When you’re living in an apartment, there’s nothing worse than having noisy neighbors (except, perhaps, your heat not working in the dead of winter). No one likes to be the one to complain or leave a passive-aggressive note, but sometimes confrontation can’t be avoided. Here’s how to deal with noisy neighbors:

1. Take Precautions in Your Own Apartment

Before confronting your neighbors, it may be possible to reduce the ambient noise level in your apartment by taking simple steps like using a fan, air purifier or white-noise machine. Try applying a coat of sound-dampening paint, or ask your landlord if you can put up acoustic paneling or use a door-silencing kit to reduce the noise level.

2. Confront the Situation Head-On

Rather than leaving a passive-aggressive note on your neighbor’s door, speak to them directly about the noise issue. Be polite: Your neighbor not be aware that they’re being loud. Let them know specifically what the problem is, and talk about ways you can work together to fix it. It may also be a good idea to exchange phone numbers so you can call or text each other when the noise gets out of hand, rather than getting the police involved.

3. Speak with the Management

If you have spoken with your neighbor on more than three occasions and the situation has not improved, it may be time to get your landlord or property manager involved. Keep a record of when your neighbors are being excessively loud, and show it to your landlord. Sometimes receiving a warning from management is enough to fix the problem. You may also want to check your lease to see if it prohibits excessive noise.

4. Call the Police

If your landlord or property manager has been unable to do anything to get your neighbors to reduce the noise level, it may be time to issue a noise complaint to the police. Most cities have noise ordinances, which restrict the noise level within city limits at different times of the day and night. Call the non-emergency phone line, explain the situation, and let the police handle it from there.

5. Take Legal Action

If all else fails, you can file a lawsuit against your neighbors for violating the local noise ordinance. This action should only be taken as a last resort. Hopefully, if you follow the steps above, you and your noisy neighbor will be able to work out your differences and live peacefully.