Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Noisy Neighbor

I was reminded that we need to get along with our neighbours when I was talking to my next door neighbour and he was complaining about the fact his other neighbour had put a very noisy air conditioner unit on the side of his house, right beside the patio. Both sets of neighbours are nice people and I hope they can resolve this conflict without resorting to calling the noise by-law officer.

Back when I was younger, we had a noisy neighbour and even though I and others on the block did follow the steps outlined below, we ended up with a neighbour that disliked us. Lucky for us the issue remained unresolved and was fixed by a very move on my neighbour’s part.

Backyard barbecues that get out of hand, stereo system that’s heavy on the bass, a passionate couple who yell at each other 10 hours a day, whether a wall or a yard separates you, sometimes you and your neighbour just seem much too close.

A loud neighbour can make your life miserable. If he or she is making so much noise that it is disturbing your lifestyle, it is time to take action. Of course, you will want to silence the racket without antagonizing the person who lives in such close proximity. This is not an easy task!

Start by smiling. Catch your neighbour’s eye when you see him outside and give him a friendly nod. Then try to start a simple conversation. It is much easier for people to have a callous disregard for people they do not know at all. If you get to know your neighbour– even a little bit– you will be more likely to get a courteous response to your request that he be quiet.

During your pleasant little conversation, mention that you can hear your neighbours drum practice from your house or apartment. You will want to let her know that the practice sometimes wakes you up. In many cases, this revelation will be enough to let her know that her behaviour needs to change. She may not know, for instance, that her practising is audible outside her walls

Wait a few days after your conversation to see what happens. If you have informed your neighbour, kindly and calmly, that his raucous Friday-night parties are bothering you, and there is no change, you should go to his house at a time when no party is going on and mention in a more direct way that you would like him to lower the volume. Be clear and specific with your request although you should still be friendly.

If this does not solve the problem for you, you should wait until the next time your neighbour makes a big clamour. Then you should call the police. (Most cities have ordinances against excessive noise.) I hope that this will be enough to get your neighbours attention. Make sure you keep a record of your neighbour’s loud activities, and document the times that you have contacted your neighbour. You may even want to send her a note that explains your request and the steps that you will take to get her to comply. These steps can include filing a complaint with your apartment/condo manager, making a complaint to a homeowner’s association, or calling the police.

If the noise still does not stop, then you do not have any choice but to get ugly. Call the police again and be willing to fill out a complaint. While you will probably end up with a neighbour who dislikes you, at least you will be able to sleep at night. In most cases, the earlier steps will do the job.

My noisy neighbour issue was settled when he decided to sell his house and move to the interior to become a middle-aged hippie. We found out later that he had lost his job a year before and was living in his house without paying the mortgage. He sold at a day before the bank was going to repossess and sell his house. He still made a profit and moved, much to the thanks of all of us on the block.


  1. I guess a good talk can solve certain noise problems with your neighbor just like those that you've mentioned. A good attitude towards your neighbors truly means a lot if you want to have a good reputation, a peaceful living, and earn friends in your place. Just hold tight to your patience, and try not to let your tempers flare up, for it will only cause you more stress. Thanks for sharing, Royce! :)

    Daniel Roberson @ Mark Bentley PA

  2. Hi Daniel, your advice about holding your patience is good, and it helps if you are not the only neighbour affected, so you can help each other be patient.