This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Question: Our neighbor recently turned their backyard into an outdoor living space and most nights the family and dog are outside making a racket. Do you have any advice to quiet them down? How will this impact our resale value?
There’s no great solution to dealing with noisy neighbors, especially if they’re not explicitly breaking county ordinances, like throwing a rager at 2 a.m., that ACPD or Code Enforcement can enforce. In most situations, these are your best steps…
Step 1: Try to be neighborly
Your neighbors may not know they’re bothering anybody, so kindly make them aware. If you’re comfortable doing it in person, drop by their house one evening with some treats for the kids and appeal to their pathos by letting them know you’re a light sleeper with an early morning start. Maybe they can cut their evenings short by an hour or tone down the games they’re playing. If you don’t feel comfortable making an appearance, drop some treats off with a letter expressing the same message. The key here is to not storm over in the middle of the evening demanding them to quiet down.
If it works, the next week, send a nice thank you note saying how much you appreciate it and you’re glad you have such great neighbors.
Step 2: Notify your Association
Many Arlingtonians live within an Association (condo or HOA) with specific quiet hours. Each Association handles and enforces complaints differently, but most will first ask if you’ve attempted to resolve the issue yourself first. As a member of my condo board, I can speak first-hand to the difficulty of proving and enforcing noise violations, but generally a formal notice from the Association of a complaint is enough to get a noisy neighbor’s attention and encourage a behavior change. The majority of people do not want to be bad neighbors.
Step 3: Call the Police (but please don’t) or Code Enforcement (business hours)
Calling the police should be reserved for the absolute worst cases where county law or ordinances are clearly being broken. I would not recommend involving the police in your situation and, remember, police cannot enforce Association laws (private). There’s no coming back from calling the cops on somebody and it’s an easy way to make matters worse, especially if steps one and two weren’t followed first.
- Arlington Max Noise Levels (pg 5): note: “Daytime” means the local time of day between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday
- Zoning Boundaries (referenced in above noise doc)
- Arlington Noise Control Site (links to detailed maps of major zoning areas like Rosslyn, Clarendon, and Pentagon City at the bottom)
- Who to call/when
Will it Impact Resale Value?
I highly doubt your noisy neighbors will impact the value of your home. Most buyers visit a home once or twice for maybe 20-30 minutes before making an offer, so the nuisance would have to present itself during that small window of time and occur in a way that makes the potential buyer think that it’s a regular occurrence that will negatively impact their enjoyment of the property. In your case, a potential buyer (likely a family, based on the info you provided me) may even consider it a positive factor to hear children playing in the neighborhood.
For most of us Arlingtonians, we live on top of each other and don’t get to pick our neighbors. Can any of the readers share a story or strategy they’ve used to successfully manage noisy neighbors?
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village