Noisy Neighbors

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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.

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Getoffmylawn Oct 08, 2020 12:10 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Talk to them directly

doulie Oct 08, 2020 02:35 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Doesn't hurt to talk with the neighbors once or twice and share your concerns with them. Is there a clause in (your) lease stating (you) should not make excessive noise that disturbs neighbors. If so, it may also be in their lease. After one or two contacts with your neighbors call the landlord again and then if this hasn't helped contact law enforcement. Unfortunately, not much they can do but ask your neighbors to minimize their noise. In the unlikely event you can prove it's deliberate you might have a case.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:32 PM
Noisy Neighbors

I'll have to check. I did learn that you can bring a third party lawsuit as the victim tenant though. If there is such a clause. Landlord can also be liable for not abating a nusiance, if it constitutes a nuisance which I think legally it does, but I would not do that to my landlady b/c she has been great.

Minibeast Oct 08, 2020 04:46 PM
Noisy Neighbors

The OP stated "They have been spoken to about this repeatedly." (¶ 3). OP: My advice is to contact Lacy Taylor at Goodwin & Thyne. Ask her what can be done. Maybe a simple letter from an attorney can help resolve this. I feel for you. The neighbors to one side of our property are "noise bullies." And to those who might write, "Oh. Gee. Nothing better to worry about?" --------- Unless you've lived through dealing with noisy, crappy neighbors you don't know just how unnerving it can be. Count yourself lucky.---------------OP: Sounds to me like you're suffering from PTSD. No kidding. I know the feeling well. If Lacy can't help you, I think your only recourse is to threaten your Landlord : "It's either them or me" and then follow through with moving out, if you can't be rid of those inconsiderate bullies.

forrealnews Oct 08, 2020 12:24 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:37 PM
Noisy Neighbors

FOR REAL IDK, getting woken up repeatedly by doors slamming, stomping, etc. is not something I think would be OK with a majority of people.

Minibeast Oct 08, 2020 04:49 PM
Noisy Neighbors

FORREALNEWS: It's "imply" not "infer."

SoCalMommy Oct 08, 2020 12:28 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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!!

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:31 PM
Noisy Neighbors

SOCAL yes, I use a brown noise when I am working and at night I use an app that plays white noise or music or nature sounds. Still can hear it over that.

d8vanilla Oct 08, 2020 12:33 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:30 PM
Noisy Neighbors

D8 I did speak to them directly, many many times which is why after a long time I finally approached my landlady and she also spoke to them, twice. I don't think they are doing it on purpose I just think they can't change.

SBLIFE Oct 08, 2020 12:36 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

SBSBSBSBSBsb Oct 08, 2020 12:55 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:29 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:36 PM
Noisy Neighbors

SBSB also I did not involve the police. For one, unless the cops get here while the door slamming, etc. is going on they can't do much [unlike a loud ongoing party that the cops can hear]. I called the police to ask if this was a noise violation because it could constitute a nuisance, and to see about filing reports to document.

lutra Oct 08, 2020 02:29 PM
Noisy Neighbors

It's all well, good, and idealistic to say "oh, just be kind to your noisy neighbor, and they'll magically realize their errant ways and stop being noisy", but that's just not realistic. This might happen for a very small minority of cases where someone is truly unaware, but in my experience, most noisy neighbors are just not considerate to begin with. The first thing they think about when they do anything isn't whether they are disturbing others. If they were considerate, then this situation wouldn't have happened to begin with. It shouldn't be the responsibility of the good neighbor to fix the problem. I'm constantly thinking about whether sounds from my home can be heard by others. I've even gone outside to listen and test at different sound levels just to be sure. If I had common walls, I would be even more careful. If this were a deserted island, it would be a different matter, but this isn't.

a-1602193437 Oct 08, 2020 02:43 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:28 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:34 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

a-1602202804 Oct 08, 2020 05:20 PM
Noisy Neighbors

ANDREA you said "The police have said this is a noise violation," so I assumed that meant you had the cops out there and that's what they told you. Yeah, you can bring a claim in court for anything you want, but a filing a nuisance claim for money damages over some loud doors in a triplex isn't going to pan out. It would need to be much much more than what you're describing here.

Lucky 777 Oct 08, 2020 02:44 PM
Noisy Neighbors

I recommend HEAROS ear plugs, remarkably effective, I always sleep wearing them. https://www.hearos.com/

ChemicalSuperFreak Oct 08, 2020 02:57 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Make certain you have the right neighbors. I once arrived home at a duplex I was sharing during college to find police in my driveway. They said the neighbors on the other side of the duplex had called to complain about the noise, music, voices, etc. I offered to let the police come in an have a look around and verify that no one was home. Moments later one of my housemates came home too; we had all been teaching on campus. We called the third housemate and he was also still on campus. The police were certain there was no party going on but the neighbor insisted on a citizen's arrest, which is a citation. The officer noted his observations but issued the citation with a court date. A few weeks later the DA's office sent me a letter saying the citation was being dismissed with no other explanation. I guess without any proof from our neighbor, and the officers description of entering an empty unit, there was no point in pursing it. Needless to say, our neighbor was a little crazy and there was actually a duplex behind ours, across an easement, that is often noisy (someone there played electric guitar....he was pretty good too). Things were never good between my neighbor and us after that, and at one point we could have helped her with an issue with the landlord by staying out of it, but opted to tell the landlord something that ended up costing her a lot of money. Payback. So be careful what you start.

PitMix Oct 08, 2020 03:09 PM
Noisy Neighbors

I got into a huge wrangle with an obnoxious neighbor and I ended up getting a Temp Restraining Order against him and going to court, where it was made permanent. He moved soon after that, and after he did, I realized I should have moved right when it started. Hopefully you are in a financial position to do that.

Sbguy805111 Oct 08, 2020 03:48 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Good luck I had a handful of neighbors call the cops on me for a decade for any little thing meanwhile they would idle their loud motorcycles for 30 minutes right near my house at 7am blow a conch from 7am till the end of the day randomly through out the day and weed wack and slam trashcans at 7am

I’m glad we finally have diversity in our police force because when their was mostly white cops they would just assume the worst of me even though I was just minding my own business two of the neighbors never left the house were jobless low life’s and the police would always act like I’m was the worst person on earth catering to their racketeering harassing antagonism.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:35 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Andrea Smith Oct 08, 2020 04:19 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

a-1602231231 Oct 09, 2020 01:13 AM
Noisy Neighbors

Andrea 4:19 PM. I know you’ve talked to your landlord already, but you should again, telling them you will probably move. If you move, the next tenant will probably have the same issues and move out as well. No landlord wants a “revolving door” unit.

a-1602199492 Oct 08, 2020 04:24 PM
Noisy Neighbors

You said it is a triplex, how do the other neighbors feel? Perhaps you could talk to them together? I had obnoxious neighbors that used to party until 2 or 3 several nights a week. As a 21 year old and No stranger to a party, I didn’t mind until it went on for weeks. Then the yelling started. I called the sheriff. A deputy promptly arrived and apparently was good friends with the obnoxious Neighbors. They all had a good laugh about it. A few days later that cop was actually at one of their parties ( off duty). Luckily I had an incredible landlord who valued responsible tenets, and didn’t care much for the sheriff for some reason. They got booted.

tsunami67 Oct 08, 2020 04:32 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Would your LL be willing to purchase and install some door closers to prevent the door slamming? Maybe also some weather stripping which may help deaden the door closing noise. You'd still have the thumping, etc. but at least one of problem noises would be eliminated.

a-1602201091 Oct 08, 2020 04:51 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Offer to install a "quiet close" mechanism on their door hinges.

RHS Oct 08, 2020 04:53 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Bene Oct 08, 2020 08:11 PM
Noisy Neighbors

In normal times your advice would be best. But wouldn't moving during a pandemic be risky?

RHS Oct 08, 2020 04:55 PM
Noisy Neighbors

PS I would feel differently if you had purchased the property and had less of an easy mobile alternative.

a-1602201515 Oct 08, 2020 04:58 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Pneumatic door closers and felt weather stripping are two online suggestions for quieting slamming doors. Insist they get installed. Go online and see other suggestions. Then either you offer to install them or your landlady installs them - and even offer to pay for them though she can write this off as a business expense. At least that might solve the door slamming. And set the tone for the rest of the noisy behavior changes you want.

pstarSR Oct 08, 2020 05:58 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

winter Oct 08, 2020 07:01 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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 !

USA in ruins Oct 08, 2020 07:42 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Join the Army and get away from all that noise. In other words,. Count your blessings. Things could always be worse.

Bene Oct 08, 2020 08:06 PM
Noisy Neighbors

A lot of advice given here about the landlord's duty to intervene would be spot-on, were we not living in the midst of Covid and major new legislation tying the hands of landlords to do anything about problem tenants. Under new draconian Just Cause eviction laws, and "Covid induced" moratorium on any evictions and other new laws, getting a tenant out for any reason is no simple task. Trying to do so, could cost landlords more than they have or will collect in rent for a year. Even if a landlord could or would pay that much, the difficulty would be astronomical and likely fruitless anyway. There are now draconian standards of proof as well that are required for any attempt to remove a tenant. Even if a tenant does something far worse than noise, it takes a number of witnesses --who are actually willing to risk retribution---to go to court. It is near to impossible to remove a tenant, so don't expect your landlord to offer you a quick fix for this problem. Where I live, some of my neighbors who are tenants used to follow rules of reasonable conduct.
Now, they apparently know they don't have to any more, with resulting out of control behavior. Their landlord can't fix this, and I understand why. I don't know if it would help you to suggest something like this, but I myself have been considering buying a bull-horn and "shouting" back at my noisy neighbors next time they go at it at 3 a.m. LOL.

m-cubed Oct 08, 2020 08:58 PM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Getoffmylawn Oct 08, 2020 09:23 PM
Noisy Neighbors

Maybe it's the headboard moving from sex. Could this be the cause?

a-1602231538 Oct 09, 2020 01:18 AM
Noisy Neighbors

Dumb question, I know.....but how can someone NOT know they are slamming a door.....

rubyfoo Oct 09, 2020 06:28 AM
Noisy Neighbors

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.

Byzantium Oct 09, 2020 09:02 AM
Noisy Neighbors

High volume Stravinksy is a good choice and wonderful early morning listening.

photodude Oct 09, 2020 08:09 AM
Noisy Neighbors

You are the sole determinant that you peace is being disturbed 24/7. Call Sheriff's dispatch (805-683-2724), or whatever PD jurisdiction you are in, and fiel a disturbance of the peace complaint (DOP). The operative words are: "My peace is being disturbed, and I wish to sign a complaint." I live in Orilla del Mar, immediately west of Isla Vista, and have used this procedure many times, generally after talking to the noisemakers on previous occasions. The SO responds, and generally tells the noise makers that if they have to come back again, a citation will be issued. The fine for a first disturbance in the evening is $315, and $1,850 for the second. Yes it is a Citizen's Arrest, and you may have to go to court. I've lived here 48-years and have called in DOP's many times. I've had to sign a DOP complaint only once.

a-1602257445 Oct 09, 2020 08:30 AM
Noisy Neighbors

I haven't read all the comments but suggest a recording device that has the time available on it, to show to authorities. In Oregon this type of device was used concerning barking dogs and was accepted as evidence.

seahorse Oct 09, 2020 08:48 AM
Noisy Neighbors

I am a landlord and good tenants such as you are worth their weight in gold! Rude, thoughtless people are a dime a dozen. I think your landlord should offer a financial incentive for these people to move before their lease is up, or as soon as it is up for renewal. It is highly likely that complaints will continue from the next person to lease your apartment, should you choose to move. Those people are in the wrong setting for their lifestyle, they may welcome the opportunity to move to someplace more appropriate for them.

East Beach Oct 09, 2020 10:10 AM
Noisy Neighbors

My salvation has been custom earplugs. You get them made at a hearing aid place. They make a mold of your ear canals. I literally can hear nothing when they are in although I can hear alarms, etc. I sleep like a baby through anything. I have learned it is an exercise in futility to try to control anyone's behavior except my own.

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