Noise Complaints

What noises are illegal?

Loud House Parties (Residential Disturbances)

Noise is unlawful if:

  • There is a gathering of more than one person
  • Noise is frequent, repetitive or continuous
  • Noise can be heard at a distance of 75 feet from the property
  • Noise is coming from property in a residentially zoned area - this does not include commercial zones
  • Noise is occurring between the hours of 10 PM - 7 AM on Fridays, or 11 PM - 7 AM on Saturdays

What can be done legally?

  • Officers can issue a civil infraction with a fine of $250. 
  • If a second noise violation occurs within 24 hours of the initial incident, criminal charges may be filed. 
  • Additionally, if the person making noise is a tenant, the property owner will be notified. 

Unreasonable Noise:

Noise is unlawful if:

  • The noise is knowingly caused and continues even after being ordered to stop by a police officer.
  • Noise is loud, frequent, or continuous and caused by animals, horns or sirens (not emergency equipment) motor-vehicles being repaired or tested, musical instruments or sounds amplifiers, human voices.
  • Noise is occurring between the hours of 10 PM - 7 AM.

What can be done legally?

  • Officers must first issue a warning.
  • If the noise continues after the warning, you must report it to us again, to report the violation and request contact. 
  • You must be willing to allow the officer to verify how the noise sounds from your premises and you may need to testify in a criminal case. 
  • If the unreasonable noise is found to be criminal, the maximum penalty can include up to 180 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.

Vehicle Noise:

Noise is unlawful if:

  • Sound from motor vehicle sound system clearly heard at a distance of 75 feet from where it is originating. 
  • 75 feet is comparable to the length of a standard swimming pool.

What can be done legally?

  • This is a civil infraction and can carry a fine up to $500.

Noise in Parks and Public Places

Noise is unlawful if:

  • Sound generated from portable audio equipment or automobile sound system that can be heard from 75 feet away.
  • Sound is generated while in a park, residential or commercial zone, or close to a school or bus.

What can be done legally?

  • This is a civil infraction and can carry a fine up to $50.

Before you call the police:

  • Be patient.  SPD receives hundreds of noise complaints a year. Especially on busy weekends, response is prioritized to violent calls. It can take a while for officers to respond to noise complaints - and sometimes the noise will end before we can get there.  We understand this can be frustrating. 
  • Try contacting the person making noise.  Many people will make a noise complaint to the police before letting the party making the noise know there is a problem.  Often, this is enough to stop the noise.  If you feel uneasy about making direct contact, or the person is uncooperative or under the influence, then please do not contact them yourself and call 911 instead.  But if you feel safe doing so, we recommend this as a first option.
  • Be reasonable.  When living in a dense and diverse city zoned residential and commercial, a certain level of tolerance for noise should be expected. Some types of noises are permitted. We cannot intervene unless the noise is breaking an ordinance.
  • Be persistent. Chronic noise issues are especially frustrating.  These may require several calls to police over a period of time.


Sue Rahr, Interim Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".