Noisy Neighbors

By an edhat reader

I’m hoping for some guidance/advice on a noisy neighbor situation. I live in a triplex where I’ve rented for many years with no issues. It is an older structure so sound does travel more than it would in a newer building, but we have always been mindful of this and careful not to unduly disturb each other.

About 6 months ago, a couple moved in next door. They are noisy people who continuously slam doors sometimes as late as 11 p.m. at night and as early as 7 a.m., and who make significant amounts of banging, stomping and thumping noises on the floors and walls including against our shared wall. Recently a door was slammed after 11 p.m. followed by loud talking and banging that could be heard in my bedroom until close to midnight, and on other occasions doors have been slammed so hard my walls shake. I

‘m becoming a nervous wreck waiting for the next door slam, bang or thump. I have never suffered from insomnia or sleep problems, but now when I go to sleep I feel anxious that I will be woken up at any time by a loud slam, thump, bump or talking. They have been spoken to about this repeatedly and while they have quieted down, and are often extremely quiet for extended periods of time during the day and night, this still occurs at random times without warning. The police have said this is a noise violation but hard to address unless the police actually hear the noises when they arrive at the residence.

My LL has spoken to them as well, and asked for quiet between 10 pm and 7 a.m. Do I have any recourse here if my LL doesn’t do something, as she seems hesitant to do much more? Or is this something I am going to have to tolerate after years of living peacefully and quietly, and have to move now? Thanks in advance.


Written by Anonymous

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  1. Could it be someone is being overly noise sensitive? In certain living situations, you will hear the activities of your neighbors (eg, talking, closing doors/cabinets, walking around, etc). If it’s not yelling and making overly excessive noise, might not be much you can do about it. I used to live in the ground floor of a duplex with VERY thin walls and I could hear the guys upstairs walking around, closing doors and even talking. I went up to talk to them at first because it seemed so loud, but they were simply doing what everyone does in their home – walk from one room to another, close doors, etc. We even tried to look into heavy carpets to muffle the sound. They were great guys and we became great friends, but they had no idea how loud their normal activities were downstairs.
    What I’m saying is, you might be stuck with this, so at least talk to them and try to make peace. Calling the cops on people for talking and closing their doors is a bit aggressive.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. A few things – first, I already have spoken to them nicely, MANY times. That is why I finally had to involve my landlady who I have a great relationship with. I really did not want to as I never bother her with anything that I can handle myself but I had no choice as they obviously were paying lip service to me. Second, no police were called on them. A friend/lawyer suggested looking into noise ordinance and I called the police to ASK them if this IS a noise violation – because if I have to I’ll bring a nuisance complaint for money damages if they don’t stop. Third – I’m not overly sensitive to noise. Prior tenants also made noise but it was the normal stuff [walking, talking, moving furniture, that sort of thing]. This is outrageous noise like dropping things that shake the house, loud door slamming LATE AT NIGHT and EARLY IN THE AM and other things. Unfortunately I may have to move after being here so long and it seem s unfair that I have to take on that stress and expense, also as I work, when one of these tenants doesn’t even have a job. So if you’re a tenant, try to be mindful of how this can impact other’s lives.

  3. No it couldn’t b/c these units are old and not well soundproofed so we always hear walking, talking , TVs, dogs, etc. and I have never been bothered plus our street is busy. this is not your normal noise. Slamming doors so loudly that they shake walls and such is not normal, especially after 11 p.m.

  4. I have spoken to them several times, and they are not bad people I don’t think. I never go to my landlady for anything as she is awesome – so I tried that approach way too many times and finally had to go to her because I don’t know what else to do. They’ll be OK for awhile and then randomly they do it again and at awful times – early in the am and late at night which is the main concern.

  5. Also I didn’t call the cops to come out here, my friend who is a L/T lawyer said this is a violation of the noise ordinance which means one can bring a nuisance complaint for money damages. The cops can’t do anything unless they hear it themselves and it doesn’t go on for more than 20/30 minutes at a time so chances are it could stop by the time the cops get here. I called to confirm if it’s a noise violation and they said yes.

  6. PITMIX yes, I am thinking about moving sadly it will be an expense. One thing I’m considering is potentially filing a nuisance complaint against them. If I win they pay, which would pay for my moving expenses.

  7. Living in such circumstances necessarily involves risks of bad neighbors. Just own up that you got the bad end of the stick and move on. There is a cost of course but no one guaranteed you that life would not have its ups and downs. Sorry to be so direct.

  8. since everyone here seems to be taking the high road and telling you to move or “suck it up”. Im here to say the opposite, why not complain and tell them they are being rude and disrespectful of neighbors, they MOVED there, not the other way around. They moved into a new (rental) house that has a shared neighbor. this inturn means you learn the ropes of the area you just moved too! SO I say, keep complaining, keep calling the PD also. as they will keep registered complaints on file. the more paperwork you have the more evidence you have when things inevitably go south.
    but I will end with this, nothing. I MEAN NOTHING, is less appealing than having a stupid fight with a close neighbor. everytime you come home you think of it, you live it, its not calming or comfortable. You are as quilty of allowing this to ” cause anxiety ” then the neighbors are at causing the noise. I lived next to the train tracks for years. and when I say next, I mean 10 feet. At first I was woken up by every train. after some time I slept through every one, including the freight trains.

  9. I agree with the last post…nothing worse than being angry with a neighbor…you will resent where you live.
    If there was not covid going on, I would have an open house…for the neighbors…they could see how you live…and you could mention you are in bed by 11.
    I know this sounds like butterflies, rainbows, etc…but I have had grumpy neighbors being a homeowner, and a renter…invite for coffee..does work sometimes…good luck !

  10. buy a loud air conditoner for every window you have and about 5 industrial fans. run them all 24/7 and when your neighbors finally cry about it hand them a very rude list of all the loud, annoying things theyve been bothering you with.

  11. I know that living with shared walls can be frustrating at times. People have different living styles and different sensitivities. I think it is a good idea to set something nice like a pie or some other offering and let them know how it affects you using kind words that are non-judgemental (not saying statements that infer you are better than them in some way or that they are bad…ex: you are noisy and rude, do you consider others? etc) It is always good to remember that many of the things that bug us about others behaviors are not “right” or “wrong.” What bothers you might not bother another tenant at all. In addition, we all do things that bother others. So things you do that you think are just fine might be really irritating to others. If you write a nice card with the offering simply saying something like “I was hoping to ask that you be careful about how hard the door is closed because the sound travels and startles me when I am not expecting it. I would greatly appreciate it. Since this building is old, noise before 7am and after 10pm really travels when I am still sleeping or trying to sleep. I hope we can keep good, respectful communication as neighbors.” And you could also get some hypnotherapy that will feel super relaxing and make you less startled and sensitive to unexpected noise.

  12. Keep open dialogue with the landlord and continue reporting it to them. Also maybe consider running a white noise machine or something during the night hours. We have a shared wall with extremely loud neighbors as well. The slamming is SO obnoxious!!

  13. Get on YouTube, and search for sound proofing the walls….. There’s lot’s of good info about that…. think about sound studios, and what they have to do to make it sound proof. Dealing with noisy neighbors is a nightmare…. I put up with the non-stop barking dog, every weekend, (Friday – Sunday nite), starting before sunset till the daughter got home from work at midnight…. I gave them many suggestions to remedy the problem, but finally, after enduring it for a year, I finally called animal control. They put a stop to it, by giving them a ticket…. You might have to call the Police , and let the Police deal with them….. If you can document everything, including audio…, it can help your case. OR… just go over and have a nice pleasant chat, and let them know, the noise it too much. They might NOT be aware of it. Good luck, and let us know what happens.

  14. The nuclear option: Ask the police if they would accept video/audio evidence of the loud noises to cite them. Download an app that records and displays the audio level in decibels on screen. I doubt the police will accept it, however you can certainly use the recordings to show your landlord how your neighbors are impeding the quiet enjoyment of your apartment. If things don’t get better and you need to break the lease, these recordings would also provide you some concrete evidence to do so without lease-breaking costs. CYA.

  15. Probably not a popular opinion among the edhat crowd but try being kind and approaching them directly. I know being a keyboard warrior it’s hard to have real conversations. Then again you have already involved the police so your relationship might be toast.

  16. There’s always the revenge approach. Wake up early some Sunday morning, and if it seems quiet at the neighbor’s, start slamming some doors and talking loudly. Maybe they’d see what you’re complaining about.

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