Majority oppose allowing towns to fine disorderly neighbors - 318 participants, 710 responses

Aug 13, 2016

In Pittsfield last month, a discussion took place at a Board of Selectmen meeting regarding whether homeowners or landlords should be fined if police are called to a residence more than twice in one month. Drafted by Pittsfield Police Chief Jeff Cain, the proposed disorderly residence ordinance would cover all “disorderly activities,” which would include excessive noise, parties or public intoxication. Read more about this issue. On August 13, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should towns be able to fine disorderly neighbors?”

“Should towns be able to fine disorderly neighbors?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Fining Disorderly Neighbors NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 318 participants gave 710 responses

A total of 82% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 18% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 710 responses from 318 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A majority, at 60% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, opposed allowing towns to fine disorderly neighbors.

  • “Some live next to people who complain over nothing. I could see this not being applied fairly each time.”
  • “To [punish] people who have nothing to do with and are not in control of the situation is not right. Is this going to give landlords the chance of evicting the problem people without a long, drawn out and costly eviction process?”
  • “Most towns have existing noise ordinances that have fines attached so this seems redundant.”

Yes:  The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 40%, supported allowing towns to fine disorderly neighbors.

  • “Yes… I am all for reaching out and trying to be neighborly as adults but that doesn't always work.”
  • “Your right to do what you want stops where someone else's right to peaceful enjoyment of their property begins.”
  • “People have to work and sometimes people who don't care will throw parties all night long when others are trying to get sleep.”

Other: As noted above, 18% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Responsibilities of landlords: “All landlords claim they aren't aware of such issues but the fact is they are aware but want to ignore it as long as possible.”
  • Limits to landlord authority: “I have been a landlord, and check references. Now and then, things just don't go well.”
  • What constitutes ‘disorderly’: “What's the definition of disorderly? My definition and yours could be two completely different things.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Do you think towns should be able to fine disorderly neighbors? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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