“I have to listen to my neighbour’s music and I don’t have a choice.”
Is this you? And not so into their music?
Dealing with noisy neighbours can be a tricky affair. After all, they live next to you and could make your life even more miserable if they were that way inclined. But ignoring it would be doing yourself a great disservice. You need your sleep.
So, what can you do when it feels more like you’re living with someone than next to them?
Try talking to your neighbour about the noise
You may feel anxious about talking to your noisy neighbour, but in most cases it is the most effective approach. Of course, there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Banging on their door and screaming obscenities probably won’t work.
Instead, choose a time when you’re calm and relaxed. Plan what you’re going to say, focussing on what you can hear rather than what your neighbour is doing. They are much more likely to empathise.
Often offering a plan or alternative is helpful. For example, “How about you play your bongos before 11pm?” And as often as not, neighbours aren’t even aware they’re disturbing you, so will be more than happy to quieten down.
If the noisy neighbours persist
If the reasonable approach fails to get the volume down, there are several other options. Formal mediation can be effective. Most Australian states and territories mandate procedures to help those in apartments work through noise-related problems. Get in touch with the relevant authority in your state or territory to find out what options are available to you.
Local councils and the police can also offer assistance. The police are useful for late-night issues, such as parties. Councils are best suited to help with long-term problems and animal and machine noise. If it gets to this stage, remember to keep a record of the noise, including volume, type, times and duration.
Finally, there are some types of noise that you may feel a little awkward bringing up with your neighbours, if you know what I mean. In these instances, a polite note under the door usually does the trick!