Apartment living can be great, but can also be a pain, especially when you are in a wood frame building and not a concrete constructed building, and ESPECIALLY when you have really loud neighbors beside or above you. I recently had a client who got new neighbor above them, and the new neighbors make noise late at night at levels so loud that his bed and light fixtures move while he tries to sleep. This is not good! Here are 5 steps you can do to help deal with a noisy neighbor.
- Introduce yourself to the neighbor BEFORE there is a problem so that they know the face that they are waking up in the middle of the night! Then, make sure that the 1st time it happens, let them know about the problem. They may not be aware that there is a problem, and may be more likely to make an effort to be quiet once they have seen your face and spoken with you. However if after a 3rd attempt to talk to them, it may be time to go to the next level of accountability. This is especially true if you have spoken to them in a relatively short period of time. 3 times in a year isn't bad, but 3 times in a week or two is clearly not a good thing.
- Do your homework. Go over your condo corporation noise bylaws to make sure that what the neighbors are doing are clearly mentioned in the bylaws as being not allowed. I am currently President of a Condo Corporation here in Edmonton and I can tell you that our Corporation clearly spells out the rules as far as noise. The government of Alberta also has the Condo Act which spells out certain guidelines for how your condo board should address issues such as these. It is an excellent idea if you document and log all dates and times that the noise happens, as well as your attempts to talk to them to try an discuss it with them. With noise issues, having a quick video from your phone that can pick up the noise may also be helpful.
- Contact your Condo Board with your concerns. When you do so, be clear, concise, and state just the facts. Include the log of the offences and the attempts to speak with those involved. If you include the bylaws that you believe are being broken, please also include them. Please make sure that it is done in official correspondence that the Board accepts, such as email or a letter. Just talking to them about it won't be enough! Ask for a deadline as to when you will hear back from them as well. If a condo board receives numerous written complaints about a particular issue, they are far more likely to deal with it. If one person calls and verbally complains, but does not follow up, then the Board will be less inclined to do anything about it.
- Contact the police. This is especially true if the noise is taking place between 11PM and 7AM , because there is a noise bylaw in place that the Police are able to enforce. It also strengthens any case you have with your condo board if you have an affidavit and report from the police on file. Use the same facts with the police that you have used with the condo board. Just the facts! They will be much more likely to be of assistance if you present a logical case!
- Contact your Realtor - and get out of there! The reality of the situation is that sometimes people who live in close proximity to each other can make each other miserable if they don't get along. Who wants to live like that? No one. If you have gone through these other steps, and see that there are no other options available, it is probably in your best interests to call your local Realtor and get the unit up for sale.
Noisy neighbors can take all of the fun out of the apartment living lifestyle - and at the end of the day there is only so much that you can do to help the situation. Make sure you deal with them the right way!