Neighbor working on car till wee hours of night
August 11, 2018 9:40 PM   Subscribe

This was me. The problem with the late night car repair noises continues, after we politely talked to him and asked if he could wrap up by 11:30 pm. Now what?

A few weeks ago I had the flu and desperately needed a good night's sleep. My partner went across the alley at around 10 pm and asked our amateur car mechanic neighbor if he would mind wrapping up by 11:30. The neighbor was clearly annoyed but said he was just finishing up. Since then, i will give him credit that he almost always wraps up by 11:30. Tonight, though, it's after midnight and I am exhausted from a long week, I don't feel like sleeping on the couch, our house is clearly dark and the neighbor is drilling and pounding very loudly with his garage door open. I can actually hear it out on the street on the other side if it house, where I went out to take a rage walk because I'm goddamned furious.

If it matters, the guy owns multiple functioning vehicles, so it's not like he needs to wrap up and get the tires back on so he can drive to work in the morning. We live in a large city so I'm guessing this will not be high priority for police.

Other factors contributing to my extreme annoyance tonight: neighbor has spent several hours this evening wielding some sort of implement that is literally louder than a motorcycle engine. It is so loud that it startled my partner who was sitting inside watching a movie with the windows closed. So he's been drilling with this thing and I was forced to come inside from where I'd been sitting outside enjoying the evening because it was so loud it physically hurt. As with everything else he does he keeps his garage door open while doing this and he also was using it a couple of weeks ago when we had a friend over and were attempting to have a conversation on the back patio a few feet away from his garage. He also typically has an ultra bright spotlight shining out of his garage and into the windows of our house. We have blackout curtains but they are not 100% effective.

So clearly this guy does not give a shit about us. As I mentioned in my first question we are the only neighbors really affected by this due to the layout of our houses. We rent this house and it's getting bad enough that it's making me want to move despite loving many other things about the house. Are there any reasonable next steps we could take?
posted by whistle pig to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Start making noise complaints, for one. Every time. This wouldn't be a 911 issue - does your city have 311? Or try to find the right office. Yeah maybe they won't care once, but find out your city's hours, and as soon as more quiet time starts, do not feel even a tiny bit bad calling in the noise complaints, and it is very true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
posted by brainmouse at 10:11 PM on August 11, 2018 [19 favorites]

Is there any kind of noise ordinance where you live? You could try calling the police when he violates it. But....yeah, then you run the risk of him knowing you call the police on him. I don't know how safe that would be for you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:12 PM on August 11, 2018

Look up noise ordinances for your area. Ask the neighbor why he feels he must make his noise when he makes his noise. Remind him about noise ordinances, which are likely much more stringent than what you’re requesting.

Talk to your landlord as well.

Does this guy rent too? Find out who his landlord is if possible.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:25 AM on August 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Is it possible he's running a repair business out of his garage? Is he always working on the same set of cars, or does it change? Maybe look into zoning?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:34 AM on August 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thanks all. I will look into noise ordinances. Definitely not running a repair business; it's always the same car. He also owns his house.
posted by whistle pig at 5:01 AM on August 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Start playing Metal Machine Music at 6am from speakers pointed at his house.
posted by notsnot at 6:29 AM on August 12, 2018 [5 favorites]

I would love to wreak revenge like this, but unfortunately his house sits far back from ours and any noise we make in the morning is also going to affect about half a dozen other neighbors. Sigh.
posted by whistle pig at 7:14 AM on August 12, 2018

This doesn't fix your neighbor's inconsiderate attitude, but have you tried adding a white noise machine to your sleeping routine? Not a phone app, but an actual standalone device. We live at a busy intersection in a town where cruising late at night is still a thing (accessoried by blasting stereos and rattling bass) and our Marpac really helps.
posted by missmobtown at 8:34 AM on August 12, 2018

Sorry to keep threadsitting, but the noise can be heard through both earplugs and white noise. Done threadsitting.
posted by whistle pig at 9:00 AM on August 12, 2018

Why is the answer anything other than calling in a noise complaint? I'm not sure what the ordinance is in your city but it seems unlikely that loud banging at night is permitted. You talked to him once, he was unreasonable (the fact that he needs to be told not to make a clanging noise at midnight is already a bad sign), so it's time to engage the authorities.

I would find out when the cutoff time for your local noise ordinance is and call it in every single time. In a busy city, the police may not respond every time but you won't know unless you try and calling every time it happens will help. Also, get the exact cutoff for when the ordinance kicks in and report it earlier than 11:30.

Please don't engage in petty retaliation. That'll just make everyone's lives worse, especially the poor bystander neighbors.
posted by bsdfish at 9:11 AM on August 12, 2018 [9 favorites]

Time to call the police non-emergency line. Keep a notepad of dates and times you call and the police responce or non-responce. After a few occasions of either no action from police or neighbor starting up after cops leave, contact your landlord and someone at city hall or the ordinance dept. Having a record of when it happens and the result will be helpful.

The neighbor clearly doesn't care that he’s distrubing you and you’ve been patient so no reason to feel bad calling on him, frankly people like this deserve a visit from the cops or local ordinance dept. because he won’t change otherwise.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 10:57 AM on August 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Does your landlord know this guy? Do you have a good relationship with your landlord? I would say something like "wow, I really like this apartment and I would love to stay here, but the noise from Bob's garage is keeping me up until all hours, what do you suggest?" The implied threat that they'll lose a good tenant might spur them into action.
posted by AFABulous at 11:49 AM on August 12, 2018 [8 favorites]

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