Unless you live in an isolated location, chances are that you’ve had to deal with some sort of noise coming from your neighbors, whether it’s loud music, crying kids, barking dogs, or someone watching loud TV. If you live in a condo, apartment, row house, or any other type of housing where you’re near your neighbors, this may be something that you have to deal with daily. So how do you tell your neighbors to keep the noise down?
How do you tell your neighbors they are too loud? Approach your neighbor calmly and politely with your noise complaint. Explain how the noise is affecting you without being confrontational. You may find that they may not even be aware of the disturbance they’re causing. Suggest solutions that you think will suit you both – you could ask them to keep it down before or after certain times of the day, shut their windows to keep the noise in, or use headphones. If you’re not up for a face-to-face confrontation, another way you can let your neighbor know that they’re being too loud is to write them a note. Make sure to clearly explain to them what the problem is, and offer a proposed solution. If these options don’t work for you, it’s worth considering mediation. This involves getting an impartial person to help you communicate with each other in a non-confrontational way and hopefully agreed.
Noisy neighbors can make your home feel uninhabitable. Knowing how to approach a noisy neighbor requires a delicate balance of directness and diplomacy. Read on to find out how you can go about this issue.
A face-to-face talk
Start by having a conversation with your neighbor about the disturbance. You may discover that they may not even be aware that they’re being disruptive, so it’s best to approach them calmly and politely. You will realize that your neighbors are far more receptive if you approach them calmly and politely.
1. Let them know how disruptive the noise is to you
If you can find ways to make your neighbors see your point of view, it’s more likely that they will take your complaints seriously and work towards reducing their noise levels for your peace of mind. Once you’ve made it clear to your neighbor what behavior or activity of theirs is disrupting you, make sure to clearly explain how it’s affecting you – you may be a student, you may have to get up early for work the next day, or you may have young children who are disturbed by the excessive noise.
2. Timing is key
You want the best possible outcome from your conversation with your neighbor. Therefore, choosing the right time and place to bring up the issue is important.
For example, it may be counterproductive to approach your neighbor when they are in the middle of being rowdy or disruptive, especially if it’s late at night, or if you are agitated. It might be better to wait until everything settles down to bring up your concerns.
3. Refrain from being confrontational
You want to refrain from being accusatory when talking to your neighbor, and don’t threaten them. If you are hostile toward them, they are more likely to be defensive. If you feel like you’re too disgruntled to have a mature conversation, save it for a later date when you’re much calmer.
4. Suggest a compromise or come up with possible solutions
Rather than just asking your neighbor to stop doing whatever it is that is causing noise, it might help if you approach them with a plan in mind. Try to suggest a compromise or offer a reasonable solution that takes into account your neighbor’s right to live as they please in their unit.
- For example, if your neighbor is in a band that practices regularly, you can reach some sort of compromise, like no band practice after a certain time.
- If your neighbor’s dog barks at odd hours of the night, you can suggest that they place the dog in a different room in the house where you’re less likely to hear the noise.
Write a letter
While a face-to-face conversation is often the most effective strategy when it comes to dealing with a noisy neighbor, you may feel more comfortable writing them.
This option may be more suitable for you if you’ve never interacted with your neighbors at all or if your schedules don’t line up. In such cases, leave them a politely worded note on their door or in their mailbox. Make sure that your note points out what the issue is, and suggest a solution as well.
Seek the help of a mediator
If talking to your neighbor or writing them a note doesn’t work, you might want to consider mediation, which involves getting a neutral, third party person to help you talk to each other about the issue in a non-confrontational way and negotiate an agreement that favors you both. Sometimes an apartment manager or a board member on a housing association can serve as a mediator.
1. Talk to the landlord, management company, or housing association
If all the aforementioned solutions don’t yield the desired results, consider talking to the landlord, management, or housing association in charge of the building. Make sure you cite specific examples of noise disturbances by your neighbor, as well as times, and dates. You can also bring up any relevant building-specific or local regulations on noise. Remember to ask your landlord (or whoever you’re dealing with) to keep you in the loop and send you relevant updates once they’ve spoken to your neighbor.
2. Getting the authorities involved
If you’re getting nowhere with your neighbor, you may need to involve the authorities. Before reaching out to the authorities, you’ll need to confirm if your neighbor is being excessively loud.
- Most counties and cities typically have noise ordinances that stipulate what acceptable noises are, and many also outline quiet hours. These tend to vary from one place to another, so you’ll want to research the specific rules that apply to your area.
- If you live in a rental complex that is managed by a Homeowner’s Association, then your lease agreement will likely contain a noise clause. You’ll want to refer to this document to verify that your neighbors violate the rules before you go ahead to report them.
Once you establish you have a credible issue, try reaching out to your local council. They will likely have an environmental health department that will deal with certain types of noises, including barking dogs, loud music and parties, domestic noise such as washing machines or loud TV late at night, and noise from DIY projects at unreasonable hours. They don’t typically take action because of slamming doors, noisy children, raised voices, or arguments. Additionally, the department cannot act if someone creates what is considered to be a “normal” level of household noise, which you can hear as a result of poor sound insulation in floors or walls.
Each local council will handle noise problems differently, but these are the steps they will generally follow:
- When you report a noise issue, the council will make a record and might require you to fill in diary sheets to see if the noise is likely to be something they should follow upon.
- The next step they may take is to write to your neighbor to inform them that a complaint has been formally made. They might issue a warning about action being taken if the disturbance persists.
- If the noise persists, they might arrange to have noise recording equipment installed in your home, or have a council worker come to your home to witness the noise as it happens.
- If an environmental health official confirms that the noise disturbance fits the legal definition of “statutory nuisance”, they can give the offending neighbor a warning or legal order to put an end to it.
If your local council chooses not to intervene, you can take your neighbor to court. Keep in mind that this should be the very last option after all else fails. This is a difficult and expensive avenue – for the best results, consider seeking legal advice from a lawyer with experience in such issues.
You can involve the police if the noise from your neighbor involves harassment, assault, verbal abuse, or damage to your property. It’s illegal to use abusive, threatening, or insulting language toward someone in a common space. Therefore, the police can step in if you’ve been the victim of verbal abuse in a communal corridor, or if your neighbor hurled insults at you from a window.
Dealing with noisy neighbors doesn’t have to be a part of your home life. Start by discussing your noise issue with your neighbor in a friendly and calm way. If they’re not willing to minimize or eliminate the noise, you may have to raise the issue with their landlord, housing association, or management company, and in the worst-case scenario, take legal action.