What to Do When Your Neighbours are Loud

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How to Deal With Noisy Neighbours

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Sometimes the neighbourhood that you have moved into is not perfect. A common problem that you may have with your neighbours is their noise level. This can be especially intimidating if you have just moved into the area and are new in the neighbourhood. How do you deal with your neighbours being too loud?

Why are they being so noisy?

There are several reasons why your neighbours may be noisy. You should take the reasons why there is a lot of noise into account when considering how much noise you can tolerate and how far you want to go to try to deal with the problem. Not all noise is equally disruptive and not all sounds can be avoided.

  • Crying babies/children- This noise can be irritating if you live in close proximity to your neighbours, especially if you don't have children of your own. It shouldn't be your responsibility to wake up every time your neighbour's kids scream at night. Some crying is unavoidable in babies, so it would be a mistake to formally complain about that noise, but if the noise is coming from out of control older kids, you may be within your rights to complain or go to authorities.
  • Music- Some people like to play their music loud. If it is your type of music and it is during a time of day that you are awake, maybe you wouldn't mind it. But if the loud music irritates you, let your neighbour know about it. It is not too hard to turn down a dial.
  • Band practice- Oh great, you moved next door to a garage band. Members of a band value their practice time because it is a identity-defining hobby and maybe even the source of some income for them. They will fight you if you try to get them to stop playing altogether. But live bands can get very loud, and sometimes there is little they can do to keep it down. If they are playing on their property and during the day, you may have little legal grounds to complain. Still, there are measures they can take to limit their noise and they should comply if you ask them.
  • Construction- If your neighbour's home is being worked on, it is bound to make some noise. The time of day is what determines if this noise is appropriate. Some neighbourhoods have designated quiet times during sleeping hours and if the construction goes into that time, you can file a formal complaint.
  • People Yelling- This is always a scary thing to address, because you are never really sure why people are yelling. If it is a drunken party, then it should be easy enough to tell them to calm down. If there is some domestic dispute at the root of of the yelling, you may find it very awkward to address the situation and they may have trouble admitting what is going on. Contact the police only if you suspect abuse.

What to do

After you have decided that noise is intolerable, you have to determine what you want to do to address the situation. Each situation depends on a few factors, but generally speaking you should start meek and get progressively more bold if the noise problem isn't alleviated.
  • Start by making your own home more sound-proof. It may not be fair for you to have to do something to fix a problem your neighbour is causing you, but if you want to avoid conflict or feel the noise is unlikely to stop, you can change your own home to make it more resistant to noise pollution. You could sound-proof your walls, get some white noise machines, or close all of your windows and doors. 
  • Politely ask your neighbour to keep it down. A knock on the door and an honest complaint may be heeded and appreciated. If your neighbour is a nice person, he likely didn't know that the sound was too loud for you and will do what he can to solve the problem. Unfortunately, in many cases the neighbour will "yes" you at the door and then continue to be just as loud after a short period of relative silence. Also be wary of visiting a neighbour you think may be dangerous.
  • Write a note to your neighbour. A  written note seems more formal and it can let you avoid an awkward face-to-face confrontation. Leaving them a note should get the message across, but there's no guarantee that the message will be heeded.
  • Contact the landlord if your neighbour is renting. Many rent agreements have stipulations on noise, so a landlord has the power to enforce these rules if they are being broken. The threat of fines or eviction can quiet down a rowdy neighbour quite effectively. You need to trust your landlord, however, for this to work. Also, if your neighbour owns his home, then there's no landlord to talk to.
  • Call the police. Being too loud is technically illegal. "Disturbing the peace" and whatnotCalling the police (on a non-emergency line) is a good way to immediately shut down noise, but it also will create resentment in your neighbour. Police can ask them to be quiet, but they rarely do more than that, so even a brush with the law may not permanently quiet your noisy neighbour.
  • Sound warfare. This is probably a bad idea, but it could work. Combat the offensively loud sound a neighbour makes by making your own sounds to annoy him. Not only will this send a message to your neighbour, but it should also mask the sound coming from him with whatever sound you are making. Be sure you aren't disturbing your other neighbours, though.
  • Threaten legal action. If you or your other neighbours can prove that the noise made by your neighbour is causing you damaging levels of stress and lack of sleep, you may have a case against him. Give him a final warning with all of the effected neighbours signing the paper stating that they will seek legal action if the noise continues. 
  • Actually file a lawsuit. If the threat alone doesn't stop the noise, a suit will. If you have enough neighbourhood support and substantial evidence of noise problems and the harm they've done to you or your livelihood, you can win the case. This could lead to financial compensation, forced eviction of the neighbour, or hefty fines. Ultimately, it should also stop the noise.

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on September 3, 2014

TopMoving.ca - Moving Expert
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