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Be considerate of neighbors when improving your home

Updated August 23, 2022

You've obtained a building permit, hired a good contractor and chosen the paint and carpet for your new den. But have you overlooked your neighbors?

The Cerritos Building and Safety Division receives frequent complaints from residents unhappy with the dust, noise and traffic of their neighbors' home improvement projects. If you're planning a major home fix-up, follow these tips:

  • Never put your neighbors in the position of having to complain about your project; be considerate at all times.
  • Obtain approval from the City's Planning Division and a building permit before starting your project. City staff will make sure your project meets guidelines for safety, appearance, size and placement.
  • Before your project starts, visit your neighbors and explain your project. Let them know that you and your contractor will do your best to minimize inconveniences and that they can call you to report any problems.
  • As a goodwill gesture, some homeowners offer to pay for their neighbors' window cleaning, yard clean-up, etc., once their project is completed.
  • Normal work hours for contractors should be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays.
  • If your project will be noisy, ask your neighbors if they prefer a certain time of day for noisy work to be done.
  • Never allow your contractor to cause excessive noise. Jackhammers and saws are common culprits.
  • Be sure that your contractor's vehicles are parked legally and don't block your neighbors' driveways.
  • Keep delivery of materials to a minimum and ask your contractor to make sure delivery trucks come at a reasonable time of day.
  • Don't leave trash or construction debris in public view. If necessary, rent a dumpster from Athens Services, the City's trash collector, by calling (562) 259-1239. If you plan to keep the dumpster in the street, you must obtain a one-week, $25 permit from the Public Works Department. A one-week extension can be arranged over the phone for no extra charge. Call (562) 916-1219 for details.
  • Never hose down dirt and trash from your driveway, curbs or gutters. This pollution flows straight to the ocean through the City's storm drain system. Sweep instead.
  • Never start a project that you can't complete in a reasonable amount of time.

If you have concerns about a neighbor's home improvement project, first try talking to the neighbor. If this doesn't solve the problem, reports can be made to the following numbers:

  • Call the Building and Safety Division at (562) 916-1209 to verify that your neighbor has a building permit, to check on the status of a construction project or if you suspect your neighbor is using substandard material.
  • Call the Code Enforcement Division at (562) 916-1203 to report an ongoing problem with trash or debris in public view or overgrown weeds.
  • Call the Engineering Division at (562) 916-1219 to report trash, debris or other obstacles on City streets or sidewalks.
  • Call the Cerritos Sheriff's Station/Community Safety Center at (562) 860-0044 to report extreme noise or "disturbing the peace" violations.

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