How to Deal with Neighbors' Noise
When you live in an apartment for long enough, you’re bound to come across noisy neighbors. Whether it’s loud music, a noisy dog, or an alarm clock that doesn’t seem to shut off in the morning, it’s tough to find peace and quiet when renting next to loud neighbors.
Everyone deserves to feel comfortable being at home, and so do you. Unfortunately, a noisy neighbor can make or break a place to live and sometimes the only option is to find another home. But, unless you have terrible neighbors who don’t listen no matter what you say, there are ways to make it work. And you won’t become enemies with your neighbor in the process.
Here are the Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Loud Neighbors:
Do try to block out the sound.
Sometimes a fan or white noise machine can do the trick if you can hear your neighbors through the wall. This is helpful during the day, when you can’t really complain about your neighbors being noisy and you need some peace and quiet. If you don’t have a fan, you can turn on the bathroom fan to try and block out some noise.
You can also try earplugs or noise canceling earmuffs or play your own music to muffle the sound. Blocking out the noise can work for temporary situations when it doesn't’ seem like the right time to confront your neighbor.
Do talk to your neighbor.
Go to the source of the problem before contacting your landlord or the police about loud neighbors. Talk to your neighbor when you’re in a calm state of mind. You don’t want to knock on their door after the noise has already put you in a bad mood. There’s a chance you might insult your neighbor and make the situation worse. If your neighbor starts to play loud video games at 8pm every night, reach out to them right before the noise starts.
A conversation can go a long way, and some people have no idea they’re being loud. You can also offer to exchange phone numbers in case it happens again. The best way to talk to your neighbor is by being kind and direct. Let them know you don’t mind if they play their music during the day, but after 9pm you need to get some sleep. You can even ask if you’re doing anything that bugs them and work on a mutual agreement to respect each other’s requests.
Do keep records of your conversations.
As you start to work on addressing the issue, make a note of when you talk to your neighbor about the noise. Keep track of the date and time, including when you reach out to your landlord. Your situation most likely won’t resort to any legal actions, but it’s best to keep track of what is going on. This is a good way to find a pattern in the behavior, too, in case your property manager wants to stop by and investigate.
Do check your lease.
If your lease has a noise clause and your neighbors are clearly breaking the rules, contact your landlord. Typically, if there is a noise clause and it happens more than three times, your landlord has the right to fine or evict the noisy tenant. It shouldn’t resort to eviction, but it could be enough to scare your noisy neighbor to be quieter.
Don’t take it personal.
When we have noisy neighbors, it’s easy to wonder if they are doing it out of spite. After all, you know how to be a respectful neighbor and they don’t seem to care. But, sometimes it’s difficult to know just how loud we are being. They are most likely not doing it on purpose to tick you off, and that’s why it’s best to talk to them about it.
Don’t insult your neighbor.
Avoid making the situation worse with your neighbor. Even if they don’t listen and you’ve given it a few tries, work on being civil. There is more you can do if they decide not to listen to your complaints. Don’t resort to making them feel bad, or they just might turn their speaker up a little higher.
Don’t leave a note.
Writing a note to your neighbor might have the opposite effect you’re looking for. If you haven’t talked to them face to face about the noise yet, a note might come across as rude or offensive. And if it comes across as too polite, they might not think what they’re doing is wrong. It’s easy to misunderstand a note, so try to meet in person and express your struggles directly.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to keep the peace and enjoy being at home in your apartment. If you find that nothing seems to be working, maybe you can talk to your landlord about breaking the lease early. This could open up your landlord’s eyes and help them see they do have a noise problem that needs to be resolved.
Have you struggled with noisy neighbors in the past? Share some do’s and don’ts of your own!