If you live in an apartment building, you probably know the pain of hearing your upstairs neighbors’ every move. Sometimes, it really seems like they have metal shoes and are purposefully walking as loudly as possible just to spite you.
Well, it is time to put an end to the torture of your upstairs neighbors stomping all the time. Here are 6 creative and legal solutions you can try.
Dealing With Loud Upstairs Neighbors
1. Try Talking to Them
As simple as it may seem, sometimes it is enough to just have a civil conversation with your neighbor. After all, you should both be equally comfortable living in your apartments, and any reasonable person would hear you out.
It is important to approach your neighbor respectfully and calmly. Starting a fight or attacking them right away will only escalate the situation further, and you actually want to solve the problem once and for all.
So, be polite and tell your neighbor how you’re feeling. Describe what the noise is like for you. At this point, you should tell your neighbor that the noise is interrupting your sleep, work hours, or just impeding you from functioning normally. Again, remember not to sound too accusatory as you do this.
If your neighbor is sensible and rational, they will apologize and try to do better in the future. Many times, people aren’t even aware that they are making excess noise, and pointing that out to them can help them realize it.
As they become cognizant of your request, they will most likely try harder to keep things down. That will, in turn, help you return back to normal in no time.
If you aren’t comfortable with talking to your neighbor, worry not. You can still express your feelings and worries by writing them a note. As long as the note is civil and friendly, it should have the same effect as an actual conversation would.
Try to Find a Compromise
It goes without saying that you cannot really expect your neighbor to stop making noise altogether. For one, they still need to maintain their routine, which includes eating, watching TV, listening to music, working out, etc. Thus, they will need to make at least some noise every day, just like you.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to have a raging party every night or turn on your blender at 3 in the morning. The key to coexisting in such circumstances is to compromise.
So, you and your neighbor should come up with certain hours when playing loud music and partying or making any other type of noise is acceptable. Most people agree on somewhere between 6 pm and 11 pm, but it all depends on your working hours and personal preferences.
Therefore, talking with your neighbor is still the key. Try to figure out what works for you, and then stick to it. By making a schedule, you will both know exactly when making a bit more noise is acceptable and when keeping quiet is necessary.
However, talking things through doesn’t always solve issues like these. In that case, you can consider resorting to some of the other solutions on this list.
2. Soundproof Your Apartment or Certain Rooms
If you and your neighbor just cannot see eye to eye when it comes to making noise, you can always opt to soundproof certain parts of your home. While this solution is definitely the most pricey one, it is also entirely effective.
Depending on the level of noise you’re dealing with, you can approach soundproofing in two ways. Firstly, you can just soundproof particular rooms in your apartment, be it your bedroom or office. That way, you will be able to sleep and work in peace, no matter what your neighbor might be doing. The second solution is to soundproof your entire home.
This option is, of course, quite expensive. However, it will mean that your whole apartment will be a noise-free zone. Even better, no one will be able to hear you either, meaning that you’d be free to live your life however you want.
Here are some tools and equipment you may use for soundproofing, regardless of how much of your apartment you want to cover.
Soundproofing paint consists of ceramic microspheres and thermal cells, which act as noise-canceling microfibers. Thus, when you apply the paint, you create a thin layer of microfibers all over your walls. This layer should absorb much of the noise coming into your home from the outside and from other apartments.
This type of paint is extremely dense. So, you will need double the amount of paint to cover your home than you would any other type of colorant. In addition, you’ll need to apply at least two layers for the paint to be truly effective.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect the paint to be enough to make your room or apartment fully soundproof. After all, it can only absorb up to 50% of all noise. However, this percentage is more than enough if all you have to deal with are loud TV shows and your neighbor’s everyday activities.
Sometimes, you hear a lot of noise coming from neighbors because you have certain gaps in your walls. Such cracks, no matter how tiny they may appear, can let in a lot of noise, especially from apartments directly above you.
Luckily, there is a simple way to solve the problem of wall crevices. Namely, you simply have to fill them with some high-quality acoustic sealant. Aside from canceling out any noise, this sealant can also reduce all vibrations from other apartments.
What’s more, you can also use acoustic sealant on your windows. By doing so, you can ensure that the noise from passing cars and chatty neighbors outside cannot penetrate your home at all.
Sealants are at their most effective when combined with other soundproofing items. Thus, you should first seal any gaps on your ceiling and walls and then paint them with soundproofing paint. This combination should make your life a lot easier when it comes to loud neighbors.
While all of the solutions above can work to some extent, none of them can make your home 100% soundproof. If that is what you need, you will have to buy acoustic panels and install them all over your room or apartment.
The greatest thing about these panels is that you don’t need to cover the entirety of a room to soundproof it. In fact, if you place them right, even just five panels can be enough to cancel any outside noise.
Therefore, you don’t have to spend all your savings on making your home a noise-free zone. As long as you consult with a professional and make a detailed placement plan, you’ll be able to do it within your budget.
Adding a decoupling element to your ceiling drywall is yet another soundproofing measure you can take. In simple terms, it entails installing an additional layer of drywall on your existing one. Adding resilient channels and sound clips between the layers can help make the sound barrier even more effective.
As doing this type of soundproofing is rather delicate, it is best to let a professional do it for you. That way, you won’t be in danger of hurting yourself or doing damage to your ceiling or walls.
A note of caution: Regardless of which soundproofing method you end up choosing, it is imperative to first ask your landlord whether you are allowed to do it. Not all of them will be okay with you changing up the space too much, especially by adding panels or another layer of drywall.
Of course, you should only notify them if you are actually renting an apartment. But if you are the owner, you can do pretty much anything you want.
3. Contact Your Landlord or Building Manager
Sometimes, people just don’t have enough money to go through the soundproofing process. After all, even the simplest of methods costs a lot, including acoustic sealants and paint. In addition, it hardly seems fair that you should spend all your money on making your home quieter when just a little consideration from your neighbor would be enough otherwise.
So, if talking doesn’t work and you don’t want to spend money and time on soundproofing, you can try contacting the manager of your building. Once you reach them, explain your situation. Say that the noise coming from your neighbor is making it impossible for you to sleep or work from home.
It would help a lot if you also included the exact hours when the noise is the loudest. In addition, you can give examples of the type of noise you hear so that they know what you are dealing with.
On top of that, you can gather some support from others in the building. If your neighbor is so loud, then there must be others who are annoyed and inconvenienced as well. Finally, it can also help if you record everything and bring it in as proof.
After you report everything, it will be up to the manager to talk to your neighbor. Getting the building management involved usually causes people to realize the seriousness of the problem. In other words, they might want to reach a compromise more easily.
Sadly, there are times when not even this step is enough for the noise to stop. If that is the case, getting the police involved is the next logical solution.
4. Call the Police
As drastic as this sounds, sometimes calling the police is truly the only way to deal with loud neighbors. If you’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked, this step is pretty much your only option.
Of course, getting the police involved does not mean that your neighbor will get arrested. Rather, they will just receive a formal warning from your local PD. However, police warnings are almost always taken seriously, so they are quite effective.
Make sure that you have exhausted all other possibilities before involving the police. Even though it is just a warning, it is still serious, and your neighbor won’t be happy. So, only do this if you truly have no other choice.
In addition, never call 911 to notify the police about a noisy neighbor. This number is reserved for life and death situations, so you shouldn’t use it for settling non-urgent matters.
Instead of 911, you should call the number that your local PD uses to take any non-urgent complaints. This number is different in every state. If you aren’t a big fan of phone calls, many PDs also offer you the chance to fill out an online form and file a complaint that way.
Whichever filing method you opt for, the procedure will be the same. You will have to describe the noise, prove that it is happening during quiet hours, and provide all other info that the police might require.
File the Complaint Anonymously
Whether you file your complaint via call or online, you will have the chance to do it anonymously. So, even though you will have to give your name and ID number, you can choose to seal them. Doing so ensures that you stay protected.
In addition, it guarantees that your neighbor will remain safe too. After all, you don’t want to cause legal issues and turn everything into a long court battle. An anonymous complaint is, in that regard, a better choice, as it erases the possibility of the situation becoming a public disturbance case.
Finally, filing an anonymous complaint is also a way to avoid getting asked any further questions. After you file it, it will be up to the police to follow up on it and issue a warning. In other words, you will be fully off the hook right away.
5. Take Legal Action Against Your Neighbor
Finally, if everything else fails, the only thing left to do is to file a formal complaint against your neighbor. It goes without saying that you want to avoid a lawsuit as much as possible, but if you have no other choice, you can do it.
You should be aware that filing a lawsuit requires money and an experienced lawyer. Also, you will have to gather audio evidence that will help your case and show what you are going through.
In most cases, civil lawsuit cases don’t last that long, meaning that you could have a verdict in as little as a couple of months. However, if your neighbor hires their own legal team and fights you, the whole thing could drag on for a lot longer.
In the end, you should only file a lawsuit if your lawyer thinks that your case is solid. Otherwise, you will just lose your time and money, and your relationship with your neighbor will become irreparable.
6. A Few Final Tips
As with all neighborly matters, it is essential to be reasonable. For one, you cannot expect to never hear those around you if you’re living in an apartment building. Chances are that you will have to live with noises coming from TVs, conversations, vacuum cleaners, and so on.
If such noises aren’t too loud and they occur within reasonable hours, you shouldn’t complain all the time. After all, everyone has to live their lives and go about their routines, just like you. So, if you just complain all the time, everyone will see you as that cranky person who can’t be reasoned with.
Thus, it is essential to be patient and pick your battles. Going to your neighbor about a raging party at 3 am is okay, but complaining about them making dinner at 6 pm isn’t.
And finally, as long as you keep your requests sensible and your tone friendly, you can win anyone over. That way, steps like filing police reports or lawsuits will be entirely unnecessary.