By Matt Mitchum
You are a savvy apartment dweller with a home you intend to enjoy. Your furniture is arranged the way you like it, you've got a good routine going, but there's just one thing getting in the way of a relaxing time: Noisy neighbors.
Sharing a building with other families always brings the risk that at least one neighbor will cause a ruckus. It might be an energetic dog, a poorly timed workout routine, a toddler with a big wheel, or an inexplicable need to vacuum in the small hours of the morning. It might be a noisy TV, frequent parties, or just unusually audible voices.
Whatever the cause, the best way to deal with noisy neighbors is to seek a conflict-free solution. Here are some very useful tips on how to deal with both cooperative and uncooperative neighbors whose noise may be preventing your peace at home.
Ask Them Nicely to Respect Your Schedule
The first and fastest solution is often to ask your neighbors nicely to compromise on the noise. Necessary activities might be better scheduled for waking hours, or they might not realize that their action movies are carrying through the vents with such clarity. For nice people asked nicely, a personable solution is often easy to find.
Knock and Ask Politely
When the noise is occurring, knock politely on the door and compassionately ask your neighbors if there's any way to reduce the noise. Let them know why the noise is bothering you (it's late, you work at home, your kids have to sleep, or the sounds are literally shaking your pictures off the walls) and ask to help find a solution.
Leave a *Politely* Worded Note
If schedules don't permit you to meet in person, or the door isn't answered, leave a very very polite note. Re-write if you're frustrated to avoid sounding passive-aggressive (or just plain aggressive). Remember that not all noise is on purpose and anger won't solve these problems. Always offer to help and ask politely for solutions.
Bring a Plate of Cookies to Chat Over
If you're feeling social, consider bearing gifts when you come to chat about the noise. Bring a plate of cookies or something similar and offer to chat about the noise problem.
Offer to Agree on Noisy vs Quiet Hours
Instead of simply asking your neighbors to "quiet down", suggest that you agree on noisy vs quiet hours. They may need to work out at home, but not after 10 PM. They may have a noisy project but might be willing to do it mostly on the weekends. In fact, this is a good time to offer your own compromise to their hours, as well.
Reduce Noise Transference in Your Home
Many apartment buildings have noise transference between units that you can reduce with a few apartment-friendly modifications to your home decor. Fabric and foam can help absorb sound and prevent sound from passing into (or out of) your apartment.
Lay Rugs and Hang Drapes
Lay more rugs on the floor and cover your walls with fabric. Soundproof blankets are the best, but heavy curtains and decorative cloth tapestries are also a beautiful and functional way to insulate your home from cold and sound at the same time.
Draft Stoppers and Window Insulation
Lay draft-stoppers under the doors to minimize sound transference and consider foam or heavy curtains for each window that may rattle with your neighbor's sound system.
Soundproof Air Vents
Is the noise coming through the vents? Ductwork and vents have a way of carrying vibrations, but you can work with this, too. Foam baffles (a ridgy foam box) around each vent can allow air to flow, but also catch most of the sound coming through those vent registers.
Noise Reduction Panels on the Connecting Wall or Ceiling
Noise reduction panels are ridgy foam squares that can be elegantly placed around your home. These mostly keep sound in, but they can also help to keep sound out by absorbing it from the walls before it reaches your ears.
White Noise or Soft Music in the Home
White noise can also help. If you are bothered by softer sounds like the muffled sound of a neighbor's television or occasional footsteps, a white noise generator can help keep your home peaceful and quiet. White noise simply blocks out sound waves and replaces them with gentle almost-emptiness.
Playing soft music, ocean sounds, and generic static can all help you feel more private in your home.
Offer to Help Reduce the Noise Transference in Their Home
Once you've mastered sound reduction in your own home, you might offer to help your noisy neighbor insulate their apartment against transferring noise to everyone nearby. Those who can't help the noise (children, disability, necessary activities, etc ) may appreciate you reducing the times their door is knocked on for noise they can't fully stop.
Contact the Property Manager
Finally, if you have tried every reasonable diplomatic angle and your neighbors are actively refusing to work with you on a compromise solution, it's time to call the property manager. While you should never call the police on a noise complaint unless you genuinely think someone is in danger, your property manager is the final referee in matters between apartment residents. You have a right to peacefully enjoy your home, and a neighbor who is willfully encroaching on that right may need to be talked to by someone who has authority over the building.
Let your property manager know with a full yet neutrally stated account of the events. Share the details of when and how you asked for compromise and your neighbor's response each time. This helps your property manager tackle the situation while fully informed of what they're getting into and the steps that might be necessary.
Peaceful Apartment Living with Pangea
Pangea Real Estate is a proud network of multi-family properties including residential communities in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Baltimore. We are always happy to help families find a cozy home that is just the right size and location – and w also know that sometimes disputes between tenants must be settled in a diplomatic and efficient way. You can rely on Pangea property managers to take care of your unit, your family, and the shared apartment community where you live with attention and responsiveness.
For more smart apartment lifestyle tips or to find your next apartment with a property management team that cares about your family's well-being, contact us today.