/ Home & Energy

Everybody needs good quiet neighbours

Noisy neighbours cartoon

There’s nothing like the ‘thud, thud, thud’ of the next-door neighbour’s music to keep you awake at night, and our research shows noisy neighbours bother most of us. So how do you get them to keep it down?

When our neighbours complained of ‘foot fall’ I thought they’d lost out on a financial investment.

Little did I know they were referring to the sound of my size-four feet echoing through the ceiling – although I imagine my boyfriend’s size 13s were more likely the cause!

Which? Legal Service published some research today suggesting five million people are currently affected by nuisance neighbours – are you? Apparently, the most common cause for complaining about neighbours is their noise.

Our research showed the top 10 irritants annoying neighbours are:

1. = Loud voices/arguing (38%)/Loud music/TV (38%)
3. Door slamming (27%)
4. Noise from pets (23%)
5. Noise from regular parties (21%)
6. People stomping around (20%)
7. People coming and going at all times of day (17%)
8. DIY noise (e.g drilling) (17%)
9. = Overgrown trees/hedges (15%)/Parking in my parking space (15%)

Shhh! The neighbours

I was nervous reading our report. In a quiet block of flats I’m pretty sure we’re the noisiest of the bunch! We don’t mean to be – we don’t party hard – we just seem to be the ones coming and going the most. And we’ve got friends and relatives with children who like nothing more than to run between rooms, ring the buzzer and jump on the furniture.

When my neighbours confronted me about our ‘foot fall’ I was a little tempted to question what on earth it is, but actually, it’s important they mentioned it. It would be a silly thing to fall out over. I had no idea they could hear us busying about above them and we’re far more careful about dashing about the flat now.

I’m very lucky to say that rarely in my life I have I been affected by noise from my neighbours. But I’ve friends who have been driven to distraction by their neighbours, a couple I know have moved house as a result.

And I regularly see posts on my friends’ Facebook status updates confirming Mr and Mrs Shoutey are at it again or looks like Mr B is in for another good night. Yes 5% of complaints about our neighbours relate to the sounds of them, er, having sex.

Resolve your dispute

So what can be done about noisy neighbours? Well, our advice is not to lose sleep over it. If you have an issue with a neighbour that you’d like some advice on, Which? Legal Service lawyers will be answering your questions on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 June. Why not resolve your nuisance neighbour issue by sending them a question?

Are your neighbours driving you to distraction? Have you got any good examples of how you resolved the issue?

What annoys you most about noisy neighbours?

Parties/loud music/TV (41%, 98 Votes)

Noise from pets (20%, 47 Votes)

Loud voices/arguing (14%, 33 Votes)

DIY noise (10%, 25 Votes)

Doors slamming (8%, 18 Votes)

People stomping around (8%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 239

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Comments
Profile photo of dean
Member

Well, I’m a drummer so you can guess what kind of experiences I’ve had with neighbours over the years! 🙂

What I’ve found is that if you give your neighbours advanced warning of when noises are going to occur, they are generally much more accepting. Also I feel that confined to certain hours of the day, noise is perfectly acceptable. I frequently hear my neighbours phone, tv, conversations, door slamming etc but I don’t care. The only time I care is when I’m trying to get to sleep, but then our flats have a rule that there is to be no loud noises between 11pm and 7am. Incidentally, I do not have my kit setup at the mo, either electric or acoustic, because I know how sound resonates through floors and irritates people. I buy my second house soon, safe in the knowledge that I WILL be able to play my acoustic drums there, happy day! 🙂

I sympathise with people that live next door to baby factories or student digs as these 2 groups of people have little or no regard for their neighbours.

One noisy neighbour I had for a few years actually had rattling old pipes that woke me up whenever they used them. Unfortunately those pipes ran right past where my head lay on the pillow, not a very nice experience at 5am! Still they moved out and the new owners actually got it sorted after a quiet word from me

Profile photo of Nikki Whiteman
Member

I genuinely love having noisy neighbours as it means I can get away with being loud on the odd occasion. I’ve never had any problems with noise, but my neighbours have done some quite odd things which I’ve had to get sorted with them: once they ‘fixed’ the locks on the communal door because one of their keys didn’t work, and their new habit involves throwing things out of their window into my garden.

It can be so frustrating when you’re having problems with your neighbours, and it seems much harder to talk to them because you don’t want to have an argument with the people you live near. Luckily my neighbours, despite being weird and annoying, normally sort things out when I’ve had polite words.

Profile photo of dave d
Member

There is a drummer living up the road from me who practices all times of year with his windows wide open: I have no objection at all and in fact I rather like it.

There are cockerels and hens in at least 3 gardens that are within 4 houses in each direction of me: I love these and have no objection at all.

However, my next door neighbour above slams everything: she slams every door hard; she slams her bin into my front fence; she slams things in the shed; she makes a huge and I’m certain unnecessary show of banging the filter out of her vacuum cleaner against the side of her bin for at least 5 minutes each time she empties the dratted thing; she tips wine bottles and glass jars into the recycling bin from a great height and then slams the bin lid. All these things are completely unnecessary noise and they annoy me greatly, BUT…..

my new(ish) neighbours below – the attached house – who are quiet in almost everything they do, do seem to do a lot of DIY that involves extended use of a hammer drill and an awful lot of dropping things that land on the floor with a sub-sonic thud which shakes my house and has recently caused china to fall off the mantlepiece.

This last type of noise is what I really can’t deal with. It is unpredictable, it is quite alarming and it’s actually causing damage to my property and possessions.

I’ve spoken to the lady once and got a very negative (though perfectly politely couched) response which made it quite clear that they have no intention of changing. There was an insincere sounding apology for the broken china, but no offer to replace or pay for it and it was accompanied by “we’ll be stopping in 10 minutes or so to put [daughter] to bed”, so she clearly doesn’t give a hoot about the effect on me.

Ironically the lady and gentleman who used to live in that house, until they both died, were hard of hearing and had the telly on loud enough for me to hear but over 25 years of living next to them that never bothered me once. Why? Because it was predictable and it didn’t have a physical effect on my belongings or home.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Many years ago I lived in a flat. The young man below was quiet six days of the week but always played loud music when he returned from the pub on a Saturday night. One afternoon I had been having an enthusiastic session with the vacuum cleaner and he commented that it sounded like a ‘herd of elephants’ when we met each other going out of the building.

The next Saturday, the loud music started as usual. I started the vacuum cleaner immediately and the music was promptly turned down. After that, my neighbour was much more considerate. In return, I always did the vacuuming when he was out.

Profile photo of Charlotte Fitzgerald
Member

Our legal team have published their answers to your nuisance neighbour dilemmas. Here’s how to handle a prolific BBQ’er http://www.whichlegalservice.co.uk/our-services/neighbours-q-and-a

Member
moaner says:
18 June 2011

since moving in and having 2.5 years of “f**k off, f**k you, bang slam crunch scream” i have had my flat up for sale. in the mean time i have found that giving them a dose of what they give me has had an effect. they are now much quieter and i haven’t heard more than the “expected/normal” amount of swearing, for about six months. I had tried polite notes etc but they were too ignorant to see things from any one else’s point of view. the management company that looks after the flats are as weak as can be and told me i’d have to go to the police to get something done. i didn’t as i’m sure the police have better things to do than tell scum to shut up and behave like decent human beings.

Profile photo of richard
Member

Hmm
I see both sides of the problem – I have 3 large dogs – that bark at the dratted free roaming cats that defecate in my garden – and often wail to cap it all. I have had the odd complaint that my dogs bark at their cat in MY garden. I freely admit my dogs bark at night but only at their cats in my garden

I am an avid DIYer so occasionally make noise during the day – whereas my neighbours DIY at night when I’m trying to watch TV! Once or twice is understandable – but every time during a weekday evening is not.

My neighbours often use their empty garage for overnight ‘guests’ that seem to be chronically deaf – or for parties – These parties are so loud even during the day that even with double glazing I have difficulty listening to the radio. Once they complained of my TV/Radio noise which was set so I could hear it clearly 5 feet away but not hear outside the room with the door closed – Their landlord came round – fortuitously my radio was on and he had to admit the ‘noise’ was low. I had to move bedrooms as the night noises next door disturbed my sleep.

Finally the parties next door used to be far too loud until say 4 o’clock in the morning. One day I became infuriated and went next door to complain – the noise level was so high they could not hear me knocking – ‘Luckily’ the door was open – So I went in – theatrically switched the player OFF – shouted at them to shut up and go to bed – they were astonished into silence! The party noise level has never been loud since.

Guess what – these people are students!!.

Member
Sheila says:
18 June 2011

We had the most horrendous neighbour who became infatuated with me,he was
Jealous of my sons even drove towards my son when we were out in town,he
Made a pass at me, when I told his wife she said I wore provocative clothing.
We were unable to sit out in the garden without him making remarks and revving
His cars.The stress was making me ill, our youngest son was too stressed to stay
Alone in the house,our neighbour had banged on the door and threatened him when
We were out.Our only solution was to move,I loved that house,it was where my
Youngest was born,we cried when we left.It as left me unable to trust people the same.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I have enjoyed peace and quiet for most of the 30 years I have lived in my present house, which is in a quiet cul-de-dac. I’m planning to move and I had not even thought about the possibility of noisy neighbours. This article and the postings have provided a useful reminder of the noise problem, though a lot is down to luck unless you can afford to live in a detached house well away from others.

Member
Maximus Whackus says:
17 July 2011

I’m another drummer, with a huge kit in the garage, and practice every day. Nobody has ever complained. Not even the night worker accross the street. The reason – I try to keep it down, concentrating on technique rather than volume, and don’t play late at night. The kit cost thousands, but I spent around 5 times that on soundproofing. When I’m with my kit, the only sound I hear from outside is when a deep-throated V8 engined car goes past. My neighbours can just about hear me, if they are in their adjoining garage. There are considerate drummers.
On my fairly dense estate, you’re going to get noise. Live with it.
Children playing, strimmers, teenagers swearing, ice cream vans, idiots with motorscooters, the main road. I can’t afford silence. I had extra thick window glass installed, which makes a real difference.
The worst noise I ever suffered was at university, where a really selfish bloke played his hifi full blast. It was unpleasant down the corridor well away from his closed door. He was quite deaf, surprisingly.

Profile photo of lynsteg
Member

heres 1 for u i have been consistentaly getting harassed by a neighbour who uses the local authority against us complaining of loud noise. Our grandchild was crying because she was ill 1 night and she got the police to our door.she said the child had been crying for 8 hours non stop also the tv on 24/7.All allegations where checked out by police and social work and no further action taken.She had noise monitors installed for 2 weeks which came up with nothing,and she constantly gets noise police round every week even when there is no noise. Im sick of hearing about noisy neighbours and how there are plenty of laws to protect peopleagainst it but who protects the innocent when they are victamised by maliscous neighbours using the legal system. The system encourages a stasi type policy of neighbour reporting neighbour but these systems can be used to bully people,so they move away

Member
Malc.Moore says:
2 February 2013

After i split with ex-wife i moved back to my Home Village and since not getting any younger took a ground floor flat little did i know what i was in for next door neighbors Upstairs OMG it was like the YMCA one did not know who actually lived there.Later i was to find out the Tenant well known to the Law and was Visited by them in numbers of 3+ officers he was so dangerous then the local Council moved Drug takers in above me no proper nights sleep for 6months.Then the Dangerous 1 bought a dog and let it Poo in front of my front door.I protested and was threatened with a Samari Sword he said i will F–king Kill you.I was advised by the Police to move for my own safety well away i moved over 100 miles away he got off i could not identify him at the ID PARADE.It was Quite a new modern estate not the sort of place you would expect bad neighbors.Later i heard the Drug users were evicted that lived above me.The bad guy his girlfriend left him but she no loss could not cook and would not clean.Been over6years now settled and its not grim UP NORTH!.

Member
Sheila says:
1 March 2013

I wrote about my terrible neighbour 2011.Last Christmas whilst delivering a card to an ex neighbour my exit was blocked by my ex terrible neighbours car,my heart sank was it starting all over again?
He shouted across to me “can you forgive me I got it all wrong” he told me he had been told a lot of lies about me and my sons by another neighbour. How can he expect forgiveness for making our lives hell. I now feel a lot better that this whole sad episode as been closed. Moving was the best thing we did.

Member
alba22 says:
3 April 2013

Hi, I’ve been having trouble with neighbours having loud sex in the night I mean real loud. I just literally bought the house so its not like I can move. What can do I do?

Member
Malc.Moore says:
3 April 2013

If that was me i would probably get a proper Plasterer in and tell him to put polystyrene backed plaster board up on the wall to your neighbor depends what they are like if you put a sign up saying that they have Loud Sex with an Arrow pointing to your neighbor you may have to move but my m.s.g. is clear be careful would like to move over 100miles so you do not get stabbed.Had i been a young man in my case i could well have took Revenge but at my age i did not like the idea of Prison to end my days.Polystyrene boards are glued to the wall and reduce noise and on outer walls condensation they come in Various Thicknesses from 3/4″ to much Thicker at 1&1/2″ maybe 2″

Member
Maximusclitoris says:
31 January 2016

If I was you I’d tell them face to face and ask them to do it in another room so it doesn’t bother you anymore xx

Member
terry says:
7 August 2014

I am experiencing problems with a neighbour downstairs. just constant banging noises like hitting a ceiling. Very annoying and I tried knocking the door and say keep the noise down but no answer. I wouldn’t mind a tap on the door if my t.v’s a little load. It’s between the hours of one and two in the morning and it makes me so angry.

Member
Allan says:
16 August 2014

I recently moved to another suburb, a nice quiet suburb.I had enough of a nuisance neighbour. I had to get away from this old chronic, alcoholic neighbour, who constantly had a loud radio or a loud tv on from 7am every morning. It was so loud, it could be heard over and through the concrete walls of all 4 flats. He did this to get attention from other neighbours, so we, (myself and his other neighbours), would get so angry, they would go next door and tell him to “turn it down”. He would then turn off the noisy radio or tv and he would invite us into his flat, to stay for “awhile and have tea or coffee with me”, ( he would’nt share a beer, they were too precious to him). We complained to the real estate agent, the police and even to the owners of the flats. Eventually we had enough and we all left the flats, within 2 weeks of everyone else leaving.Finally, he is now the only tenant in the flats, so he is very lonely. This is ‘karma’. We did try to help him by buying him a set of headphones. This didn’t work and he called all of us “selfish, uncaring neighbours”. One neighbour even offered to buy him a hearing aid and he said “I’m not f..king deaf, just lonely”. I mean what can you do with a person like this? You can’t spend all day with him, just to keep him company and listen to his drunken b*****t and other rubbish. He was the “neighbour from hell”. He should’ve gone to the hotel instead, he would’ve had company and other drunks to socialise with, but he wouldn’t go to the hotel.

Member
Michelle says:
3 March 2015

We told our neighbours about the banging water pipes we could hear to which they replayed with , we are sorry but we aren’t going to be doing anything as we are selling the house soon and we don’t want to fix it to then move out ! Which is all well and good for then but I’m left with 3 children that won’t sleep through the banging I need help what can be done (I need some sleep )

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

When selling a property the owner has to declare whether or not they have been in any dispute with their neighbours. You might like to advise your neighbours that the best way to make sure they can answer that question favourably would be to stop the banging. If they ignore that you could remind them formally that you are entitled under the law to “peaceable enjoyment” of your property; since they have chosen to move you would not cause any lasting upsetment [unless, of course, it stymied the sale and you were left with both the inconsiderate neighbours and the noisy nuisance]. Sneaking out in the middle of the night and turning off their water at the stopcock would probably not be a good idea but asking the water company to investigate “the strange noises caused by dodgy pipework next door” might be worth a try [the water company has a statutory duty to ensure that internal water fittings comply with regulations].

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Has anyone spoken to an upstairs neighbour about thudding footfall? I can deal with a lot of noise from neighbouring houses, such as kids, dogs, shouting, music etc. but the bass thump of feet on certain areas sends a horrible feeling right through me. It’s like someone hitting the floor with a rubber mallet, I can literally feel it in my ears. The bizarre thing is that it’s unbearable when the guy’s slender girlfriend is staying, whereas when it’s just his 6’4″ frame, it’s nothing like as bad! Ive trained myself not to get wound up but after a length of time I can’t take it any more and end up shaking and crying. I mentioned it once rather sheepishly and didn’t get much response. However we are all on really good terms, so I think I will have to be brave and ask to arrange a ‘house’ meeting (he’s the freeholder, I’m leaseholder) and I think I will actually offer to pay for extra padding under certain areas of his flat. Otherwise I will have to move. I also get thudding from next doors laminate floor, but as he’s a builder I think if I offer to pay for materials he would add an extra layer of soundproof drywall. A reduction in both sounds would make a massive difference to me and my blood pressure. I am seriously becoming unwell.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

(I should’ve mentioned that I’m talking about footfall from an upstairs flat – I’m ground floor. Next door is a house)

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

You shouldn’t offer to pay anything. You are entitled to “peaceable enjoyment” of your home and if you’re going to spend any money on this spend it with a solicitor who can send a warning letter to the offending owner. I assume your flat is a conversion; depending on when that was carried out there might have been a failure to comply with the building regulations in respect of sound insulation between your ceiling and the upstairs floor and, as the freeholder, your upstairs neighbour might be liable for that. It’s worth engaging a lawyer because it takes the immediate pressure off you and should reduce the risk of retaliation or aggravation.

Perhaps your upstairs neighbour’s girlfriend has a bit more spring in her step.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Miss JP – Many years ago I lived in a flat. The young chap in the flat below used to go to the pub each Saturday evening and then come home and play loud music, often until 1 am. At other times he was very quiet.

One day he commented on the noise of my enthusiastic vacuum cleaning just before we going out of the building, so I took the opportunity to mention his loud music. After that, he very rarely played music after midnight and I tried to do the cleaning when I heard him go out. Neither of us had realised that we were annoying each other.

I hope your neighbour is accommodating as mine was.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Thanks for responding so promptly, John. I wish I had such a clear-thinking friend close by! I tend to buckle under pressure and therefore anticipate solutions in advance. I get on very well with both sets of neighbour’s, next door and upstairs. I guess the reality is, they don’t have a problem with me as I’m quiet. And they can’t hear each other, so I’m not sure they would be willing to fork out anything which appears to benefit only me. I do have the ‘privacy’ argument up my sleeve, though. I would not want my conversations and movements overheard. Perhaps once they realise I can tell exactly where they are walking and talking it might change their perspective! Either way, I can’t go on like this. I Ended up on antidepressants for a while, but that’s not the solution. Thanks again, John. At least I feel a bit more confident now reading your advice.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

@Wave change – I hope so too, and thanks 🙂

Profile photo of alfa
Member

Miss JP,
Just a thought, but how would you feel if your neighbour sent you a letter from a lawyer about something instead of talking to you?

If you feel able, I think it would better to try talking to your neighbours first before engaging a lawyer as bridges can be hard to mend.

I sympathise with your noise problem though. I once bought someone some headphones when their music thud got on my nerves, perhaps they need a new pair of slippers?

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I think you are right Alfa. It’s not worth the risk of alienating neighbours.

If Miss JP could find some way of getting the girlfriend to visit when the chap is stomping around, she would hear the problem for herself.

A lot depends on whether most people would find the clomping is annoying or whether Miss JP is hypersensitive to it. I’m far more sensitive to music than others. For years my neighbour would wash and polish his car at least once a week during the summer, with the stereo playing and the windows open. I doubt that it irritated anyone other than me.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

@alpha @wavechange
Well yes – my original question was whether anyone had spoken about this to neighbours. I would rather keep good relations. The thing is, when you are getting thudding all around, it does eventually get to you, so yes, I am now sensitive to it. Constant noises can cause stress disorder. Right now next door has music playing and I’m not at all bothered, but soon as thudding begins, I can feel myself tense up. Maybe I should just move! The other things is – since it has begun to get under my skin, I am being careful not to keep paying for improvements. I already forked out £5K on acoustic ceilings. From reading blogs, it seems “she who suffers pays the price”!

Member
Allan says:
9 April 2015

I lived in a block of 4 cheap rent, old flats, many years ago. I had an old lady and her large, adult, unemployed son living above me. He would plod up the stairs and stomp through the flat all day.(I mostly felt this at nights and on weekends, when I wasn’t working). He also had a loud tv on all day, so with his stomping, (It sounded like an elephant upstairs) and the loud tv, they drove me nuts. I worked full-time, monday to friday. I tried talking to his mother, but she said “he can’t help it, he’s a big man”. The above tenants were also good friends with the landlord, so needless to say, when my 6 month lease was up, I moved out. The stress of this flat got to me. Since then, I avoid living in downstairs flats, it’s not worth the hassle of noisy neighbours upstairs.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Allan that sounds terrible! I would never live at ground floor level again either, and my problem is not nearly as bad in terms of volume. I must say, acoustic ceilings do make a big difference. I think it’s better though if the floors in converted flats are treated also.

If anyone’s still reading, I made it upstairs at last and spoke to my neighbours. They were a bit baffled at first but very kind and helpful. We agreed they would pay for cushion vinyl and I would pay for a small area of acoustic underlay where there’s a lot of traffic. So it was worth the effort.

I had felt very wary after a bad experience with the previous owners, who were stompers of the highest order, rowed a lot and then ‘made nice’ rather noisily too. But glad I was brave in the end with the new people.

Thanks everyone for all your contributions. Knowing others have had similar experiences and reactions really helps.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I am glad it worked out to your satisfaction in the end. I suggested getting a lawyer to act on your behalf because you had said a previous attempt to raise the issue had not met with a helpful response, but your action in speaking direct to the people upstairs showed that it can work if the circumstances are favourable.

You had already spent a lot of money on acoustic ceilings which you have said make a big difference, and you are now paying for acoustic underlay in certain areas, so I think you have made the major contribution to solving the problem. I hope the landlord’s cushion vinyl at least softens the thudding noise or suppresses it altogether. I suspect that the real problem is that there is a cavity between your ceiling and his floorboards. If that is the case, only your landlord can solve it – by filling the cavity with sound insulation material. It there is a cavity, it is transmitting the sound without much resistance and causing the echo effect that amplifies the noise and reverberation.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Hi John, yes I have spent a lot of money, which has made an improvement but not without cost in terms of stress and also additional flaws in the works done causing additional stress. I feel like packing up and living in a caravan sometimes! I learnt never to undertake such work on my own again. I won’t mention the next door neighbour’s who have stripped all their floors and created an echo chamber which means I hear all their conversations! Now that’s another story… Lets just say I’ve got quick at using my iPod or earplugs.

Member
Mrs C says:
14 April 2015

I am so reassured to read your story Miss JP – We are having issues with heavy footfall in the flat above us also.

Currently there is a guy and a girl living there (not a couple) – the guy when he is there is fine, no problem at all. However, the girl who works shift patterns stomping about 5.30am not so much! It doesn’t help that her burly boyfriend pretty much lives there now and we can also hear their violent love making at all hours! We tried speaking to them a number of times re the footfall and just got told “what do you expect when you live in a flat?”

We have been through mediation with them and it was decided as they rented their flat that they would move a rug to see if that reduced the noise and if it did, they would contact their landlady to look to get underlay installed. That didn’t happen! Myself and my Husband have now contacted the landlady directly however, no response from her after two letters.

Honestly, don’t know what to do any more – we are getting to the point where moving seems the only option!

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Hi Mrs C, my stomach lurched when I read your story! I know that awful feeling, as the previous owners of the flat above me had that attitude. I see it on blog threads – the selfish people saying “what do you expect” and the considerate ones wanting to help. I have tons of information on soundproofing methods as I have comforted myself when I couldn’t sleep by researching on the Internet. I’ve also had expert advice. If your landlady was more cooperative, I would recommend companies such as NoiseStopSystems, Floorscan and SoundService regarding products. Don’t get a builder or carpet fitter in to do the work unless they have specialist knowledge. It is worth getting an expert survey done – if your flat doesn’t comply with Part E of building regs you might be entitled to have the work done, but I’m not sure what the position is if you’ve lived there prior to 2003 or if the conversion was done prior to then. There area companies who will do a survey for around £300 which might save you money in the end. Although my ceilings have vastly improved the situation by cutting out voices and TV etc, the same amount could have been spent on a floor/ceiling combo which would have been equally effective to reduce impact noise. Ideally the cost should be shared, but I would have paid up for the peace, as people don’t usually want to pay for what doesn’t benefit them. My new neighbours are very different! I have to say though, the whole episode previous to the current neighbour’s was very damaging to my health. I am not sure I will ever be quite the same and my dream is to live in a detached home or purpose-built (post-2003) flat. My advice would be to move if you can afford it. There will be something better out there. I’ve also spent many nights on Rightmove and if it weren’t for having my uni lad still at home, I would have jumped at one of several places! Heartbreaking, yes, but you have to watch your health. To be honest, I’ve read up so much on soundproofing and the effects of neighbour and environmental noise that I have thought of setting up my own consultancy, as I’m a trained counsellor and could also offer support! But I’m dreaming of (early) retirement now…. somewhere quiet! Let me know how you’re doing.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

I think your experiences must be quite common. My flatmate was last night complaining about a ‘baby elephant’ plodding above us.

When I stayed in a friends house when I was younger, their mother accused me of having ‘heavy feet’. I consciously changed the way I walked inside and since then I have developed a stealthy walk (not slamming my heels down), that means I sometimes surprise my flat mate when I’m suddenly next to him.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Patrick, I should add you to my consultancy team as a “walk trainer”!
I too have begun to walk stealthily as my flat had cheap laminate floor installed when I bought it. Mostly I have rugs down but it’s still more boomy than other finishes so my heels stay off the floor. As for shoes – they stay at the door.

Member
Mrs C says:
15 April 2015

Hi Miss J P & Patrick,

Apologies, I realise I didn’t make it particularly clear. The people above us are renting and we own our property.

What’s frustrating is she knows it bothers us but yet doesn’t do anything about it and during mediation said “I’ve lived in a flat all my life and never had any bother” – She then later when on to say on the ground floor! Never had people living below her!

The area we live is a nice one and I think, unfortunately, we have just got unlucky with our neighbours. We would never choose to live in a flat again – no way! Wish we had just saved more money and went for a house to start with!

Makes you actually dread being at home 🙁

Member

I had to move to the cheshire area in 2014 to start a new job.

I was “lucky” enough to be offered a flat from a housing association which I am paying full rent for, but my neighbour and her son love to bang / slam doors and scream and shout at each other. When they are out, their dog barks for hours on end.

I am in an upstairs flat, so thought it would be quieter, but I also am aware that my neighbour has had issues with violence in the past, and I don’t really want to speak to her as that could make life hell.

I thought of talking to my Housing officer, but I don’t want to seriously upset the applecart.

Please give me some advice.

Thanks

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
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Hi there BJ, thanks for your post – I’m pleased to let you know that we’ve published lots of really useful information here:

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/what-can-i-do-about-nuisance-neighbours

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Hi BJ – I agree with John, get some advice from your Housing Association first, and therefore you also let them know what’s been going on. It’s a first step. I see one of the Admins has posted some links – not looked yet so might be repeating same advice. I was with a Housing Trust before I bought my last house. I got a transfer after being burgled several time and ending up with stress related conditions. I regret giving up that tenancy to buy! I had to wait a few months for a transfer but it did happen. To this day I need a peaceful environment. It doesn’t have to be silent, but shouting, sudden noises etc are impossible. Good luck and what I will say from experience is don’t compromise too long. Your happy home is out there, maybe even the one you’re in.

Profile photo of John Ward
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Another similar dilemma of when and how to raise a problem with a neighbour. There will almost certainly be tenancy conditions that are there for your protection and which can be invoked by the Housing Association. This will not be be the first time the Association has had to deal with this kind of problem and it should be capable and experienced enough to deal with it in a way that does not lead to any repercussions against you . . . . but, as you say, you are wary of the consequences. If only to make sure the Association is not unaware of the problem you are suffering I feel you should speak to the housing officer confidentially and discuss with him or her the best way forward. It does not mean that they have to immediately read the riot act, but failure to put it on record could prejudice your interests at a later stage should things go from bad to worse. You never know until you mention it, but the Housing Association might be able to find you a better property within its stock.

Member
Dee says:
16 April 2015

I moved in to a ground floor maisonette last year. Noise from upstairs footfall etc can be annoying but I try not to let it get to me as they are a friendly family with young children and i dont think are doing this on purpose. Worst is the woman in the maisonette next door. Her tv adjoins my sitting room wall and she blares her tv so loud I can hear clearly the programmes she watches and cannot concentrate in my own and end up turning mine up too loud for myself to be able to hear. Her TV can also be heard from my bedroom next door and often goes in well after 11pm….she is very unfriendly too, never says hello although I have tried to when I first moved in. I don’t think she would be approachable to turn the volume down, as I’ve heard her when entertaining friends, quite intimidating. Would anyone have any cheap soundproofing tips? Or after 9 months is it still worth approaching her / writing a letter maybe?

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

Dee, no solutions are cheap but some are cheaper than others. You can add an additional sheet of acoustic plasterboard with Green Glue, then a layer of acoustic wallpaper or plaster skim. The glue is £10 tube and you need two per 8’x4′ sheet. It forms a soundblocking layer, not 100% but there are good reviews if you Google. Check it on YouTube too.
There are other forms of matting and sheeting available but require finishing with plaster.
Alternatively you could just try the wallpaper but make sure you get the one that blocks Incoming sound, not the other one. You must follow the instructions carefully.
If her tv is attached to the party wall, she should really move it or isolate the sound with a neoprene mat behind the bracket. But as she sounds unapproachable you might not want to discuss it with her.
Hope some of this helps! Above all, take care of you first and watch that stress doesn’t take you over. I bought an iPod and loaded it with white noise, waterfalls and Tibetan gongs to soothe my shattered nerves! But I’m ok now and have new lovely neighbours. Good luck.

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

PS Dee read my reply to Mrs C above too

Member
Dee says:
20 April 2015

Thanks Miss JP, I will look in to some of those suggestions. Noise is not as bad recently, some times I think its all in my head until it happens again!

Profile photo of Miss JP
Member

It’s not in your head, but has that effect on your head – it’s only natural to feel on edge when your home is being ‘invaded’ by noise and then you become tense and ‘on guard’. I’m so glad it’s a bit better now. I have elephant teenagers next door and after considering soundproofing have decided to live with the thumps squeals and thuds rather than end up with an overdraft. I tried all sorts of ways to block out the noise and became very tense and exhausted and a bit of a wreck to be honest. One day I just sat there for a whole afternoon in the school holidays and ended up thinking – I can deal with this. I hope you end up on friendly terms with your neighbour; maybe someone has had a word with her. Good luck.

Member
Neighbour problem solver says:
17 April 2015

Hi All

Would just like to tell a few people of my experiences. I live in converted flats which have very thin walls. I had a neighbour who took drugs and would come in from nights out Friday Saturday, sometime mid week with loads of friends, he’d put music on, his friends would be shouting singing, it was relentless. On top of this I was very kind to this neighbour gave him access to my wifi for no charge, helped him out when he had a washing machine leak. Anyway, I started to mention the noise how it was not ok, but he’d only ever turn it down when I would ask him on the time, which meant getting out of bed at 4-5am, knocking on his door, pretty ridiculous that he had zero consideration. Obviously this was not an ideal solution as then you have had a crap nights sleep, and I generally can’t get back to sleep after waking up. This kept on like this, him making loads of noise, me having to approach him each time, a few months in of this repeating he started started to get rude and nasty, accusing me of harassing his female friends, and of being very loud myself (which was not true).

Anyways I reported to landlord, environmental health, who sent him letters. The noise stopped for a bit, but then he started to be spiteful, shouting through the walls at 6am etc. I called the police one night they said they don’t deal with it anymore (Hertfordshire). Anyway this continued on for months! One night I came in from a night out and was in my flat awake, when the neighbour comes in shouting through the corridor that he is going to kill me, he probably assumed I was asleep and that he’d cause me another miserable night. I saw red! I went out and dealt with the situation, and he spent the night in hospital.

Unfortunately for him he was not aware that I had spent time in an elite part of the armed forces, and I used to box. For me this incident proved that there are people in this world who take kindness for weakness, and only understand one thing. As sad as it is, if you are in a desperate situation like I was, I suggest you consider all options and contacting people who be willing to offer alternative solutions, as from my experience the council, landlords and law, don’t care. My quality of life was terrible, but now the neighbour has moved out.

Member

I have upstairs built in cupboards for the two upstairs bedrooms.
Still the noise next door at all odd hours in the ight is deafening and annoying ad my child cant sleep at night.
Does acoustic sheets(soundproof) help and what is the cost approximately..Is it worth the investment.

Member
Trevor says:
9 December 2015

Hi to all, I have been looking through these online “conversations” & felt I should share with you our experiences of noisy neighbours.
First of all we are a very quiet couple & to be honest people are extremely lucky to have us living next door to them.
That said there are those out there that take advantage of this !
We moved 11 years ago from a 3 bed/2 bath detached family home to get away from very, very loud music, kids playing in the cul-de-sac & kicking footballs against our house, garage & cars, dogs barking & general very late night partying by various neighbours in the area.
The last straw was an extension being built next door that took 2 years & when completed the related party ended up with the neighbours sat on their new roof, drunk & very loud at 0400 ?
I wish I could say it was only the once.
Time to move so we did.
We moved to an even bigger detached family home in a area where the gardens are bigger, through roads so no football in the street, bigger gaps between the properties & a much older community.
We knew this area very well & had tried moving here for 3 years which included going for 11 properties & in the end we got one & moved so very happy & all was good…………… for about 6 months.
It became very apparent that the upwind, retired neighbour was a DIY nut & not a very good one.
It didn’t matter what time of day or day of week or season of the year he will spend loads of time dreaming up a new project then start it, he’s not good enough to complete the projects so always ends up having to get a contractor in to finish the job off or completely redo what he has done wrong.
The latest thing was this past Monday when he had an electrical emergency !
His “extension” which is a serious eyesore & no one can work out why he had it built on & how he came up with the plans ? Anyway, this extension was rewired by him off a separate fuse panel with substandard wiring, surprise surprise !
The mains actually burnt out & the electricity board were called out, they parked on my front lawn, not his but mine & punched trough our water mains via the water meter & mains cut off valve up by the road ???
So after about 2 hours our neighbour is back on his mains electricity & we are still on reduced pressure mains water which isn’t enough to keep our combi boiler working ?
The water board are now sorting this out but what the heck !
This is on top of his big drive renewal project which is unbelievably noisy & dirty to US & has been going on for 2 months now ?
He has cut through his phone line too which is being dug up & of course this is in front of our house too & all I have mentioned here is just the tip of the iceberg.
Door slamming that can be FELT through our house, (even this far apart) constant BBQ’s for the same retired couple a lot of the year, constant car maintenance & his motorbike, always drilling & banging things inside & outside the house, always finding new lights to wire in outside & now one in particular shines right up past our curtains & reflects off the ceiling & of course the 2 grown up kids who both have very noisy little yappy dogs that don’t sleep & both these kids visit ALOT & as they don’t have kids of their own these dogs are of course the grandchildren & cant put a foot wrong !
Various people have complained politely including us but this 73 year old believes he owns the road & just doesn’t stop.
He did admit once that where they used to live the neighbours had complained too so ???
He has become a danger to himself & to those of us around him yet the authorities do nothing ?
So do we stay & hope he gets to old to keep doing this, which I doubt OR move again ?
I have found out recently that our house is the property that has been sold the most by along way on this whole estate, I wonder why !
The worst thing tho is the dogs, they look after them for their grown up children when they are away on holiday, the neighbours are to old to be able to deal with these dogs & they basically go mad, escape & attack anything & everything they find.
The other neighbour called the Police the last time this happened but the dogs weren’t removed so again the authorities do nothing ?