MY COTTAGE IS SITUATED NEXT TO AN APPARTMENT BLOCK. We have ajoining car parks [parking lots]. A neighbour from the building next door placed in concrete a professional basketball stand on the border of our 2 car parks .

The noise of the the ball smacking in to it resounds around our house. We are affected because it is placed right outside our our house it booms off of every wall in our house and can be heard in every room. For a whole year the noise was taking over our lives. I have 6 children, my children couldn’t even study for tests, let alone take a nap.

My husband begged them to take it down and after a year of youths coming and playing day and night and shabbos and yomtov [even though there was a curfew set of no playing after 8pm] We finally complained.

The neighbour after much ado suggested we build a wall at our expense with planning permission. It would probably need to be 8 foot tall, and we would lose half of our view. A compromise was reached that they would restrict play just to 2 families by placing a lock on it ,since the boys of theses families are away at school, this was a great improvement

However, of course when they return they play and our holidays are wrecked. The whole of pesach was a nightmare, and they would break the curfew. During Succot we couldn’t sit in our succah, summer vacation etc. we cant open our windows or sit in our garden. It makes us all stressed, and yet we are made to feel that we are the nudniks.

They have told us if we like we can find a way to silence the noise, presumably at our expense, as long as it doesn’t impede on their game. But it is made of steel and fiberglass, and they play very hard on it. We were advised that even if we try we will not be able to make much of a difference.

What is the halacha please?

Answer:

The way the question is presented, the noise disturbance goes far beyond the accepted levels, and you would be within your rights to prevent the neighbours from playing basketball, or to find an arrangement that does not disturb.

Sources: Concerning noise disturbance, see Rivash 196; Rema 156:2; Chazon Ish, Nezikin 13:11. In this case, playing basketball is not part of a person’s basic living requirements, and would therefore fit into the category that Chazon Ish writes of, whereby neighbours are in their rights to object to the noise. Questions of what is ‘normal’ or ‘bearable’ depend on the general custom, and in this case the level of disturbance certainly seems to be beyond the ‘normal.’

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