Renting a Home? Advice About How to Deal With Noisy Neighbors
Usually noise is a bigger problem when renting an apartment or living in a condo. But even in a freestanding home, noise from neighboring homes can be a big nuisance, as well as a delicate situation to deal with.
On first approaching the issue of noise with your neighbor you really want to remain calm, reasonable, quiet and polite. Step One is to communicate with your neighbor about the situation, and involves a number of communication skills to keep in mind.
-Speaking in “I” statements helps prevent defensiveness. Don't accuse, talk about how a noise that you experienced coming from their home affected you.
-Perhaps your neighbor isn’t aware that what they’re doing is causing problems. Don't come at them expecting that they are being noisy deliberately to annoy, or thinking they don't care about others.
-Start out with a question to gather information, like “I don’t know if you are aware of this…” Don’t make them wrong.
-Say something in the form of a brief explanation of what the noise is and make a request. Here are some possible ways to say it:
1. “I’ll bet you aren’t aware of it, but when you play rock music it kept me awake last night. Would you be willing to turn the volume down after 9pm so I can get plenty of sleep for work?”
2. “You may not be aware that when you’re at work all day your dog barks all the time. Is there any solution we could find? I work from home and also take care of my elderly mother. She is unable to rest due to all the barking.”
3. “Hey, John I know you had a great party Saturday, but you may not have been aware that the music and party noises went on until 3 a.m. I wonder if, in the future you might stop the loud music and party noises at midnight?
You may also want to add – “John if there are any things that I do that creates extra noise in your home I would want you to let me know. I want to be a respectful neighbor.”
Now there may be neighbors who look at you like you have two heads, or who may become hostile. In that event you may be pretty sure the noises will continue. So Step Two is to write a letter clearly stating the noise issue and keep a copy for you. But be very careful. If your neighbor seems threatening or offensive such that you fear your safety you may need to call in police.
1. In your letter be specific. Give dates; say what the noise was, and any particulars noted.
2. Then check your city ordinances, so you know just what “leg” you have to stand on.
3. If there is a home owner’s association (HOA) check their polices on noise. There are rules and regulations on noise, in addition to what the city ordinances are.
Finally, Step Three, if the noise just won’t stop you should report it to the local authorities.
-Start with the Home Owner’s Association and continue to call the police department when it is absolutely necessary.
-See if there are other neighbors in homes nearby who are also being affected and find out if they will be willing to make formal requests as well. Having more than one voice establishes a pattern of behavior your noisy neighbor persists with, and may be critical information should you need to sue.
Remain calm and courteous whenever possible. Don’t retaliate or make all kinds of noise yourself. Continue to report to authorities. “Tit for tat” weakens any case you may need to bring in small claims court.