Dealing With Noisy Neighbors

Reviewed Mar 20, 2017

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Summary

  • Determine if you're being reasonable.
  • Explain the problem calmly.
  • Be open to compromise.
  • Use a third party if necessary.

"The neighbor’s stereo seems to blare all day long,” complains Dana, who is home with a new baby. “Just when I put my son down for a nap, they crank up the volume.”

Most people are bothered now and then by a noisy neighbor. But, if noise becomes a regular problem, you can take action.

Is noise really the problem?

Ask yourself whether your request to keep the noise down is reasonable. Dana’s intolerance of her neighbor’s music may be compounded by fatigue from being a new mother. She also may be more aware of the music now that she spends more time at home with her baby.

Communication is the first step

If you have a legitimate gripe, talking about the problem should be your first action. Don’t wait until your nerves are frayed to confront your neighbor. Instead, find a time when you can put your emotions aside and talk reasonably and calmly. Keep these points in mind:

  • Explain your problem without accusing your neighbor of being inconsiderate.
  • Don’t assume. Perhaps your neighbors aren’t aware that their teenager plays her stereo too loudly when they are not home.
  • Be conscious of your body language and choice of words. You don’t want to alienate or put your neighbor on the defensive.
  • Avoid arguing, which can keep even the most levelheaded person from thinking clearly. If the discussion escalates, break away and revisit the issue later.
  • Focus on solving the problem at hand. Don’t bring up other complaints.
  • Do not use threats.

Be open to compromise

Dana politely explained to her neighbors how their loud music was disruptive to her son’s nap and her need for some peace and quiet. “Our neighbors didn’t realize we were home during the day and were more than happy to control the volume,” Dana said. “I told them what times of the day I don’t mind hearing their music.”

Other approaches

Sometimes, you may be more likely to resolve the issue by going through a third party, such as a homeowners association or landlord. This approach is best if your relationship with your neighbor already is frayed or if you are uncomfortable speaking with them directly. In an apartment complex, it is the landlord’s duty to enforce local ordinances and building rules or evict the tenant.

When talking isn’t enough

If your efforts to solve the noise problem have failed, you might be able to take legal action. Many cities and towns have noise ordinances, which spell out when and what level of noise is acceptable. Call the police department to document and follow up your complaint.

If no statutory scheme exists in your town, you may pursue private action through the courts by arguing that the noise is a nuisance. This route, however, can be difficult to pursue and costly. Even if you can convince the court to take action in your favor, you may be unable to recover associated attorney fees. Working with other neighbors is your best bet at diminishing attorney fees and establishing your case. 

Resource

Dealing With People You Can’t Stand: How To Bring About the Best in People at Their Worst by Rick Kirschner and Rick Brinkman. McGraw-Hill, 2012.

By Christine Martin

Summary

  • Determine if you're being reasonable.
  • Explain the problem calmly.
  • Be open to compromise.
  • Use a third party if necessary.

"The neighbor’s stereo seems to blare all day long,” complains Dana, who is home with a new baby. “Just when I put my son down for a nap, they crank up the volume.”

Most people are bothered now and then by a noisy neighbor. But, if noise becomes a regular problem, you can take action.

Is noise really the problem?

Ask yourself whether your request to keep the noise down is reasonable. Dana’s intolerance of her neighbor’s music may be compounded by fatigue from being a new mother. She also may be more aware of the music now that she spends more time at home with her baby.

Communication is the first step

If you have a legitimate gripe, talking about the problem should be your first action. Don’t wait until your nerves are frayed to confront your neighbor. Instead, find a time when you can put your emotions aside and talk reasonably and calmly. Keep these points in mind:

  • Explain your problem without accusing your neighbor of being inconsiderate.
  • Don’t assume. Perhaps your neighbors aren’t aware that their teenager plays her stereo too loudly when they are not home.
  • Be conscious of your body language and choice of words. You don’t want to alienate or put your neighbor on the defensive.
  • Avoid arguing, which can keep even the most levelheaded person from thinking clearly. If the discussion escalates, break away and revisit the issue later.
  • Focus on solving the problem at hand. Don’t bring up other complaints.
  • Do not use threats.

Be open to compromise

Dana politely explained to her neighbors how their loud music was disruptive to her son’s nap and her need for some peace and quiet. “Our neighbors didn’t realize we were home during the day and were more than happy to control the volume,” Dana said. “I told them what times of the day I don’t mind hearing their music.”

Other approaches

Sometimes, you may be more likely to resolve the issue by going through a third party, such as a homeowners association or landlord. This approach is best if your relationship with your neighbor already is frayed or if you are uncomfortable speaking with them directly. In an apartment complex, it is the landlord’s duty to enforce local ordinances and building rules or evict the tenant.

When talking isn’t enough

If your efforts to solve the noise problem have failed, you might be able to take legal action. Many cities and towns have noise ordinances, which spell out when and what level of noise is acceptable. Call the police department to document and follow up your complaint.

If no statutory scheme exists in your town, you may pursue private action through the courts by arguing that the noise is a nuisance. This route, however, can be difficult to pursue and costly. Even if you can convince the court to take action in your favor, you may be unable to recover associated attorney fees. Working with other neighbors is your best bet at diminishing attorney fees and establishing your case. 

Resource

Dealing With People You Can’t Stand: How To Bring About the Best in People at Their Worst by Rick Kirschner and Rick Brinkman. McGraw-Hill, 2012.

By Christine Martin

Summary

  • Determine if you're being reasonable.
  • Explain the problem calmly.
  • Be open to compromise.
  • Use a third party if necessary.

"The neighbor’s stereo seems to blare all day long,” complains Dana, who is home with a new baby. “Just when I put my son down for a nap, they crank up the volume.”

Most people are bothered now and then by a noisy neighbor. But, if noise becomes a regular problem, you can take action.

Is noise really the problem?

Ask yourself whether your request to keep the noise down is reasonable. Dana’s intolerance of her neighbor’s music may be compounded by fatigue from being a new mother. She also may be more aware of the music now that she spends more time at home with her baby.

Communication is the first step

If you have a legitimate gripe, talking about the problem should be your first action. Don’t wait until your nerves are frayed to confront your neighbor. Instead, find a time when you can put your emotions aside and talk reasonably and calmly. Keep these points in mind:

  • Explain your problem without accusing your neighbor of being inconsiderate.
  • Don’t assume. Perhaps your neighbors aren’t aware that their teenager plays her stereo too loudly when they are not home.
  • Be conscious of your body language and choice of words. You don’t want to alienate or put your neighbor on the defensive.
  • Avoid arguing, which can keep even the most levelheaded person from thinking clearly. If the discussion escalates, break away and revisit the issue later.
  • Focus on solving the problem at hand. Don’t bring up other complaints.
  • Do not use threats.

Be open to compromise

Dana politely explained to her neighbors how their loud music was disruptive to her son’s nap and her need for some peace and quiet. “Our neighbors didn’t realize we were home during the day and were more than happy to control the volume,” Dana said. “I told them what times of the day I don’t mind hearing their music.”

Other approaches

Sometimes, you may be more likely to resolve the issue by going through a third party, such as a homeowners association or landlord. This approach is best if your relationship with your neighbor already is frayed or if you are uncomfortable speaking with them directly. In an apartment complex, it is the landlord’s duty to enforce local ordinances and building rules or evict the tenant.

When talking isn’t enough

If your efforts to solve the noise problem have failed, you might be able to take legal action. Many cities and towns have noise ordinances, which spell out when and what level of noise is acceptable. Call the police department to document and follow up your complaint.

If no statutory scheme exists in your town, you may pursue private action through the courts by arguing that the noise is a nuisance. This route, however, can be difficult to pursue and costly. Even if you can convince the court to take action in your favor, you may be unable to recover associated attorney fees. Working with other neighbors is your best bet at diminishing attorney fees and establishing your case. 

Resource

Dealing With People You Can’t Stand: How To Bring About the Best in People at Their Worst by Rick Kirschner and Rick Brinkman. McGraw-Hill, 2012.

By Christine Martin

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as behavioral health care or management advice. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have questions related to workplace issues, please consider contacting your human resources department. ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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