Nuisance Laws

Last Modified: December 19, 2013

With more than 300,000 people in Raleigh, it is imperative that we are considerate of our neighbors. Noise, especially at night, can be a serious problem not only for those that have to hear it, but for those making the racket. The City of Raleigh enforces noise ordinances to help keep its neighborhoods pleasant places to live.

The City Code (see Sec. 12-5007(c).Sec 12-5008) gives specific details of the noise-related laws in Raleigh. Furthermore, Section 13-3017 outlines the laws regarding nuisance parties. Both tenants and landlords should familiarize themselves with these laws.


Construction and demolition are permitted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Noise complaints related to construction and demolition during these hours are not enforceable. If construction related noise is taking place before 7:00 a.m. or after 8:30 p.m. then a complaint can be made with the Raleigh Police Department at 919-831-6311.

Please remember that Raleigh places limits on loud music coming from automobiles. Under the ordinance, music must be contained to a distance of no more than 50 feet from the vehicle. Covered under the law are: radios, stereo receivers, cassette tape players, compact disc players and other similar devices. The ordinance particularly is aimed at motorists who drive through residential areas playing loud music.

Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a maximum fine of $500.

Problem Properties

Occasionally, a rental property in a neighborhood deteriorates or is occupied by tenants who are noisy or show a lack of respect for the property of others.

If a property develops problems with lack of maintenance, dangerous electrical or physical issues, crime, noise, overgrown vegetation or trash, or abandoned cars in the yard, some City of Raleigh ordinances may assist in bringing the property into compliance.

Please remember that you should also be a good neighbor by trying contacting the property owner first to inform them of the problem. Most landlords want to keep the property in good shape and may not know of a problem when it exists. If the landlord is unresponsive, check the list below for your next step.

1. If a crime has taken place or is suspected to be happening, call 9-1-1

2. For problems with loud or unruly tenants, call your district police station.

3. For problems with poor housing conditions, trash in the yard, or more than one unlicensed vehicle parked on the property, call the Housing & Neighborhood Preservation Division at 919-996-2444.

What the City will do when you call?

For most problems on rental property, when the problem is brought to the attention of the City and appears to be a violation of one of the City's laws or ordinances, the property will be visited by either a police officer (if a crime or a violation of the noise or excessive party ordinance) or a City inspector. The officer or inspector will investigate. If it is a police matter, the officer will issue a warning or citation. If it is a building inspection issue, the inspector will issue an order to bring the property into compliance.

For housing and nuisance issues, a period of time will be allowed for the property owner to bring the property into compliance. If the property owner fails to do this within the allotted time, a civil penalty will be imposed. In some cases, the nuisance will be taken care of by the City and billed back to the property owner; the property owner will be required to obtain a Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit (PROP) for that unit.

The PROP will remain in effect for two years, when it will expire if no further violations occur at the same property. If further violations occur, much higher fines will be imposed and the property owner's ability to rent the unit may be withheld for up to a two-year period. Landlords who have a pattern of repeat citations at a rental property also must obtain the permit.

The Raleigh City Council adopted the PROP ordinance to:

  • Reduce the likelihood that tenant-occupied housing accommodations will become public nuisances in violation of City codes
  • Promote responsible management of tenant-occupied housing
  • Assist in providing a safe habitat for residents and neighbors of tenant-occupied housing
  • Safeguard property values
  • Reduce the likelihood that unsafe or unfit housing will exist or be occupied
  • Expedite the repair of residential housing accommodations where code violations occur

The City of Raleigh's regulations, including the PROP, are designed to encourage the property owner to comply with regulations. If a property owner is actively working to resolve the problem, City inspectors will attempt to work with them. But if the property owner chooses not to respond to correcting violations, the PROP ordinance gives the City the ability to remove the property owners' right to rent the unit.

The Housing & Neighborhood Preservation Division of the City of Raleigh Inspections Department at 919-996-2444 is responsible for enforcement of this ordinance. Access to other City Ordinances is available through Municode.

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