Advertisement

Property in Spain For Members

Noisy bars and clubs in Spain: What are my rights?

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
Noisy bars and clubs in Spain: What are my rights?
What are your rights in Spain when it comes to noisy bars and clubs? Photo: Sebastian Ervi / Pexels

There's no denying that Spain is noisy, and its propensity for party means loud music and rowdiness from bars and nightclubs is a nightmare for many neighbours who can't sleep due to the noise. So how can they fight it?

Advertisement

In this article, we’ll be specifically looking at what you can do about noise from bars and clubs, so you can find out what the law is and what are your rights.

If you want to know what your rights are on noise from construction, find out here and what to do about noisy neighbours here

Noise from bars is a typical problem in Spain because many of them are located on the ground floors of blocks of flats. Another reason is that when the warm weather arrives in summer, bars move outside and so the sound floats up to your window so much more easily. Add this to the fact that streets are often narrow and music reverberates around plazas, and it’s easy to see why it’s a common problem.

We all know Spaniards love to party and about the late-night culture, here, so while in some countries, nightlife spots close much earlier, in Spain they can often be open all night.

So, what you can do if you find yourself living near a bar or nightclub? Do you have to simply put up with it every weekend and not sleep or is there something you can do?

Firstly, it’s important to note that all nightlife venues in Spain are required to comply with regulations regarding noise levels and closing times. They must also be respectful of neighbours.

City councils and regional authorities are granted the power to regulate noise in the areas where leisure venues are located, so it’s important to find out what your local regulations are. Establishments must also use insulation to adhere to these rules.

Advertisement

In general, according to Law 7/2002 on protection against noise pollution, these are the maximum sound levels allowed for leisure venues:

Nightclubs: 104 decibels
Venues with musical entertainment: 90 decibels
Game rooms: 85 decibels
Bars and restaurants: 80 decibels

There are plenty of apps you can download on your phone, so you can check the noise level from your apartment or home. If they are above these numbers, then you know the establishments are breaking the law.

Steps you can take:

Talk with the owner

If loud music is an issue, the first step is to let the owner of the bar or club know. If you can’t find the owner because they’re not on-site, get their contact details from a member of staff. If they will not hand them out to you, you can always go to your local Town Hall and find out.

Put a message in writing to the owner, so they know the noise levels are disturbing you. Talk to them about how it’s affecting your sleep and the health and well-being of you and your family.

Advertisement

Take action with your neighbours

If the problem persists, speak with your neighbours to find out if they are angry about the noise too. Get a group of people together who all feel the same way and bring the problem up at your next meeting of owners. Try to get the president of the building association involved too.

Contact the bar or club owner again as a group explaining how many people are affected.

READ ALSO - 'La comunidad': What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations

Find out if the club is entirely legal

Perhaps the bar or club hasn’t followed all the rules correctly, so it’s important to find out if the establishment as a whole is legal.

Check that the nightclub or leisure venue has all the necessary permits for this type of business such as opening and activity licences. This information can be obtained from the City Council.

The premises must have adequate soundproofing, but often because a licence is needed to carry out the works, they don’t bother.  

If any of these are not in order, then you can report them to your local town hall.

Advertisement

Check closing times

Another point you can check is if the venue is closing when it should be. You can contact your local ayuntamiento to find out when this should be.

Stand outside the bar or club at closing time and see if they shut their doors at the correct time. If not, call the police so that they can witness the infringement.

Closing time means that there shouldn’t be any clients or workers left in the building at that time. Even if the door is shut, but the staff are still inside, it still counts as breaking the rules.

Contact the police

If the noise problem still continues after these steps, it’s necessary to bring in the police. They can carry out their own checks to see if any laws are being breached and hear the problem it’s causing for you and your neighbours.

If the noises resume when the local police leave, call them again. It’s your right to be able to sleep and relax if the clubs are breaking the law.

If you have the support of other neighbours, you can coordinate making the calls so the police receive complaints from more than one person in the building.

The record of the police report will be very useful in filing a report if you need to take your case to court.

Advertisement

Contact the owner again

If the owner still isn’t complying, even after the police have been to talk to them several times, you need to put your complaint to them in writing again, stating all the steps you have taken and the laws they are breaking.

Again mention how it is detrimental to the health of you and your neighbours. Send it via Burofax so that you have legal proof that the owner has received it.

Report the venue to the City Council

Report the noise pollution to the City Council, and demand that they enforce the Municipal Ordinances and Regulations.

Contact a lawyer

If all else fails, it’s time to contact a lawyer and file an official complaint to the courts. Keep in mind, this may be a long and stressful process and it may be costly for you too.

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also