Four Steps to Help You Overcome Noisy Neighbors

Published on July 11th, 2012
By Jennifer Oppriecht

When you’re living in downtown Madison during the summertime, you can expect to hear a fair amount of noise in your apartment.  There’s not much you can do about morning traffic or the occasional laughter of late-night revelers walking past your window.

However, chronic noisy neighbors may pose a bit of a problem, and a potentially sticky situation.  Here are our tips on how to resolve the issue.

1. Meet them face-to-face.  Let’s give your neighbors the benefit of the doubt.  They may not even realize that they’re creating ruckus, and most will be apologetic when they find out they’re being a problem.  Nine times out of ten, if you ask them politely to be quiet, they will.

In this situation, you’ll be setting the tone.  Don’t put them on the defensive.  In fact, try and meet them during the non-noisy time, (you definitely don’t want to catch them in the midst of a party) and let them know about the noise.  Let them know why you need it quiet(er), especially if you have to get up early for work.  Most people will be sympathetic to your plight.

For truly solid neighbor relations, we advocate meeting your neighbors the first day you move in.  Knock on their door, introduce yourself, perhaps offer up some cookies or a beverage.  Establish a positive relationship right away so all your interactions don’t appear to be negative.

2. Talk to the landlord.  If your neighbor is unresponsive about the noise issue, then reaching out to the landlord might be a good second option.  If other neighbors are experiencing similar frustration, it’s advised to pool your comments so the owner knows that the noise is affecting multiple tenants.  Remember that your neighbors have rights too.  The landlord most likely won’t be able to evict them, but it’s good to let your landlord know there’s a problem.

3. Call the police.  When a tenant won’t respond to the requests of you and your landlord, or if the noise is excessive and ongoing, consider reaching out to the police.  You may want to become familiar with the City of Madison’s Chronic Nuisance Premises ordinance.  Check out the recent Badger Herald article on the ordinance.

4. Sound-proof your own apartment.  Another option is to take some steps to mitigate the noise in your own apartment.  If you have hardwood floors, a few area rugs can absorb sound.  Cork boards on the walls, besides providing a place to tack up posters and pictures, can also add a degree of soundproofing.

If your apartment isn’t furnished, consider adding a couch and some chairs.  They can soak up the sound as well.

Noisy neighbors can make for a serious headache, but if you follow the steps listed here, chances are you can quickly resolve the issue.

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