The Best Way to Handle Annoying Neighbors

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An otherwise fantastic apartment can quickly become a source of frustration if you reside near annoying neighbors. Whether blaring music at odd hours of the night, leaving trash in the hallways, entertaining an endless stream of visitors, or simply refusing to use use indoor voices, annoying neighbors are something most renters will encounter at some point in time. You can make a bad neighbor situation tolerable, if not better, by taking action.

Talk to Your Neighbors

Issues usually worsen when there’s failure to communicate. Speak up! Though it may seem awkward and nerve-racking to approach your problematic neighbors, it’s important to remember that you’re just as entitled as they are to enjoy your time living in the space. Knock on the door and introduce yourself. Explain the situation and kindly ask that they remedy the matter (i.e. “Sorry to be a bother, but I’ve been woken up the past couple of nights by your music. I have to get up early for work. Would you mind turning it down on non-weekend nights?”) There’s always the distinct possibly your neighbors have no idea that their behavior is annoying. Sometimes all it takes is bringing the matter to a person’s attention before the problem disappears.

Whatever you do, be certain to talk to your neighbors face-to-face and not through a written note or another passive method. The context and tone of a note can easily be misinterpreted, and you’re much more likely to gain the respect of your neighbors if you show them some respect by being upfront and honest in person.

Be Nice

The golden rule is as applicable as an adult as it was when you were a child: treat others how you would like to be treated. People are much more likely to respond accordingly when you ask nicely. Avoid shouting or using a condescending tone no matter how annoying your neighbors have behaved. Being friendly goes a long way.

No Improvements? Speak with Your Landlord

Unfortunately not all of these kinds of situations end amicably–or end at all. If you’ve tried talking to your neighbors without any reconciliation, it’s time to bring your landlord into the picture. A knock on the door or note from the landlord is much more likely to whip your annoying neighbors into shape than anything you can personally do, but be certain to try to remedy the situation on your own first.

Continue to complain to your landlord until conditions improve. Good landlords and management companies are typically familiar with handling these sorts of situations and will resolve the problem in a systematic way.

Find Strength in Numbers

Casually ask your other neighbors if they’re experiencing any similar problems. If so, encourage them to speak with the culprits or to speak with the landlord. Complaints from several parties legitimize the seriousness of the situation.

Re-evaluate Your Expectations

Unfortunately, you might have to learn to accept some of your annoying or noisy neighbors’ behaviors. The ruckus during the work week is arguable, but you may simply have to accept it on weekend nights. As long as the annoying behavior is confined or ignorable, it shouldn’t be too difficult to tolerate. Try to be reasonable in your expectations.


Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

One Response to “The Best Way to Handle Annoying Neighbors”

  1. July 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm, anonymous said:

    When my neighbors were being noisy and obnoxious late at night, I typed up an anonymous complaint letter, naming the dates, times, and descriptions of all the incidents (and the neighbors’ apt numbers if I knew them) and slipped it into the complex’s letterbox. What I requested was that the complex sends out a notice to all tenants reminding them about quiet hours, and providing an emergency number to call in the case of obnoxious partying neighbors after hours. About 2 weeks later, these exact notices were on every tenant’s door. It worked!


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