Noisy neighbours can make your life miserable. Whether it’s a loud stereo, endless parties, or the sound of feet pacing overhead, living next to someone noisy can be an enduring source of stress and irritation.
In many cases, you might be able to deal with a noisy neighbour without ever having to go to court. However, if you are forced to take more severe measures, knowing how the legal system works can help you protect yourself.
There are many ways to handle noisy neighbours, from legal measures to peaceable, “good neighbour” options. Here’s how.
How to Deal with Noisy Neighbours in 9 Simple Ways
You have many options available to you when dealing with noisy neighbours, so read on to learn more.
Talk to them
The first thing you should do is speak to your neighbour about the noise they’re making. They may not even be aware that they’re loud, so they may be happy to turn down the volume.
Whether you live in a house or an apartment, it’s always essential to maintain good communication with the people surrounding you. It’s the first thing you should attempt to do when you have a problem with noisy neighbours, especially if this is the first time something like this is happening.
If your neighbour is having a party and you’re finding it hard to sleep, knock on their door politely and ask them if they could keep it down so that they don’t disturb you (and others). If they’re reasonable, they’ll comply.
It’s also essential to make sure that your request isn’t rude or aggressive because it will only worsen matters. Also, understand that there are times of the day when a bit of noise is allowed, so if they’re not disturbing you at unreasonable hours, accept it as part of living in a dynamic community.
If necessary, write to your neighbour
Sometimes it’s not easy talking to people face-to-face, mainly if they live next door and you don’t know them very well. So, if you’ve tried to speak with your neighbour but things haven’t worked out, it might pay to put your thoughts in writing and send them a letter instead.
Here are some tips for writing to your neighbour:
● Be clear, calm, and polite. Tell them in a friendly way that there’s a problem and explain why it’s bothering you. It’s best to stick to the facts and avoid making judgments about whether they’re being “noisy” or “antisocial.”
● Make suggestions. Suggest times when it might be quieter or ask if they’d be willing to change how they use their space. You could also suggest ways they can reduce the noise. For example, if they have noisy parties, maybe they could invite guests inside rather than into the garden.
● Try to come up with solutions together. If your neighbour agrees that there’s a problem, you could try to find a solution together. For example, you might agree on certain times of day when loud music should be played or suggest that your neighbour speaks more quietly on their phone when outside.
Inform your landlord
If you live in an apartment building and struggle to get along with your neighbour, talk to your landlord about it. They might intervene on your behalf by speaking directly to the person concerned and requesting them to keep things quiet.
Alternatively, a landlord might also be able to move a particularly noisy tenant away from you – especially if they’re on the bottom floor and their noise results from running kids and barking dogs. They might even be able to move you if they decide that another unit would suit your needs better.
If you’re worried about repercussions from your neighbour, keep in mind that most tenants’ agreements require landlords to uphold a “quiet enjoyment” clause, meaning that tenants should be able to live in the property without excessive disturbances.
Check your local council’s noise laws.
When talking to your neighbours doesn’t work, it’s time to contact your local council. The law slightly varies from council to council, but most allow councils to step in and help when neighbours are having problems with each other.
A council member may be able to come out and speak with both parties involved, or they may be able to provide you with a number for the police complaints department.
In general, the best way for councils to deal with these sorts of disputes is for both parties involved (you and your neighbour) to agree on a course of action.
This can include setting a specific time that music can go until or a maximum acceptable noise level. Councils will also sometimes refer neighbours arguing over noise complaints to mediation services.
Soundproof the party wall
Soundproofing a party wall can make a big difference. However, it is essential to note that you’ll need to seek permission from your neighbours before undertaking any work on the party wall. This is because the party wall belongs to both properties, so anything you do to it could affect them too.
To start soundproofing your party wall, you’ll need to understand which type of noise is coming through it and how it is getting there in the first place. Not all noise will travel through solid walls – some may be travelling through cracks, gaps, or pipes. Soundproofing foam or sealant can help block the sound travelling through these areas if this is the case.
The most effective way to stop noise coming through a party wall is to add a second layer of plasterboard over the top of the existing fence. This will help absorb the sound and prevent it from travelling into your property.
If you don’t want to add an extra layer of plasterboard, you could also try using acoustic plasterboard instead. You could even try adding double glazing if your neighbour has windows that face into your property – this will help reduce noise and keep the room warmer at night too!
Use a mediation service.
Mediation can be an excellent way to compromise in disputes with neighbours, but it is not suitable for every situation. For example, if your neighbour is violent and you think they might become aggressive towards you or a mediator, it is better to contact the police.
Mediation involves sitting down with your neighbour and the mediator to discuss the problem and reach an agreement. It’s not a legal process, so it’s up to you whether you go along with any agreements made.
But if you do agree to something during mediation, it can be used as evidence if your case goes to court. There are also independent services that will help you make legally binding written agreements with your neighbours that can be enforced by the courts if necessary.
If you’re unsure about using mediation, go to your citizens’ advice bureau first. It can help you decide whether mediation is right for you.
When your neighbours’ noise doesn’t stop after speaking with them, then you’ll have to escalate things. Start by documenting the noise to have evidence should you need it later.
Keep a diary of the dates, times, and descriptions of what’s going on. This will be useful when taking legal action against your neighbours or making complaints to the council or police.
You can also record the sound of your neighbours’ music, shouting or screaming — but be aware that recording people without their permission is illegal in many countries. An alternative is to take photos of the noise source (e.g., a large party) and ask other neighbours to sign a witness statement testifying that this was happening at certain times.
The more evidence you have, the better chance you’ll have to resolve the situation without involving anyone else.
Get the police involved if noisy in unnecessary hours.
When all else fails, you can contact the police station and make a formal complaint about the noise being generated by your neighbours. The police may attend if they’re available but bear in mind that they may not participate unless someone’s safety is threatened.
Police officers in some states have the power to issue a warning or fixed penalty notice to anyone who is making too much noise. All these actions can be taken without taking the matter to court.
If the police have given your neighbour a verbal warning, written warning, or fixed penalty notice and they continue to make too much noise, you can report this back to the police. The police may then decide to issue further warnings or fixed penalty notices, or they could decide to take your neighbour to court.
When you’re struggling to cope with your noisy neighbours and feel you’ve exhausted all other options, sometimes the best thing you can do is move house.
If you’re renting, speak to your landlord or let the agent know about the problem as soon as it becomes an issue.
You should be able to break your lease if the noise is extreme and has an impact on your day-to-day life – for example, if it’s preventing you from sleeping at night. This can often be the case with disputes that involve antisocial behaviour.
If you own the property and are experiencing ongoing issues with those living next door, moving might be the best option for you, depending on your situation.
Always try to resolve neighbour-to-neighbour issues first with peaceful conversation. Living near other people will indeed give rise to conflicts and problems. But anything can be settled amicably if everyone is willing to do it. Start with small conversations try to solve things together. You may have to compromise a bit in the end, but all’s well that ends well.