Apartment living is affordable and often fun. You make friends, you are a part of a community you actually see, and there’s usually a pool. That being said, what happens when your neighbor starts being less of a friend and more of a nuisance? Well, there are several avenues to explore when you find yourself next to or below a noisy neighbor. Note—these are avenues that do not involve poking the ceiling with a broom or banging against a wall at 3am. The truth is we’re all a little too old for games; therefore, we should try to address unavoidable everyday conflicts in a kind, strategic, and safe manner. Furthermore, you may still have to live next to this person(s), so healthy and effective conflict resolution just makes sense. Thus, without further ado, here a few ways to proactively deal with noisy apartment neighbors.
You’ve Won The Battle, But Have You Started A War?
First and foremost, going to war with your neighbors never ends well, nor is it advised. Thus, it would be best if you exhausted the proper channels before getting in a heated discussion with your noisy neighbor. In other words, know when to pick your battles. If you have chosen an apartment complex with several floors or thin walls, then overhearing your neighbor break-up with his girlfriend for the fifth time this week may be par for the course.
The reality is you are a part of a community, and a certain amount of noise and or sobbing is to be expected. Moreover, if you live in a family-friendly apartment complex, you should absolutely expect to hear the pitter-patter of little feet and the latest TikTok creation from time to time. However, if your neighbors are causing a disturbance almost every other day or throwing loud parties every Wednesday, then it may be time to pick this battle. You are entitled to peace and quiet, especially during late-night hours. Remember, if the noise is constituted as excessive, ready player one.
Speak Kindly, But With Intention
Often, before choosing to take more formal action, it may help to speak with your neighbors. Clearly, the best way to do this is with a cool head and not during the excessively noisy party. Instead, find a convenient time for both you and your neighbor to speak.
Speaking to your neighbor about the constant disturbance is a fair way to get your point across and avoid drama. Therefore, in addition to sitting down and having a chat, it may help you to write down what you want to say. By doing so, you can stay on track. You came over to address the noisy fights, the loud music, and your sleepless nights—don’t get distracted.
Nevertheless, if you prefer to go off script, then be upfront without being accusatory. Ask your neighbor if they noticed their music was especially loud on a weeknight? Or if they knew their son or daughter was playing the drums at three in the morning? Of course, if your calm discussion starts to go sideways or someone starts to lose their temper, then it is best to walk away. A screaming match typically doesn’t solve the problem—just ask your neighbor’s on and off again girlfriend.
Loud Pen Pals – Leaving A Letter
An alternative to the in-person chat is leaving a letter or note. Speaking in-person is usually the best course of action, but if you know your neighbor has a temper or is passive-aggressive, a letter may be best. However, the same rules apply. Keep it short, to the point, and non-accusatory. They say you attract more bees with honey and remember you live next to the hive. By staying on topic, you can adequately inform your neighbor of the issue and hopefully get everything resolved.
Once your letter has been received, all you can do is wait. Do not write a new note every other day. If, in spite of your message, your neighbor continues to be loud and disregard your concerns, then it may be time to consider the next step. Hopefully, you and your neighbor can come to a compromise that works for both of you (Surprise! That’s what a compromise is). For example, if your neighbor’s child needs to practice for band camp, maybe you can agree on a specific time for band practice that does not interfere with your use and quiet enjoyment of your apartment.
Filing A Formal Complaint
If a compromise cannot be reached, then you may want to consider filing a formal noise complaint. Filing a formal complaint should be the last option, but if you have done everything in your power to resolve the issue with your neighbor to no avail, then it’s time to have the management company or landlord step in. When filing a noise complaint with your apartment complex, make sure you’ve gone over your lease before submitting your complaint to be clear on your rights and available options. Going over your rental agreement should also point you in the right direction in regards to who exactly you need to speak with to resolve this issue. Overall, a variety of resolutions may occur, including a warning, a fine, or possibly an eviction if your neighbor does not comply.
If you decided to file a report with the police, that is your choice. That being said, you should keep in mind that submitting a police report will likely provoke your neighbor. So be on guard and do not engage after filing a grievance. Here, your neighbor faces similar consequences (a warning, fine, eviction, etc.), however getting the police involved may result in a ticket, which may have criminal/civil repercussions.
Request A Change
Last but not least, if feasible, you may want to consider relocating to another unit or floor. You more than likely will need to be nearing the end of your lease, but if you feel like moving, you should speak to management. Requesting an apartment change is serious business and should not be taken lightly. Moreover, your request may cause your landlord to take other actions against your neighbor.
Remember, most apartment renters are reasonable, hard-working people who want to enjoy their living space, just like you. Moving, even if it’s to another unit within the building or apartment community, is still a tedious task that often isn’t cheap. Therefore, you should absolutely take some time to mull over a unit change request. Fighting with your neighbor is never fun, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel—so exhaust all your more amenable options first.
In the end, noisy neighbors are a side effect of apartment living, whether you like it or not.
Consequently, you may want to look at ways to drown out your neighbor before heading down the more difficult path. For starters, try out a ceiling cloud or acoustic fixtures. These nifty creations are designed to keep out/reduce noise. Another noise-canceling option is to rearrange your apartment furniture. Adding shelves, bookcases, and other denser pieces of furniture can help to absorb some of your neighbor’s noisiness. Also, consider putting some space between yours and your neighbor’s bathroom so you can self-care in peace. By adding over-the-toilet cabinets or storage, you can create more of a sound barrier between your apartment and your neighbors. Other solutions include sealing doors, shutting windows when possible, hanging wall art or tapestries, using a sound machine at night, and possibly investing in noise-canceling headphones or earplugs.