever they please in their own home, no matter how offensive and intrusive it is to the rest of the community? They may party and play loud music into the early morning hours, or frequently argue and fight with family members and friends on their lawns, or they may amuse themselves by squealing their car tires, blowing their horns or setting off their car alarms, or simply allowing their pets to bark all night in the yard.

What can YOU do about it in Montgomery County?

You can:
1. Attempt to have a civil conversation with your neighbor
2. Send your neighbor a letter requesting they stop the noise, or
3. Call the sheriff's dispatch and have them enforce the Noise Ordinance.

Oh, wait, I forgot, we do not have a defined Noise Ordinance in Montgomery County, and so, unfortunately, the sheriff's deputies are left with option 1 only.

Having personally experimented with all of the above for one whole year, I can tell you that not only does it not work, it only intensifies the situation.

Being a good neighbor means respecting each other's rights. Some people are just plain rude. They are self-absorbed and have no desire to respond to neighbor complaints or work on settling these disputes.


Help us petition for a Noise Ordinance in Montgomery County, Texas. (send an email to Noisyneighbors100@gmail.com)

Let us know if you are behind us by answering our survey, and write a blog about your situation.

Don’t let your family be victimized by unconscionable neighbors.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Noise Next Door - My Story

Seriously, I do not know how to begin. I have NEVER encountered a situation like this in a residential area. It is like having a 24/7 bar next door! No one goes to work and they begin pouring alcohol down their throats as soon as they can get out of bed and onto their feet. No, I don't live next door to a dorm; these are adults (and I use that term loosely) who should know better. They sit outside or in their garage playing loud music drinking, arguing and "woohooing" all day and into the wee hours of the morning. This can and has gone on until as early as 5 a.m. They believe that this is "their" place, "their" house and that they should be able to do as they please. If we don't like it, we should move. We've been cursed at, threatened and our property has been damaged. The police have been called a number of times and all they can do is ask them to take the 'party' inside or turn the music down. As soon as the police leave, the party relocates outdoors and they crank the music up louder. One time, after the police left, I witnessed one of my neighbors joking and laughing as he repeatedly slammed a piece of fire wood on the lid of a smoker just outside my bedroom window. It sounded and felt like someone had kicked our front door in. . This was taking place at 2 a.m. and the police had just left for the second time that evening. Even Christmas is not off limits for these people. Their family get-togethers during the holidays turn into all night domestic arguments OUTSIDE! Many people ask, "Where do you live?" and "How old are these people?" We live in a planned community and 'these people' are in their mid-50's! I like to think of it as "Seniors Gone Wild!"

We are not moving. We are going to sign this petition and get a Noise Ordinance passed so that there will be tangible consequences for such inconsiderate behavior.


  1. We purchased a lovely small horse farm 2 years ago - in a restricted neighborhood. The adjacent - also horse - property apparently is a different subdivision whose restrictions lapsed. Last year the owners sold it, and the new owners have built a wedding facility in the grounds which opened last night. With no advance warning. From 3pm till past midnight we had a live band, raucous yelling and karaoke approx. 145 yards from our house. You could feel the base beat in your feet. My pregnant mares were running like idiots and even my teenagers were complaining. People half a mile down the road were calling the sheriff. What are we supposed to do - we can't live like this 4 or 5 days a week with such invasive noise. We moved here for the space and peace not to live next door to a disco. I will sign this petition and pass the info on to my neighbors.

  2. A year after we moved into our nice, deed-restricted neighborhood, the Neighbors From Hades built next door. They also own property just outside the neighborhood, which USED TO BE a small home, where we actually saw cows grazing our first year.

    They turned it into a Honky Tonk. From about noon to 3 am for over three years they have tortured the neighbors. Yes, folks, what is legal in Texas (85 decibels) is WAY over what is legal to do to enemy soldiers captured in battle (65 decibels.)

    Inside our energy-efficient home with double-paned windows, a quarter of a mile away from the dump, the furniture vibrates.

    Both the State Senator and the State Representative, when contacted, never answered. They added our name and address to their fund-raising list, though, even running unopposed we got tons of junk mail to remind us that the noise bill from last year never passed.

    How is it possible that a commercial enterprise does not need any business licenses? Why does anyone actually pay the taxes and fees to legally run a bar, when all they have to do is say (out loud) that it is a "private party" renting their property? Even if they have posters up inviting the general public in for a ticket price, supposedly they don't have to get a license or have a hearing where the neighbors could protest.

    What kind of self-absorbed demons drive to someone else's neighborhood and think it's "cool" and "trendy"? Would they like it if someone opened this kind of dump in their neighborhood????

  3. Loud outside speakers, dirt bike tracks in back yards and garage bands are some of the behaviors we have encountered in what we thought was a quiet neighborhood. At one point, we approached an HOA board member about all the noise as it appeared to be against the deed restrictions. After all, we relied on those deed restrictions when we chose to move into this neighborhood. We were instead attacked as having "noise issues".

    It appears that the number of people who no longer have respect for others is growing at an exponential rate. It's just a matter of time, before those who enjoy peace and quiet will be in a minority. I would encourage everyone to write each and every elected official about this problem before it is too late.

  4. I too live in Bennette Estates. These trucks have increased over the last two years. These trucks do not obey speed limits....I have seen these semis go faster than 50 mph down Calhoun Rd (speed limit is 30). I can tell you that our corrupt commissioner Ed Rinehart owns the trucking company. Conflict of interest? Rinehart even had a county attorney send me a letter not to gather petitions to stop these trucks....conflict of interest. Seems Rinehart only attends to his business needs. There is no reason for these trucks to be in any neighborhood at 3am. When parents are taking their children to school, Calhoun Rd gets so backed up with semis, it is almost impossible to get out onto FM1314. These trucks are a safety hazard to all residence in Bennette Estates. I have called the sheriff's office due to accidents, some trucks don't stop at the stop sign on East Drive and end up rolling the semi going around the corner and losing their load on the street. I think the only way to control them is to set up a homeowners association, and make the public roads private. We could make them pay a toll for the roads for upkeep. "

  5. I believe the Texas Penal Code, making “unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range,” needs to be looked out all together. There is an exemption is for shooting ranges; however there are many buisnesses such as the trucking companies, electric/fuel company (stations), motocross tracks, mud pits, railroad companies, Cynthia Woodland's Pavilion, along with many more...that produce sounds above the TX Penal Code. We all like going to concerts or sporting events occasionally, enjoy our power/fuel and trains run all across Montgomery County, so how do the citizens and buisness work together?

    I like how the article explains that a conversation is 60-70 decibels at 3-5 feet. That is not far off from the state statute. A barking dog, which wakes most of us at night is over 86 decibels. A train running down the track without the whistle is humming at 90 plus decibels. What about the new exhaust on our teenagers trucks? Just a few things to think about.

    Would a curfew for buisness and residential gatherings work? What about noise variences for certain events? How do we all coincide with one another in a peaceful manner without lawsuits, or citations? "

  6. A good start would be to draw a distinction between necessary noise and discretionary noise.

    Railroad noise is necessary for general commerce. The power blower used by your neighbors yard service is necessary to keep up the general appearance of properties at a reasonable cost.

    A teenager's loud exhaust is discretionary. Quieter exhaust options are available. Neighbors loud outside parties till the wee hours of the morning are discretionary. They can move their noise inside.

    A little common sense and concern for others would go a long way in establishing reasonable rules and laws to regulate noise.

  7. We moved into a neighborhood in Magnolia a year ago. The neighbor two doors down has a lot of dogs that bark very loud at all hours. I understand that the police have been called out several times but the man will not keep his dogs quite. Also he practices small arms fire at vatious times in the week. That has also been reported bu nothing seems to make a difference.

  8. I don't know whether to say fortunately or unfortunately, but God gave me a keen sense of hearing. We live in The Woodlands on a pie-shaped lot (1/3 acre), and we share the back fence with THREE neighbors (Their lots are smaller.) Two of those have backyard pools. Then there are the neighbors on either side. Over the 9 years I have lived here, I have had one neighbor (behind me with a pool) compete with his young boys to see who could be the most obnoxious (loud) and defiant. I prayed nightly that he would "go away," and eventually I stopped seeing him, although his wife and kids remained in the home for some years thereafter. The neighbor next to them---their dog would be let out in the a.m. and would bark all day. I did not say anything about it until I finally could not take it anymore. I called their house and left a message on their answering machine telling them the noise was "affecting the quality of my life." The husband returned my call and said their dogs were not let out during the day. He was clueless that for MONTHS their nanny was letting the dog out while she was there. That night, I got a "call and no one speaks" phone call...and as I have caller ID, I said something and mentioned the person's name (Want to bet it was the Nanny!). That never happened again. Then there is the other neighbor who has 2 small "yap yap" dogs whose husband thinks it's "cute" for them to bark NON STOP while he and the kids frolic in the pool. "Cute" is far from the word I would describe as a neighbor having to listen to that. Then next to me, we have to "bounce back" neighbors. Clueless, spoiled, pampered kids left home to start college...majored in boys...picked up stray animals...flunked out of college...moved back in with mom and dad...and "the dog" accompanied them. "The dog" was used to living inside an apt., and that was not part of the plan when my neighbors let their daughter "boomerang back home." So the unhappy dog would bark from sunlight to sundown. I considered my options...and I think it would be wise not to mention all the things I considered...but I didn't carry them out...It's NOT the animal's fault. Inconsiderate neighbors? You bet! I, too, investigated what I could do about it. Take them to civil court and say the noise affected my quality of life. ...or grit my teeth and bear it and hope they all move away... ...do you wonder if I'm in favor of a noise law? You bet your boots I am. In another day and time in Texas, those animals would have been SHOT! These days, animals are treated better than some children! Don't even ask me about the neighbor who has one job after the other going on in his driveway/at his house...a huge carpet cleaning truck for 6 hours...and that's just one of 1000 stories I could tell. Calgon...please take me away to a quiet place. I have idiots for neighbors!!!!!!

  9. I live in Harris county and have a similar problem. You should be aware that criminal penalities from future laws are not your only recourse.

    "Quiet enjoyment" of your property is common law, and you can sue another property owner (civil court) for depriving you of your property rights. Damages vary, but you may consider seeking $70 - $130 per day that you are deprived. If the total claim is low enough, you can file in small claims court. Alternatively, several affected neighbors could join a suit together.

    If the neighbor has persisted after requests, intentional infliction of emotional distress is a possible claim. Unintentional infliction is another option. Research is published regarding the effects of noise polution and sleep deprivation. Actual threats and harrassment from your noisy neighbor are also relevant.

    You will have to collect evidence: filed police reports, decibel readings, coroborating witnesses, etc.

    I would like to see some suits like this filed in unincorporated areas in Texas to establish some precedents here. The non-regulation of noise by criminal law is an egregious, profound failure of our elected officials. These areas are far too populated to be that unregulated.

  10. I appreciate all of this information and would like to do whatever I can to stop it. Just a while ago I had the walls thumping from two doors down. The Sheriff said they could ask the people to "turn it down" but that was all. I would appreciate any help in getting the noise at night lowered. My email is dotyjean@hotmail.com.

  11. I Live In Splendora Tx Which Is A Small Town In Montgomery County It Is Country However I Feel That You Should Respect Your Neighbors And Keep Your Music Down And Or Turned Off At A Decent Time Im All For Partying And Getting High But You Gotta Know When To Pull The Plug On The Party.

  12. Just so you know, municipalities are given the right to create ordinances to abate nuisances per Local Govt Code 217. Counties are only able to regulate certain activities addressed in Local Govt code 231-250. Noise is not one of them, so do not be surprised when you get no where with your commissioners court. They just don't have the same authority as municipalities

  13. I should note that disorderly Conduct as it reads in the Penal Code is applicable to counties, but there can't be a special noise order just for Montgomery County. You need to live in a town for that

  14. I live in Panther Creek of The Woodlands and the opening story "The Noise Next Door", is similar to what I experience from neighbors who moved in 3 years ago. Inconsiderate drunks, who are self-centered and believe they own the cul-de-sac.

  15. We had new renters move in and there dog barks all day. I sent them a letter and they keept it from barking at night, but it still barks all day. It is so frustrating and I feel we have no way to stop it.

  16. Suing is an option, but when we investigated it the lawyers we consulted warned us that it would be VERY expensive, as in tens of thousands of dollars. Under the law, the legal expenses could not be recovered even if we won. Additionally, several lawyers said that the chances of getting any better results than just calling the Sheriff repeatedly were not likely.

    Our torturers were already over the decibel limit, but enforcement just depended on which Deputy showed up until recently. Sometimes they would be cited, and other times nothing happened even though they were far over the 85 decibel limit.

    Lately, for some reason, the idiots have been quieter. Some of us are just grateful for the reprieve, but others are just waiting for the weather to warm up and the bands to start pounding insanity into us again.

    Why do none of the State Legislators seem willing to write a reasonable law?

  17. i live off old houston in Montgomery county and i have to deal with my neighbors playing loud music all day and night. my neighbors have a 10,000 watt competition sound system in there car which they play for extended periods of time through out the day and night. the bass is so loud i can not even hear my own T.V. inside my home with the doors shut. the vibrations rattle my walls and furniture i can even feel my chest vibrating. today i was woke up at 7:00am to chest rattling bass which lasted until 3:35pm. i have asked them to lower the volume twice and both times they said they would but nothing has changed. i don't like to have personal conflict with my neighbors because it normally leads to property damage or intentional rudeness. they also have pigs,chickens,ducks,rabbits,dogs, and cats all on one acer. all of these animals make a lot of noise and they don't have a fence so they are also always in my yard eating my plants and defecating on my lawn. i hope a noise ordinance will pass soon so these rude neighbors will have to face consequences.

  18. I live in Bear Creek Meadows in Katy. I have the sheriff's number on speed dial. Thumping, wall vibrating music from a neighbor's car is making me physically ill. The owner lives across the street. The sheriff dispatcher promises to send a deputy out but no one showed the last three times.

    The day I came home from surgery I was yanked from deep sleep by the loud car stereo. My headboard vibrated. The water in my glass vibrated. The wall and double paned windows rattled. All I could do was cry because I couldn't get out of bed.

    The nuisance has turned into harassment. I've been told to take him to court and swear out a warrant. This came just a couple hours ago from an officer I spoke with to complain yet again.

    I feel better knowing there are others out here who are tired and angry enough to do something. The officer told me to get my neighbors involved. The only problem with that is the neighbors are friends of the offender. Loud rap music is their kind of music. I stand alone on my street. I am probably the only one in our community who's not afraid of the young thugs. I am a woman. I am mad as hell. And I won't be abused any more. I pay taxes. THEY don't. I am a home owner. They are not. Too many of them are Section 8 recipients who were displaced by Katrina.

    Count me in the fight for peace and quiet.

  19. Is this blog still active? If so, please contact me. I live in Lampasas County and am being terrorized by dirt bikes next door. I am VERY much interested in s noise ordinance at the county level. You can reach me at 512-786-6709 (week days) or at home 512-556-9219 evenings and weekends when I haven't been forced to leave my property to retain my sanity!

    Lea Kenyon

  20. We have lived in Settlers Corner Townhomes in the Village of Grogans Mill in The Woodlands for a long time. Up until a few months ago, it was relatively peaceful here. The music (base) from neighbors' home stereos is driving me nuts - many sleepless nights. Though we don't want to move, we've been considering a move near the back (quieter?) side of The Woodlands, but am concerned about even that after reading all these comments.

    Would everyone consider, while commenting on this blogspot, stating what neighborhood you live in? I realize every area can change overnight.

    ... shall be buying a sound machine tomorrow.

  21. We live in a quiet area in the Woodlands. Nice neighborhood and generally nice people. Nearly everyone has a lawn service, but they come at all hours of the day, beginning at 7AM. I know -- this is small-time compared to all the horror stories above, but I'm really surprised to learn there are no noise restrictions locally or in the Woodlands covenants. My issue is so minor compared to others, but not everyone works 8-5, so lawn mowers, power edgers and gas blowers before dawn will get your blood boiling.

  22. What is a sound machine and how can that help? I live near pearland, but is still in Houston and nothing has worked. Live in townhomes, buying.

  23. It is absolutely true that there are no noise restriction covenants in The Woodlands. If you are planning to move here to escape the noise in other communities, don't waste your money. We have a neighbor behind us who has loud pool parties year round with stereo speakers turned up full blast; not only summer, but events like the Super Bowl. They have two huge dogs that are left outside in the yard until 10:00 at night and bark very loudly and nonstop for hours and hours on end. When I contacted the Woodlands Township through their website, I received a curt snotty email reply telling me there are no covenants regarding barking dogs, and advising me to go talk to the neighbor or call Animal Control or the sheriff. Reading multiple posts on this website and others has taught me that this is completely useless.

    I am sick at heart when I think that we left our completely paid off home in the city to move out here, because we thought our old neighborhood was too noisy with nonstop police sirens, booming car stereos, and loud parties from transient renters. So we have incurred a large mortgage, and now commute two hours a day back and forth to our jobs, and for what? I wish we had stayed in Sharpstown, at least we had two more hours a day of free time.

  24. i live in an unincorporated area of montgomery county, when i moved here from houston in 1973 to get away from the big city problems it was very pleasant & quite, only 3 houses in the sub. now there are over 250. 4 wheelers, boom boxes,tires sqealing,gun shots,loose & barking dogs have made the sub. go to s###. my next door neighbor has 4 dogs that bark constantly, & wake my wife & i up all hours of the night,i try to keep my yard neat & clean & cannot work in it without having to listen to the dogs barking,the one that does the most barking is a stray she picked up in a parking lot,my wife is sick & paralized from a stroke & is in & out of the hospital,the dogs are driving us nuts,i have asked them 5 times very nicely & wrote them 3 letters,to no availe. to do something with the dogs,i have called sheriffs dept.the deputy came out and talked to me at 5:00 p/m. with the dogs climbing the fence & barking the whole time i was talking with the the deputy in my driveway & said montgomery county has new nuisance laws then he went over & talked to the neighbor,the neighbor came to my house at 8:30 at night banging on my door, said she did not appreciate me calling the sheriffs dept, she said she was tired of my rooster flying over her fence & she has to catch him & throw him back over the fence,which she does not own, i put up half the fence at my expense & myself and the original owners of her property purchased & installed the other half 50/50 & i advised her i did not have a rooster & if i did why haven't your dogs killed it, then she said she was tired of my cats getting under her house & having kittens. my wife has 2 cats & they are house cats never outside, i told her i would go to the judge's office & talk to him, she said do whatever you want to do i am not doing anything with my dogs. she also said her (stray) dog is never outside without his no bark collar on which he did not have until i called the sheriff's dept.& only sometimes now,i told her myself & the deputy both saw him with no collar on, she said you are a liar,& he is never outside after dark, he stays in a kennel inside the house all night every night, she is never home & her sons let the dog out before they go to school.i advised her i have photos day & night of the dogs. she said if i did not like to hear her dogs barking, put up a wood fence so they can't see me. i advised her i already have a fence, she needs to put up a wood fence. the sheriffs dept advised me to go to the j.p. and file a nuisance complant, & to call animal control which i am going to do.

  25. Live next to a guy stuck in the 80's. He's constantly working on his '84 Camero and listening to cheesy hair bands. Several times, during every day of the week, he can be found in the driveway revving the engine. During the day, I don't mind it. I mean, it's annoying, but tolerable. However, he gets up every morning at 6:15 and warms the car up before leaving at 6:30. His idea of warming up the car is backing it out of the driveway and revving it for 15 minutes. It wakes me up every single morning, without fail.

    After reading all these horror stories, I'm counting my blessings because it could be much, much worse. However, it's still bugger and I would absolutely be in favor of a noise ordinance.

  26. We are surrounded by neighbors who leave their dogs outside to bark at the wind. Every morning I am woken up by the same dog before the sun even peeks its head out. We have a dog too but don't leave her outside unsupervised. It's called common courtesy. Too bad more people don't practice it!

  27. I live in the Woodlands next to a moron that leaves her 2 dogs outside all night to bark. I've left her a note and have contacted the home owner's association. She must be deaf because I cannot honestly figure out how she does not hear the dogs all night. One is tiny but the other is about 75 pounds and has a loud bark. I have 2 dogs of my own, I'm a big animal lover but I don't care to hear them at 2,3,4 am. I would gladly welcome a noise ordinance.


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