We’ve all had noisy neighbors, especially in an apartment complex or duplex. If anyone plays loud music, throws parties, or has a dog, you’ll hear them. It can disturb your sleep, wake babies, and reduce your quality of life.
If you have noisy neighbors, you have our deepest sympathies. You don’t have to deal with them forever, though. In fact, you have certain rights, and you can take steps to eradicate your noise problem. Here they are:
1. Have a Conversation with Your Noisy Neighbor
Always speak to the offending neighbor before you take official action. You don’t want to strain the relationship if you don’t have to.
In many cases, the neighbor might not realize how disruptive he or she is being. It can be difficult to gauge how loud you can play your music before the neighbors hear it. The offender will sometimes fix the problem as soon as it’s made known.
At the very least, you’ll get an explanation, which can make the noise easier to bear. For example, your neighbor might explain that he’s working on house-training a barking dog, and the noise should disappear in a couple of weeks. The noise might not vanish immediately, but you’ve been assured it will end soon.
2. Talk to the Landlord
If that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to go to a higher level. Your landlord should have a procedure to follow for serious noise disruptions, and a reminder of the contractual agreement or a threat of eviction is often all it takes.
If there’s no improvement after the landlord addresses the issue, the neighbor can be evicted for failure to comply, which removes the problem.
3. Call the Police
There are some cases in which a noise problem may go beyond you and the landlord. If you’re a homeowner dealing with a noisy next-door neighbor, the police should be your first call (after speaking to the neighbor on your own, of course).
The police are required to check out disturbances of the peace and issue fines for noncompliance. You might also call them if the landlord fails to address the issue. Some landlords won’t deal with noise complaints, which means the police have to step in.
Certain specific noise issues warrant a police response. For example, if your neighbors are throwing a wild party and you know drugs or minors consuming alcohol are involved, the police should be notified immediately.
The same goes for a situation that sounds like domestic abuse. In those instances, don’t bother calling your neighbor or your landlord, but go straight to the police.
4. Dampen Sound
Some people are more sensitive to noise than others. You might also live in an apartment with thin walls or doors that allow you to hear even the slightest sounds from next door. In that case, creating sound dampeners in your apartment is the best move.
Professionally designed dampeners for doors and window sills may be the answer if you don’t mind spending the money. But you can achieve a similar effect with rolled-up towels or thick plastic over the windows.
Empty rooms are also catalysts for noise. If you haven’t gotten around to decorating yet, put up canvas artwork and other décor. Soft décor is better than hard because it will absorb sound and reduce the echo in your room.
Another great way to dampen sound is to use a white noise machine. It won’t solve your noise problem, but it will make it less noticeable, especially when you sleep.
Sometimes, it’s easiest simply to move apartments, especially if you’re not attached to the neighborhood or your unit. If you can’t get your landlord to solve the noise problem, and police warnings don’t persuade your neighbors, find a new place.
Find reviews of new complexes and speak with the neighbors. Avoid apartments with neglectful neighbors or thin walls and doors. You may not be able to escape noise completely, but screening neighborhoods carefully can diminish future issues.