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05 June 2010

Tips on dealing with noisy neighbors? [More:]We moved to this nice new apartment a few months ago, and most things have gone well. The only downside is that our neighbors next to us on our floor can be pretty loud. Not all the time, but it seems about once every 3 weeks, they have a bunch of people over, and by 11 PM commences the swearin', shoutin', wrestling (apparently, by the sounds of bodies slamming into the walls and floors...?), drunk-girl crying, and so on. It goes pretty late on these occasions...2:30, 3:00. I hate to think of having my parents come to stay, or anyone really, during one of these extravaganzas.

We don't have much of a big rapport with them - they are significantly younger than we are, in their early 20s probably. The main occupants are two male roommates, but a lot of friends come and go. I suppose we will have to go talk to them in the light of day, but we will definitely be starting on a bad foot.

What makes this most irritating is that their activities are totally incongruous for this neighborhood, which is a mix of people in their 30s and 40s who, at most, have some evening barbecues, and older retiree types. It's a nice section of town, and the frat-boy lifestyle just doesn't seem to belong.

Have any of you had success dealing with loud neighbors? How did you approach it? Recommendations?
I think one should probably talk to the neighbors directly, but in the past I've generally talked to the landlord first instead. It helps to have actual dates and times of the noise documented (and my last landlord really encouraged me to send him as much info as possible; I think he was happy to have some reason to refuse an extension on the noisy people's lease when it came up).

This approach obviously depends on the responsiveness of your landlord, though.
posted by occhiblu 05 June | 13:15
and my last landlord really encouraged me to send him as much info as possible; I think he was happy to have some reason to refuse an extension on the noisy people's lease when it came up

My previous landlord also encouraged me to call the police non-emergency number to make a noise complaint. I don't know how the law works, exactly, but the landlord told me that after the he got [X#] reports of noise complaints, he was able to cancel the tenants' lease.

Now, that may not be true in your state, or your landlord may not be interested in pursuing it. But if you think they're violating the ordinance, you should feel free to report them.

Bonus points for cracking up the desk sergeant with the following exchange:
Elsa: [sleepily] Does [town] have a nighttime noise ordinance in effect?
D.S.: Yes, [rattles off the ordinance].
Elsa: Oh, good. Could an officer come tell my neighbors that?
D.S.: AHAHAHAHA. What's the address?
posted by Elsa 05 June | 13:28
I live below a 3-bedroom apartment, and we're connected by a thin door in the basement, so I've had to deal with this in the past. I generally deal with noise right as it is happening- middle of the night, early in the morning, whatever, I go out and around to their front door, and let them know that the noise is a problem. I've never had to take it beyond that point, although I'm sure my landlord (who is a gem) would be able to help. I would think talking to them might be able to bring about some progress- if they know people are bothered by the late night noise, they may be willing to move their party to a bar by X o'clock, for example.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 05 June | 13:32
My most successful strategy came to me by chance one night. Faced with the same kind of deal (shouting, fighting at 2-3 am every few weeks, when they were drunk), I was privy to an exchange in their bedroom (next to mine), where one of them was shouting "I'm going to ...." and the other was shouting back "Oh go on then." Exhausted and frustrated, when a space opened up after "I'm going to ...," I shouted "Oh go on then" back to the wall. A dead silence ensued, they broke up the fight, and kept their future fights to the farther rooms where I could hardly hear them. Win-win.
posted by Susurration 05 June | 14:13
Susurration, based on your user name, I could NEVER imagine you yelling anything.

No advice for you Miko, I just feel for you is all.
posted by msali 05 June | 16:06
I agree with talking to the landlord, especially since the kids don't seem to fit with the neighborhood vibe.
posted by desjardins 05 June | 16:52
Two words.

Shot. Gun.
posted by jonmc 05 June | 17:27
I remember the cops coming to tone down noisy parties in Iowa City.

Is there something in the lease about quiet hours?
posted by brujita 06 June | 01:09
Here's my advice for the next time one of these parties happens and your neighbors are up shouting and playing King of the Ring til 3 am:

At 5:15 am, go up to the roof with work gloves, a long rope, duct tape, a sharp knife, a cinder block, a loud and durable boom box, and a copy of Magma's Attahk. MP3s will probably work better than CDs, but really the best medium would be an old magnetic cassette tape (they're less likely to skip under duress). Duct tape the boom box to the cinder block. Tie the rope securely to the cinder block.

Figure out which window belongs to their bedroom. Put on your work gloves. Lower the cinderblock assembly until it hangs directly outside the bedroom window. Mark where the rope hits the corner of the roof with a strip of duct tape. Pull the cinderblock assembly back onto the roof.

Making sure the marker on the rope is just at the corner of the roof when taut, fasten the rope securely to whatever pipe or chimney or hook that might be handy.

The timing of the next part is crucial. Pick up the cinder block assembly. Turn the boom box up to maximum volume and press play (you may want to figure out a mechanism for keeping the play button down, if using a cassette tape), just as you heave it off the roof, as far out from the building as possible. Avoid getting your feet caught in the rope slack.

The cinder block assembly should arc out and then smash through your neighbors' bedroom window. Be ready to cut the rope with the sharp knife as soon as you hear glass shatter. Quickly clean up any evidence on the roof, and scram.

Hopefully your neighbors will be sleeping deeply when the cinder block shatters their window and thuds into the room, immediately followed by this song, at top volume.

A few things might go wrong, up to and including sending the cinder block into a sleeping person's skull. If you accidentally kill your neighbor and the police come to investigate, it would probably not be a very good opportunity to file a noise complaint about your neighbors' parties.

I hope this helps. My other suggestions all require helicopters.
posted by Hugh Janus 06 June | 10:00
Ya know, noise is bad for you. Causes stress, raises blood pressure, disturbs sleep. So, I recommend being polite, and asking them to be considerate. Once.

Then, call the cops and the landlord every single time they are unreasonably loud at an unreasonable time.

And then read the threads on ear worms and annoying songs, and load a cd with the worst, most annoying songs Of.All.Time, put it on a friend's car cd, at 9 a.m. following party night, at top volume, and leave for an hour. I personally recommend starting with Afternoon Delight. Repeat. You won't do this, because you are a kind, reasonable person, but thinking about it will bring you joy. As you call the cops and the Landlord.
posted by theora55 06 June | 12:26
what theora55 said.

failing that, this is what crappy autotune-infested Justin Timberlake and/or Madonna disco remixes were made for. Morning after one of these events, just crank one up to 11 at around 6.30 or 7AM, before you head out the door for work. Leave the stereo playing with the speakers turned toward the wall / floor / ceiling area that you share with the offenders.

posted by lonefrontranger 07 June | 10:36
Are you the same? || This is my second weekend in a row of work work work.