Published June 13, 2013
It’s the unflinching reality of renting an apartment -- everyone, at some point in their leasing life, will have a noisy neighbor. But how do you address the problem without running the risk of alienating your neighbor and coming across as “that guy?” Here are some tactics you can take to ensure that you’ll never have to hear Mariah Carey singing to you on a Tuesday night ever again (unless you want to).
Confront your neighbor directly
You’re not in high school anymore, so don’t resort to leaving passive-aggressive notes. Being childish is a guaranteed way to get your neighbors to dislike you, and there’s always the chance that they’ll retaliate in an unsavory way, like making even more noise. What will you do then?
Instead, be a grown-up and tell them nicely that you can hear their late-night antics coming through the walls. More often than not, your neighbors won’t even be aware that they were being loud in the first place.
Compromise with a schedule
If you end up confronting your neighbors with concerns about noise, be sure to make them feel like you’re open to compromise. Give them a rundown of what your daily schedule looks like, specifically what times you need noise to start dying down. At the same time, ask what times are sensitive for them, so that they feel like it’s a two-way street.
Additionally, it’s good practice to follow up with all of your surrounding neighbors. If, for example, you like to work out in your apartment but live on the second floor, ask your downstairs neighbors what their schedule looks like and when noise will be an issue for them. That way, you can do plyometrics in your apartment without wondering if the people below you are going crazy. Show your neighbors that you’re willing to compromise if they are, and both of you will feel much better about the situation.
Defer to management
Don’t worry about looking like a tattle-tale -- in fact, when noise is truly too much to handle, deferring to management is the most responsible and viable way to deal with the situation. Your apartment manager is, after all, the only one equipped and authorized to handle the situation. If you’re worried about coming off as the bad guy, request that the manager keep you anonymous when alerting the offending tenant.
Be sure to check your lease; most complexes have designated quiet times that begin around 9 or 10 p.m. If your neighbor is shouting or throwing disruptive parties at midnight, you’re absolutely in the right to speak with management about your concerns. In fact, your apartment manager will be glad you did. No one wants a problematic tenant who’s ruining the complex for prospective renters.
Soundproof your apartment
A fan or a white noise machine will help drown out the noise from a busy street or an overactive neighbor. Invest in curtains or drapes for the windows to insulate against outside noise.
Additional tips for the future
If noise is a sensitive issue for you, remember to take it into consideration the next time you’re looking for a new apartment. Always try to live on the top floor, and stay away from high-volume areas (especially apartments close to college campuses). Another factor to note is carpeting; if the person above you has carpeting, the noise will be diminished, unlike with hardwood floors.
Additionally, keep in mind that if you’re going to complain about noise, it’s your duty to be responsible with your own noise as well. Chances are that if you can hear your neighbors, then they can hear you. Always notify your neighbors before you have more than a few people over or if you’re having a formal party, and remember to invite them out of courtesy.
Introduce yourself to your neighbors upon moving in, offer them your phone number, and encourage them to notify you if you get too loud. This will prompt them to reciprocate, which takes care of the awkward moment when you’re debating whether you should use a broom to let #127 know that their late-night dinner party is too loud.
Jenny Zhang is a writer at SpareFoot, the online marketplace where you can find and reserve a self-storage unit with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.