How to Deal With Noisy, Annoying Neighbors
Did you know that your neighbors could impact the selling price if you were to try to sell your house? No one wants to live next to noisy, annoying neighbors, so why would they buy a place where they’re stuck with them?
If you live in an apartment, it’s not quite as easy to get away, though. Unless you’ve scoped out the people living in the homes near yours, you’ve signed a lease and are stuck.
Whether you were there first or moved in and then realized the problem, your neighbors are becoming a nightmare. When you find yourself in this predicament, what can you ethically and legally do?
For renters and homeowners, these tips will show you how to handle your difficult neighbors.
1. Put Up a Sound Barrier
In general, people don’t want to deal with confrontation, so the first thing they’ll do is try to adjust to the noise.
Is there a pattern when you’ve noticed your neighbors are the noisiest or most aggravating? Let’s go through some sound barrier suggestions and see if any of them might help:
- Are they the loudest when they’re outside? Sealing your door and window edges with insulating foam sealant can reduce the sound waves that come through openings.
- Is it hard for you to sleep through their noise? A white noise machine could completely drown them out and let you sleep like a baby.
- Can you hear almost everything they say through the walls? If so, chances are, they hear you, too. This usually happens because of poor insulation or not enough thickness between the two homes.
Acoustic panels that absorb noise stop the sound waves from bouncing around your flat surfaces. It makes it a little quieter, but it’s not a full solution.
- Do you have a problem enjoying the peace of your backyard because of their noise levels? Talk to the landlord if you need permission to bring in some sound-absorbing features, like shrubs or a large water fountain.
Some complexes provide fenced-in yards for extra soundproofing and other benefits. Backyards also have lots of privacy advantages, as Christopher Todd Communities discusses here. If your yard has a fence around it, it’s easier to install sound barriers.
Still not enough to keep you sane? These next tips should help you out.
2. Just Go Talk to Them
The simplest solution is often the most obvious. When you’re not irritated, knock on their door and talk to them.
You might find them annoying and rude, but it could be something as simple as they had no idea how noisy they were being. By telling them politely that you can hear them, they may be completely embarrassed and appreciate that you let them know.
Be prepared, though. The conversation could go south if they really are the rudely annoying neighbors you thought they were. However, unless you’re obnoxious back, the most that is likely to happen is you’ll get the door slammed in your face.
Either way, document that you tried to have a civilized conversation to solve the problem. Write down what you said and their response. That way, if the issue doesn’t resolve, you’ll have evidence to give the authorities of what you’ve done so far.
3. Research Your Rights
If you’re a renter, pull out your lease and look for any rules about noise levels. There should be a section that defines what a disturbance is according to the apartment’s manager.
This usually goes by the county or city laws and ordinances. Your early bedtime doesn’t justify a noise complaint if the city says people have until midnight to enjoy their loud music.
Before You File a Complaint
If you plan to file a complaint about a noise violation, make sure it’s a legitimate one. But if the problem doesn’t technically qualify as a violation, you can talk to your landlord to see if anything else can be done.
Typically, law enforcement won’t get involved unless there are a lot of complaints or it’s a flagrant violation of the city’s noise ordinance. If there’s a concern of violence, though, they may step in.
If your neighbor has threatened to harm you if you call the cops or they are trying to intimidate you, don’t confront them on your own. Have your landlord or a police officer with you.
Whatever you do, remember that you catch more flies with honey. How kind you are usually makes a difference in the response you get.
And even if it doesn’t, you know you did the best you can. You can feel good about yourself, no matter how the situation turns out.