Are you one of the many Spanish households that suffer from the noise made by your neighbor? Or perhaps you are thinking about having a party or remodeling your home and want to be sure of the permitted noise hours so as not to disturb your neighbors? Whatever your situation, here you will find all the information you need to respect neighborly coexistence and know what the law says about it. Keep reading! Regulation on Noise in the Community of Neighbors
When we are affected by the annoying noises of the neighbor, the first thing we ask ourselves is if there is a national legislation that regulates this problem. We can confirm that yes, there is the Noise Law 37/2003, but we must take into account that it only applies to certain places and leisure venues, industrial areas or commercial premises. Unfortunately, this national law does not contemplate what is known as domestic noise. For this, we must resort to city councils, which are the ones that determine the regulations by which noise in homeowners’ communities, among other places, is measured and regulated.
We must also take into account the Horizontal Property Law, in its article 7.2, which states:
“The owner and the occupant of the flat or premises are not allowed to develop in it or in the rest of the building activities prohibited in the bylaws, which are harmful to the property or which contravene the general provisions on annoying, unhealthy, harmful, dangerous or illegal activities”.
This Law develops the rights and duties of the members of the community of neighbors. Until what time can you make noise? In general, municipalities allow noise from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 to 21:00 or 22:00. During this time, you can play music, have house parties, move, or make renovations, as long as the maximum decibel level is not exceeded.
If it is a weekend or holiday, the hours are reduced, and noise can only be made from 9:30 to 21:00. House renovation schedule
Renovations or refurbishments are often a problem of an acoustic nature, chipping walls or floors… surely your neighbour prefers you to paint the walls of the living room… According to the regulations, you can make noise for being at home renovations from Monday to Friday from 8 to 21 hours. However, only on working days, and with machines only until 20. You can reach a limit of 35 decibels during daytime, and 30 at night.
Weekend renovations (Saturday and Sunday) Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 until 21 hours. Even though our days off are Saturdays and Sundays, we cannot prevent a neighbor from carrying out works at their home. And remember that even though it is not regulated by law, you must respect your neighbors’ rest times.
Even if the house has sound insulation, most of the works could exceed the established decibel limits. Therefore, it is best to take some precautions beforehand. At Mediterraneo we offer you Miserv, a platform to find trustworthy professionals for home renovations.
Until what time can you make noise at home for a party? Loud music, laughter, and merriment are also common complaints. This regulation also encompasses activities such as playing an instrument, singing or dancing.
The allowed hours to make noise at home, either for work, music or a party, are from Monday to Friday from 8 to 21 or 22. depending on the Community, on working days. On weekends or holidays, the hours are reduced and noise can only be made from 9.30 to 21h.
Noise Law: Hours in Municipal Ordinances
Municipal regulations establish the levels of noise allowed at each time, depending on the use of different areas (residential, industrial, educational, etc.). Thus, for example, in cities like Madrid and Barcelona, certain indoor activities such as renovations in homes are prohibited between 21h and 8h on weekdays (9:30h on Saturdays and holidays). This prohibition begins at 22:00 h in the case of Bilbao, Valencia. On the other hand, the legislation expressly refers to the keeping of domestic animals that may cause disturbances in the neighborhood, disturbing the coexistence of the community.
As for the noise levels allowed, there is no standard rule applicable to all communities, here we summarize the communities where Mediterraneo is present.
Madrid is one of the cities consulted that allows the lowest level of noise in homes: the limits in rooms are 35 dB for the day and evening and 30 dB at night, and in bedrooms 30 dB during the day and evening and 25 dB at night.
Valencia and Castellón In Valencia and Castellón, two schedules are set that determine the noise limit allowed in homes. The decibel limits are higher than in other cities like Madrid or Barcelona.
In rooms, they are 45dB for the day and evening and 30dB at night, and in bedrooms 40 dB during the day and evening and 30 dB at night.
The following activities are not considered acceptable neighbourly behaviours: shouting, hollering, using excessively loud tones, musical or acoustic devices, radios, televisions, and other types of appliances that cause annoying noise. From 10pm to 8am, these behaviours are considered particularly egregious.
According to Article 44 of the Ordinance against Noise Pollution, Vibrations, and Other Sources of Energy, it is forbidden to sing or shout during the night time, starting from 10pm.
Home renovations and repairs are allowed between 8am and 10pm, with no distinction made for weekends.
Household appliances and air conditioning units should be adjusted so as not to exceed limits.
Furthermore, precautions should be taken to ensure that pets do not disturb or annoy neighbours’ rest.
Penalties may be applied if noise exceeds by more than 6dBA.
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What are the permissible decibel levels?
Maximum Allowed Decibels (dB) for Day and Night
Firstly, it is important to differentiate between day and night hours. All measurements should be taken inside the house, and crucially, with the windows closed. Moreover, each municipality could modify the following measures based on circumstances.
Maximum Decibels during the Day: The maximum allowed decibels are 35dB.
Maximum Decibels at Night: From 11pm to 7am, up to 25 dB are allowed in the bedroom area and 30dB in the living room.
To give you a rough idea:
Between 10 and 30 decibels: Considered low noise. Comparable to a quiet, low-volume conversation.
Between 30 and 50 decibels: The noise remains relatively low. Comparable to the noise made by pipes or some appliances like the refrigerator.
Between 50 and 75 decibels: This is now annoying noise. Among these figures are the noise of the vacuum cleaner, an alarm clock, or the volume of the television.
More than 80 decibels: occur, for example, in a traffic jam.
Similarly, each municipality has its own regulations. Moreover, each housing complex has its statutes and therein delimits a schedule that can be different from what we’ve discussed.
How to measure decibels at home?
While the problem of noisy neighbours often resolves itself with a timely conversation, there are times when we are forced to resort to other means.
While it’s true that one of the first ways to measure decibels is through your own senses – if, for example, you can clearly understand the dialogue of your neighbour’s TV, the sound may be exceeding the maximum allowed decibels. If you don’t trust your senses, you can use other resources like downloading some mobile apps that will help you get quite real firsthand information to try and convince your neighbour or, as a last resort, take appropriate legal action.
Best apps for measuring decibels
Thanks to technology, we can turn our mobile phone into a decibel meter. In a few minutes, you’ll know whether both the noise you’re making at home and the noise your neighbour is making are within the legal limits. The best applications for iPhone and Android are as follows.
Decibel. Professional noise meter. You can use it in a measurement range of 30 to 130 dBA.
Decibel Sound Meter Pro. It’s free and another of the best applications for iPhone and Android. It has advanced features like a spectrum analyzer and high precision calibrator.
Niosh Sound Level Meter. Developed by a professional team of acoustic engineers from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Institute. It’s a very accurate app and has the same features as professional sound level meters.
Sound meter. Only available for Android and in English, although its use is very basic and intuitive, you won’t have problems with the language. You can calibrate it based on the place you are or the noise you want to measure without exceeding 90dBA.
You also have the option to hire a professional with a sound meter if you want a more accurate decibel meter. They will inform you whether the noise has exceeded the set decibel limits or not. Through Miserv, you can find a professional to help measure the decibels in your home.
Is there a legally set siesta time?
No. Siesta times are not legally defined. However, for the sake of civility and to avoid conflicts between neighbours, it’s recommended that rest times, normally from 2 to 4 pm, are respected.
When can I call the police for noise?
Before calling the police, it’s recommended that you try to talk to the noisy neighbour and let them know verbally and in writing the nuisance they’re causing. If after several attempts, they continue with disturbing noises and you believe they are exceeding the legal decibel limits, call the police to see if they can solve the problem.
Fines and penalties for breaking home noise hours
You should know that domestic activities are penalised, and while it’s necessary to comply with the ordinances of each municipality, non-compliance can lead to fines of up to 750 euros in the lightest cases.
The role of the property administrator in neighbourly rest
The administrator’s role goes beyond managing and administering the property, they are also in charge of mediating conflicts that may arise between neighbours. Therefore, it’s important that you always count on your property administrator to maintain as pleasant a coexistence as possible.