It seems like no matter where you go, how much you shell out for rent, or how great the area is – there is almost always that one noisy, rude neighbor who is either completely oblivious of the world around them, or they’re just flat out inconsiderate of others. While there are some noisy days that can be forgiven (New Year’s Eve, for example) – frequent noise disturbance can become more than just a nuisance, and in some cases it can become an extremely serious issue.
Tip #1 – Keep A Record!
When having issues with a noisy neighbor – you should keep a record of dates and times when the noise was an issue – whether it was too loud, a minor annoyance or just plain overwhelming. While it’s wishful thinking that the issue won’t escalate to a true point of seriousness – it is better to be prepared and safe, rather than sorry later on.
Tip #2 – Remain Polite At All Times!
In some cases, your neighbor may simply be unaware that they’re being too loud. Perhaps they simply have a heavy foot when walking across their floor (which may be your ceiling,) or they are unaware that their music is being heard through your shared wall (if they live above you, next to you, or below you.)
If this is the first offense and the first occurrence of the noise, then your safest bet is to go ahead and talk with your neighbor. Explain the issue with them – remember to remain calm and polite. If you go to their door and instantly jump down their throat, they will be less willing to work with you. By all means, do not go to their door and scream at them for being “the loudest, rudest neighbor on the face of the planet.” Do not insult their intelligence level – “Are you just completely stupid and unaware of other people who live around you?” This will not help you, and your neighbor could report you to management for harassment.
You are better off with something along the lines of “hey – I live (next door to, above, below) you and I don’t think you’re doing it on purpose but your (music, or other source of noise) is a bit loud and I can hear it clearly through the walls. Is it possible you could turn it down just a little? I would really appreciate it.” Remember, being calm and polite will get you farther than being rude.
Above all, no matter what their attitude may be – remain polite! Your neighbor will be more willing to work with you if you remain calm, kind, and polite – rather than attacking them as soon as they open the door. If you handle the situation correctly, chances are you’ll get an apology and the noise level will decrease greatly. If you’re really lucky, you won’t have to deal with the issue again.
Whatever you do, do not resort to threats or violence. You will only hurt yourself in the long run if you give your neighbor a reason to get back at you. Threatening them will only escalate things into an unnecessary and possibly dangerous situation.
However, if the issue persists – you’ll have to pursue more drastic measures.
Tip #3 – Time To Contact Management
If the noise issue continues, becomes more frequent, or becomes louder – it’s time to contact your landlord. Again, remember to remain calm and polite. Your landlord will be more willing to deal with your issue if you do not call them and scream into the phone about your “ridiculously rude neighbor!” Keep in mind that your issue is with your neighbor, not the management (not yet, anyway.)
Remember that record you started? You can use this to reference all the dates that were issues and alert the management to the frequency or severity of the situation. Also be sure to inform them that you’ve tried resolving the issue yourself and that you politely asked them to tone down the noise and they did not. Remember to mark down that you contacted management – and how many times you contacted management if you end up calling them more than once.
Most apartments have a “3 strikes” sort of policy, meaning it only takes 3 complains before more serious consequences are imposed onto the offending neighbor. It may only need to be 3 legitimate complaints by a single neighbor, or 3 different neighbors making the same complaint. If this is the case, it may be beneficial to your case to speak to the other neighbors who share a wall (or ceiling/floor) with your loud neighbor. Chances are if you hear the booming bass (or other noise,) then they can too – and it probably irritates them just as much as it irritates you.
Presenting a united front to your management will more than likely alert them to a serious noise issue. It will also help get faster results in managing your unruly neighbor.
Also, check into your lease. Chances are there are designated “quiet times” which are generally from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. The same applies for city ordinances – this is especially helpful if your neighbor tends to be more noisy later in the night. You can also use this information later if the issue continues to escalate.
Tip #4 – Involve A Higher Authority
The general rule of thumb is 3 complaints – if you’ve contacted management 3 or more times about the noise your neighbor is making, then it’s time to move to a higher authority.
When making a noise complaint to the police – stay calm! Again, your issue is with your neighbor, not the police and chances are if you’ve gotten to this point, you’re probably pretty aggravated.
While you may feel that you are annoying the police with a minor, petty annoyance – it will not help you at all if you just simply allow your neighbor’s bad behavior to slide. If you are to the point where the noise is occurring on a regular basis and you are contacting the police on a regular basis, it will only help make your case stronger for more serious consequences for your neighbor. Don’t feel bad at this point, your neighbor is no longer being reasonable and is clearly inconsiderate of others around them.
On the off chance that several weeks of police knocking on your neighbor’s door to tell them to tone down the noise isn’t helping – there are two last resorts.
Tip #5 – Is It Possible To Sue?
If you’ve gotten to the point where nothing has worked with your rude neighbor, and they’ve remained inconsiderate for several months – it is actually possible to sue them for noise disturbance. (Go ahead, google it!)
By this time, you’ve collected a written record over the course of several months starting with a simple talk to your neighbor, to contacting management, and finally police. You’ve recorded all the dates and times that have been serious issues and you should get copies of the police records and also see if you can get copies of your complaints to your landlord. These can be presented to a lawyer, who will help assess the situation and give you a better idea of how to go about suing your neighbor for unreasonable amounts of noise.
It is possible to sue your neighbor for a “daily noise fee,” which entitles you money for putting up with their noise. This fee will be based on the severity of the noise and can be anywhere from a few dollars a day to upwards of one hundred dollars a day. The court will order your neighbor to pay for each day where you have a proven record of the noise issue through management and police, as well as any days that are reported to the police thereafter. Your neighbor may think it’s a joke, but they won’t be laughing after they shell out a few thousand dollars for their repeated noise violations. It is unfortunate if you get to this point, however it is also unfair for you to have to put up with their rude behavior.
If this is not the route you wish to take, you can also look into suing your neighbor for the cost of terminating your lease and costs of moving into a new apartment. Look into seeing if your landlord will transfer you without the fees – but if not, you are entitled to suing them for the costs of moving.
It is also still possible for your neighbor to not care that he or she has been sued for noise violations. Perhaps mommy and daddy pay for everything and they continue on their noisy way. In which case:
Tip #6 – Instant Gratification
By the time your lease is up, you may have become absolutely fed up to no end with your neighbor. If this is the case, and you’re about to move out (or you’re not – it doesn’t really matter at this point:)
Go ahead. Rip your neighbor a new hole. If you’ve gone through all the proper steps to dealing with their noise and you’ve been polite throughout the entire ordeal, you deserve this! While it may be proper to wait until the day you move out – you should also be careful not to threaten or use any racial or insulting slurs. But, you will feel better after telling them what a “rude, inconsiderate jerk” they’ve been – in so many words.
If you’re not comfortable with face to face confrontation – leave a note on their door detailing their rude behavior and how they should consider a chance in lifestyle. They may have been the rudest neighbor you’ve ever lived by – make sure they know it. Make sure they know that next time there may not be a neighbor who is as nice as you, as many people are turning to violence and guns a lot quicker these days. (Just look at the escalated rate of kids shooting each other at school!)
In any case, hopefully these tips will help you tone down that noisy, obnoxious neighbor and help you get some well-deserved peace and quiet in your own home. You deserve it.