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How to Deal With Noisy Neighbors - 5 Tips

August 22, 2019

Whether you are dealing with musically-inclined, argumentative, or party people, a neighbor’s noisy habits can quickly become an issue. Especially if you’re trying to sleep or finished a long, stressful move.

Noisy neighbors can wreak havoc on the peaceful space that you call home. If you want to deal with noisy neighbors but not sure how to go about it, follow these 5 tips.

1. Pick Your Battles

Before deciding to move forward with confronting or reporting your noisy neighbors, it’s important to determine whether the battle is worth fighting. Whether you live in a complex with thin walls or a townhouse with next-door neighbors, you’re part of a community. 

Within your community, some noise is to be expected. If your neighbors are a family with infants or young children, be prepared for crying, screaming, and laughter. That’s what family life is. If they have dogs, expect occasional barking. Unless the noises genuinely detract you from enjoying your peaceful abode, it’s not something to complain about.

However, if your neighbors are throwing loud raucous parties every weekend or playing music at extreme volumes while you’re trying to sleep at night, it constitutes as excessive noise. Being in a community means being cognizant and respectful of others around you. Interrupting a good night’s sleep or simply disregarding your neighbors doesn’t fit that bill.

2. Talk to Your Neighbors

The first step to dealing with noisy neighbors is to talk to them about their noise levels and how to best remedy the situation. However, confrontation can be hard and uncomfortable. A simple complaint can be taken to nuclear levels when done incorrectly. Here are some tips to follow when confronting your neighbor with a noise complaint.

  • Remember Your Goal: Don’t stray off track. You’ve come to discuss a noise problem. Getting sidetracked by anger or simple distractions won't help your case. Choose a neutral territory to discuss the matter, whether you ask your neighbor out to coffee or meet them out in the street.
  • When in Doubt — Ask: Truthfully, your neighbors may not be aware of their discourtesy. It may help to phrase your complaint as a neutral question. Instead of “You’re playing music loudly every evening” try “Did you know that your music is pretty loud?” A question is less accusatory and may help avoid conflict.
  • If Things Get Heated, Walk Away - Worst case scenario, your argument turns to an all-out screaming match. You know, like the ones you try to avoid during family holiday dinners. If you sense the situation veering out of control, walk away. Excuse yourself, and leave it be. You’re not going to convince an irate person to listen to your noise complaint, it’s a waste of time.

3. Leave a Letter

Talking to your neighbors in person is definitely preferable to leaving them a letter. However, a letter may help to limit the chances of a screaming match between you and your neighbor. Letters also help to keep everything organized. When talking in person, it can be easy to lose your train of thought or to forget the entire speech that you prepared in your head.

A letter should address all of your concerns without being accusatory or passive-aggressive. Sometimes our anger or frustration can leak out when writing. To avoid this, have someone who isn’t familiar with the situation read the letter and check for potential sore spots.

4. Compromise

Any healthy relationship features a compromise or two. Your relationship with your neighbor is no exception. Suggest a compromise alongside your noise complaint. For example, if your neighbor is in a band that practices every night, suggest that they don’t practice after a certain time (like your bedtime). 

This will likely yield much better results than if you tell your neighbor they can’t practice at all. Asking your neighbor to compromise with you won’t hurt your relationship and comes from a place of mutual respect.

5. File a Noise Complaint

Filing a noise complaint is one of the last steps that you should take when dealing with noisy neighbors. Use this as a last resort when other, more peaceful, methods have failed to change your neighbor’s behavior.

When filing a noise complaint, you’ll have to determine who you would like to file the complaint with. If you live in the same complex, you may want to register a complaint with your landlord. If your neighbor lives next door in an apartment or townhouse that isn’t owned by your landlord, you might have to file with the police.

Before filing a noise complaint with your landlord, check to see if your lease agreement has a clause regarding noise. If you find a clause, be sure to point it out to your landlord, who may then issue a warning to your neighbor, followed by a fine if they continue to violate the terms of the lease. As a last resort, your landlord may evict the noisy neighbor if the situation is that serious.

When filing a report with the police, expect the same results. After a warning, the police may give your neighbor a ticket for continuing to disturb the peace with their noise.

Final Thoughts

Just like a lot of annoying things, noisy neighbors are a part of life. Unless you live in a secluded forest or at the top of a mountain, it's likely that you'll have to deal with one eventually. Knowing what steps to take when dealing with a noisy neighbor can be the difference between a screaming match and an amicable relationship with your neighbors. Choose the latter, it’s a lot easier in the end.

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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