Q&A: Dealing with a Noisy Neighbor

Q&A: Dealing with a Noisy Neighbor
Q I have a neighbor whose door is just across from mine and whenever she enters her apartment, she closes her door with a very loud bang. Sometimes, I am asleep and I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. This has been going on for years and years. I talked to her about it, begged, cried, and shouted but to no avail. Sometimes she remembers and no sound, but 90 percent of the time the noise persists. What can I do short of writing to the board? This is a condo building and both of us are renters.

—Losing Sleep

A “This is a difficult topic for many reasons. Strictly speaking, there are no ideal solutions and no inexpensive, non-legal ways to stop the noise,” says attorney Richard T. Walsh, with the Williston Park-based firm Horing Welikson & Rosen, PC.

“Quality of life issues are the most troublesome for all involved. Noise complaints bedevil many boards of condos and co-ops, as well as landlords. These cases are hard to solve; hard to prove; are not well liked by the courts, and often develop lives of their own. What follows is not a primer on dealing with a noisy neighbor but suggestions on how to try to resolve the issues short of moving out, calling the police or commencing legal action.

“First, the letter writer should avoid any further confrontations with the noisy neighbor for any reason. At some point, the letter writer may be viewed as the problem if a confrontation gets out of hand. Remember the old sports adage—the retaliator is the one who usually gets caught. That is why it is essential that there be no further direct confrontations with the noisy tenant. You do not want to be viewed as the one causing the problem.

“The question states that both are renters of condominium units. Call the superintendent when this noise occurs, (you could even ask the superintendent to come to your apartment before the noisy tenant usually comes home and let the superintendent witness what happens).

“Be sure to get a second opinion—ask other neighbors on the same floor (or above and below the noisy tenant) if they have had the same experience. Remember, there is strength in numbers—other residents may be experiencing the same problem and if everyone speaks up, the noisy neighbor may listen and behave better.

“The letter writer should speak to his/her landlord and ask the landlord to speak to the door slamming tenant about the noise—continued disturbances may rise to the level of a constructive eviction or other breach of the warranty of habitability.

“If there is a neighborhood mediation group, the letter writer could try inviting the noisy neighbor to go to mediation to resolve their differences. If there is another neighbor who is friendly to both sides and is willing, ask that neighbor to try to intercede. Ask the superintendent and/or managing agent to intercede.

“As a next to last resort, the letter writer could try putting some sound insulation around the door and carpet near the door and any wall arrears where the sound comes through to try to dampen the noise. Finally, if none of those works, ask your landlord to ask the board to meet to discuss the problem—let the board try to mediate.”

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  • I experience a similar problem with a neighbor's door slamming except the unit is down below and it starts early in the morning and they have to open & close the door repeatedly even if they're right attheir car.
  • I have a similar problem. Tenants and landlord constantly slamming doors all day and night, stomping around, doing who knows what. Sounds like they are moving furniture around all the time or bowling.... They have no regard for me. Very inconsiderate. I can't sleep. I wondered for a long time about what caused my sleeping problem. I realize now what it is. My landlord is a bartender and comes home at 1:00 am and moves around and talks like it's 12:00 noon. They all have loud voices too whether talking to each other or on their phones. I get half asleep and half awake. I can never seem to go into a deep refreshing sleep. No wonder I have chronic fatigue all day long. It's a tough nut to crack. They aren't the nicest understanding people in the world. They don't care about or think about anyone other than themselves. So selfish. I hate that.
  • Thin walls. Doors that face each other. Uninsulated doors and walls. People not working. Its a daily challenge. But, no grass to cut.!
  • 1 live here for 37 years and problem I have is the super who lives below me, some times he stated his noises banging, slamming 6:00 p.m to 1: a.m nextday the landlord has been notified about this issue and nothing happens