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How to Deal with a Noisy Neighbor

Suffering in anything but silence? Follow these steps to get the quiet you deserve.


  • Step 1: Assess the situation Assess the noise level and decide if confronting your neighbors is really worth the possible conflict. Remember, no one is quiet all the time.
  • TIP: If one of you is new to the building or neighborhood, introduce yourself! This will make future encounters much easier.
  • Step 2: Know your rights Know your rights. Check your local zoning laws and town ordinances regarding penalties and fines for noise violations. If you rent your home, check your lease. There may be a clause that covers your complaint.
  • Step 3: Talk it out Talk to your neighbors to see if you can come to a compromise. Just be polite. Try starting your complaint with something like, "I'm sure you don't realize it but…" instead of a demanding, "You're so loud; knock it off!"
  • Step 4: Insulate Insulate your apartment with curtains and area rugs or carpeting to help absorb the racket. Putting a bookshelf or storage unit against the noisy wall can also help.
  • TIP: Try installing soundproofing foam or pressed cardboard to the backs of the units for extra insulation.
  • Step 5: Stage a formal complaint If matters don't improve, write your neighbors a formal complaint. If you rent your space, submit a copy to your landlord. Consider withholding rent until they take action.
  • Step 6: Complain If the situation still isn't resolved, notify the local police, town council, or zoning board. You can even take your neighbor to small claims court.
  • Step 7: Move If all else fails, find a new place. It may be hard to concede defeat, but ask yourself: Would you rather be right but miserable, or move and find peace?
  • FACT: In 1972, New York became the first city in the U.S. to institute a noise code.

You Will Need

  • Manners
  • Legal knowledge
  • Your lease
  • Curtains
  • Area rugs or carpeting
  • Bookshelves or storage units
  • Assertiveness
  • Acceptance
  • Soundproofing foam or cardboard (optional)

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