Noisy Neighbours, How Can I Handle This?

Everyone should be able to experience peaceful enjoyment of their home. It is where we go to have rest and recharge. In times like the pandemic, it has also become more frequently used as a place to work and study. All these activities require that there should be a reasonable amount of calm so people can relax or focus, depending on what they are doing. 

However, from time to time, people also want to have fun or need to undertake some kind of project that will result in noise. The occasional party or a home renovation are common examples of this. And sometimes that noise may interfere with neighbours’ desire to enjoy a calm environment. 

Having to endure the noise every once in a while is to be expected when you live in close proximity to others. However, when the noise tends to persist or reach extreme levels, then it can begin to feel like unacceptable or unreasonable behaviour. 

It is always best to try and preserve an amicable relationship with neighbours. In as much as good fences make for good neighbours, they are not the best sound barrier. You need to be careful about how you approach this situation to avoid ending up at a disadvantage. Here are a few ideas on how you may deal with noisy neighbours and hopefully quickly get back to enjoying your home in peace. 

Do Not Rush In

Even if it is a loud party in the middle of the night, do not just jump out of bed and rush over to challenge your neighbours. There is a good chance they will be high on alcohol and adding anger to the mix could end badly. Try to endure the situation till the next day when you can think of what to do with a cool head. 

Talk to Who You Know

Chances are even if you have recently moved in you have established a rapport with some neighbour, or if you live in a condo, with some of the staff like security. Since these are people who have lived or worked in the same environment for a while, they may know more about the source of the noise and can update you on what is going on. 

This is especially helpful if you are new to the community entirely. Expatriates and others that have relocated to a new country or city should first take time to understand the local culture. In some places, what you may consider a noisy disturbance may just be seen as kids having fun. You may end up embarrassing or alienating yourself if you start complaining about what is considered the norm. 

Talking to people in the area can let you know if this is a cultural concern or some other norm. If so, they may be able to advise you on how to handle it. If their suggestions do not work out, then you should consider a more direct approach. 

Talk to The Neighbour

This is not about being confrontational. If you are aggressive in your approach, you can make your neighbours feel defensive and opt to be stubborn about the issue. And in some cases, if you are a foreigner, they might be inclined to be biased and see you as the enemy trying to dictate how they should live in their own country. 

If you know the people involved, approach the one that you think will be most reasonable and calm. As said, do not be confrontational. And again, do not approach the heat of the moment. Find a time when things are calm and go over for a talk. 

Try to have a nice chat discussing the event that happened most recently and how you have no issue with what they are doing, but the level of noise or time of day it happens can be a struggle for you. You can give reasons like having a young child that cannot get to sleep, needing to study and so on. If you made a recording, you can play it for the person so they can hear what you heard. Possibly, your neighbour did not realise how thin the walls are.

However, keep in mind that making this approach can be a double-edged sword. If the noisy neighbours choose not to cooperate and cut down on the noise, you may feel justified to report them to the authorities. Chances are if you do this, they will know you were the one that reported them. 

Escalate

Where you live in communal housing like a condo, there is sure to be a property management company or juristic person in charge that you can approach. While their main area of focus may be to oversee the management of the building, they may also help resolve disputes between neighbours. If renting, you can even approach your landlord for help.

When escalating the situation, be sure to take time and make a diary of the events. Like at what time it happens, for how long, and even the decibel range. You can easily use an app or certain sites on your phone to record and/or test the decibel level. Having this evidence in hand can help your case and even time when they make a visit to hear for themselves what you have had to endure. 

Local Authorities

If you cannot get help through the property management firm, maybe because there is none involved in your housing arrangement, you may opt to go to the local authority. In Thailand, this could be the local police or city hall. If in a more rural area, you may seek out the headman. This may be more impactful on your neighbours, but again, chances are they will know you are the complainant. 

Alternative Solutions

If you have the resources and do not expect the noise to end anytime soon, you may consider soundproofing your home. Some materials can be installed to eliminate most or even all noise coming from outside. it may however affect the aesthetic of your home and prove costly. If you are renting, you may also be limited as to how much you can modify the home for your comfort. Earplugs and white noise machines may be other viable solutions.

If the noise is too much to cope with and you are unable to find a solution, do consider simply moving. It can affect your mental and physical health to have to deal with this issue when the neighbours concerned are difficult to deal with. It may be simpler to do a little more due diligence in finding a new place and shift to avoid further provocation.

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