Noisy upstairs neighbors can be an intensely frustrating problem if you live in an apartment or condo. Sometimes, tenants are inconsiderate and make too much noise late into the night. In older houses or apartment buildings, creaky floors and thin walls can be a nuisance even if everyone does their best to be quiet.
Living on the lower floor of a building has plenty of perks, but noise from your upstairs neighbors is one of the biggest downsides. You do have options to manage this problem without creating a confrontation, though. Here are seven suggestions for dealing with noisy neighbors:
1. Add soundproofing to your ceiling.
You have a few options for blocking the noise that comes through your ceiling. One possibility is to install ceiling clouds, which are acoustic panels that can dramatically reduce the noise and echoes that make it into your space. They come in a variety of colors and styles, so you can choose panels that match your decor. However, they do need to be mounted to the ceiling, so you should get your landlord’s permission before installing them.
If you have drop ceiling tiles, another option is to add soundproofing material above them in the ceiling. You could replace the tiles entirely with soundproof tiles for the best results, but this can be expensive and may not be approved by your landlord. A DIY alternative is to purchase thick foam, cut it into rectangles that fit on your ceiling tiles, and place these foam pieces so that they rest on the tiles in the ceiling. This can absorb a great deal of the sound coming from your upstairs neighbors, and it doesn’t require you to make any lasting changes to your unit.
2. Add extra fixtures to your bathroom.
The bathroom is one of the worst locations in most buildings for noise. The open, tiled space creates a considerable echo, and the pipes running through the ceiling and floor can get very noisy for the surrounding units.
You can reduce the amount of noise you hear in your bathroom by placing extra mats or rugs on the floor and hanging towels or other coverings on the walls. Not only does this block out sounds from your neighbors, but it also reduces the risk of noise from your unit carrying over to the neighboring apartments.
3. Create white noise.
If your loud neighbors are preventing you from falling or staying asleep, you could use white noise to help drown out the sound. Many people prefer white noise over complete silence when sleeping anyway. You could use a white noise app on your phone or run a box fan while you sleep to create a soothing hum that blocks the noise from your neighbors.
4. Use earplugs.
Earplugs aren’t a perfect solution to noisy neighbors as they don’t actually eliminate the sound. However, if you only experience noise issues on occasion and don’t want to confront your neighbor, you could keep a few pairs on hand to use when needed. You can find earplugs that are designed specifically to be comfortable for sleeping, or you could use traditional earplugs if you need to concentrate on work or other tasks.
5. Talk to your neighbors.
If soundproofing your apartment doesn’t work, it’s time to bring your concerns to the neighbor who’s making the noise. Try to resolve the situation with your neighbor directly before you involve your landlord or property manager, and be as kind and courteous as possible in your first conversation. Your neighbor may truly not realize how noisy they’re being, so a brief request for them to quiet down might be all that you need.
Check your lease to see if it mentions noise. Some apartment buildings require occupants to be quiet from the late night to the early morning. In this case, you could cite this clause to your neighbor so that they don’t think you’re unfairly targeting them.
6. Document the issue.
Ideally, a simple conversation with your neighbor can resolve the noise problem. Unfortunately, though, not all renters will be considerate. If the issue persists, you should gather documentation so that you can make a case to your landlord. Use your phone to record audio when your neighbor is being loud, and keep a log on paper of the noise issues and the time of day that they occur.
You could also talk to your other neighbors to see if they have a similar issue. Although gossiping with your neighbors isn’t advisable, it can be helpful to know that other tenants can back you up. If you’re nervous about filing a complaint, you and a few trusted neighbors could work together to write a letter to your landlord.
7. Talk to your landlord.
A noise complain that you can’t resolve on your own should be brought to the attention of your landlord or property manager. Their job is to ensure that their building is safe and functional for all tenants, and a noise issue is most likely a violation of the lease.
You can talk to your landlord in-person or over the phone, or you could write them a letter so that you have a record of your complaint. Let them know that you’d like their help resolving a noise problem, explain the issue, and tell them what steps you’ve taken to manage the situation on your own. You’re probably not the only tenant in the building who has had this problem, so your landlord will hopefully take your concern seriously.
Excessive noise from your upstairs neighbors can make it difficult to feel comfortable in your own home. You don’t have to live with this noise problem, though. Whether you reduce the sound by making changes to your apartment or settle the dispute by talking to your neighbor or landlord, you are well within your rights to try to resolve the issue. Everyone deserves to live in peace, and you have several options for ensuring that your home is reasonably quiet.
Dealing with noisy upstairs neighbors can be frustrating, but many people have successfully resolved this issue in their buildings. You could make adjustments to your unit to muffle the noise, or you could take your concerns to your neighbors or your landlord. No matter what course of action you settle on, you’ll be glad that you addressed the problem when you experience true peace and quiet in your home.