We’ve all faced it at one point or another during our time renting apartments: noise. While some are perfectly okay popping in a pair of earplugs and ignoring it, noise can become a real problem for some neighbors. So what do you do when your neighbor is making such a racket it’s infringing on your rights to a relaxing space?

The best thing you can do is start at the beginning of your search:

During Your Apartment Search:

Be up front during your viewing.
Do you regularly go to bed early, have small children or are concerned about late night noise? Be sure to make that clear when you go to view an apartment. Oftentimes leasing agents will know which buildings or areas are quieter, or can offer advice on best locations for you and your family.

Aim for an upper floor.
Being in a lower level apartment may mean saving on cooling bills in the summer, but it also means you’re likely to be disturbed by an upstairs neighbor. High heels, large dogs and sliding furniture can all contribute to a noisy environment below. Think about aiming for a higher floor if you’re concerned about the potential of noise.

Many times, noise can happen when you get a new neighbor, or discover you’ve got a rowdy bunch living upstairs after you move in. Now what?

After You Move In:

Be reasonable.
It’s understandable that you might be annoyed at an all-night party on a Monday, but general noise during reasonable hours is expected when you live in an apartment. Determine what’s reasonable so you have something you can propose to your neighbor if you eventually need to speak to them. For example, lowering the noise level after 10pm on weeknights.

Talk to the offender directly.
Chances are your neighbor might be unaware that they’re disturbing you, particularly if they’re a newer resident. Very few people set out to be difficult neighbors. Stop by and speak to your neighbor directly about what’s bothering you in a calm, friendly manner and be sure to give specific examples. Also offer to swap phone numbers so you can call or text if the noise is getting too loud for either one of you.

Start a paper trail.
If the problem occurs regularly, it’s a good idea to start documenting it so you have something to show your community manager or leasing office. Make a note of noise problems, including time, date and any action you took (for example, knocking on the door, asking for the noise to be turned down, etc.).

Speak to your apartment community manager.
When you’ve spoken to your neighbor a few times and the issue doesn’t seem to be getting any better, it’s time to involve your apartment community’s management. While this may make relations between you and your neighbor slightly frosty, it’s important that you’re allowed to enjoy your apartment as much as they’re enjoying theirs. Additionally, there may be clauses within the lease or apartment by-laws that allow for more formal measures to be taken should the neighbor refuse to comply.

Ask other neighbors.
If your noisy neighbor is particularly bothersome, it’s likely they’re also disturbing other residents. Speak to your surrounding neighbors and ask. If they indicate that they have also had trouble with noise, encourage them to also contact your community manager.

Dealing with unexpected noise is a part of apartment life. While some noise is fairly common, if it becomes a problem you need to take action. What are the most common noise experiences you have in your apartment? How did you handle them?

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