How to deal with loud neighbors?
January 15, 2023 12:39 AM   Subscribe

I live in a single family house in a quiet neighborhood. The neighbors next to me must be new but have such large parties I am woken up by it. I can hear the music now. I at first thought it was due to the holidays but this is an all the time thing. I don’t want to involve the police and doubt they will actually respond anyway. What’s the best way to resolve this?

I don’t know my neighbors and I think the elderly neighbor gifted their house to their college grandkids because this not a young neighborhood. I have a fairly high tolerance but beyond the music there’s car doors slamming and yelling at all hours. I thought about going over with a six pack and asked them to maybe turn things down after midnight but I don’t know them and frankly if I was in college and some old guy came over to tell me to turn it down I would have probably not reacted well.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this? It is the dead of winter so no one is outside where I can be friendly. I don’t even care they have parties as long as they turn it down before midnight or a reasonable hour. If I’m hearing it a house away through two rooms at 2:30AM it has to be another post-bar party and I get that, I went through that phase. I just didn’t know if anyone had ever had a good resolution that didn’t involve the police.
posted by geoff. to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by aniola at 1:11 AM on January 15

Depending on your location, your municipal area might have something to call... but in my experience, that's pretty rare. (I've only seen it once.)

I've heard of people recording it on video, sometimes with a decibel meter, and managing to get something done that way. (Of course, that depends on laws in your area... but that's at least a way to save it for business hours instead of the middle of the night.)

Chances are, you could find out who the property owner is and send them a letter... but that's pretty hit and miss. If they cared, it probably wouldn't be happening in the first place.

Odds are it won't stop unless a visit - or several - from law enforcement occur.

Good luck and wishing you a good night's sleep.
posted by stormyteal at 2:03 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]

I had an upstairs neighbour once who played ludicrously loud music and had parties that ran until 3 or 4am. After one too many of these, I popped up to knock on his door to say "hey, parties are fine, but could you rein it in a bit?". He didn't answer, so I popped in a note saying I wasn't a noise police fascist, but that he was kind of taking the piss and would he mind being a bit more considerate. Gave him my phone number and said it would be good to have a chat sometime.

He dropped by a few hours later to apologise and to show me the note another neighbour gave that was just a long rant - "THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! IN THIS APARTMENT BUILDING WE ARE CONSIDERATE TO OUR NEIGHBOURS! I ALSO THINK YOU LEFT RUBBISH IN THE HALLWAY". They had just signed it something like "a neighbour who likes peace and quiet".

For that guy, my approach was the one that helped. He said the other note made him want to turn it all up and have more parties.
posted by knapah at 3:28 AM on January 15 [4 favorites]

I'm in a college town, and I've lived next door to a rotating crew of college athlete dudes for about six years now. Weirdly enough, the loudest that house has ever been was the year their school was online and they subleased to a family with children.

We've achieved a friendly relationship where they throw most of their big beer pong tournament parties during the day, head to the bars, and if there's an after party they keep it to an indoor dull roar.

We never went over with beer and to remind them about noise (I'm too dorky and middle aged to pull it off, plus they might not all be legal).

Instead, I've just always acted like a regular neighbor. Introducing myself and my family, answering any questions they might have about the town, chatting, bringing over a jar of fancy homemade sweet relish when they're grilling. They know my husband works from home and his hours, and my child's bedtime, and they try to work around that stuff.

The various parents have also come through to visit and help with move-ins, and yes, it helps to catch the parents and say hi. Parents will 100 percent tell them to minimize the loud parties, especially if they're the ones footing the tuition bill. (I've had parents ask me to text them if their sons are being rowdy, I've never taken them up on it.)

All of this is a long way of saying, be a friendly neighbor and build a relationship. Don't treat them like rowdy college kids, treat them like neighbors and work on solutions.

I really enjoy living next to these guys. Because they get treated like part of the town, they hand out candy at Halloween, join community yard sales, play catch with my kid, and get hyped when she wears her gear with their mascot on it.
posted by champers at 4:24 AM on January 15 [20 favorites]

Sometimes it is most effective if you can present the problem as a group. Talk to your other neighbors and see if the noise bothers them, too. Then, decide how you all want to proceed as a group (eg, neighbors from six houses talking to them will have more influence than just one neighbor talking to them). There is power in numbers.
posted by SageTrail at 5:08 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Are they actually neighbors or is the house an airbnb? If it’s an airbnb, see what your city’s zoning rules are for short term rentals.
posted by rockindata at 5:09 AM on January 15 [19 favorites]

I'd start by seeing if I could tackle it myself from inside the house - would a good white noise phone app and a pair of comfy sleep earplugs be good enough? If so, then leave it alone. (But I'm guessing if it were, you wouldn't be here.)

So yeah, I'd start by just making a general "getting to know the neighbors" overture. Stop by and say hi with some sort of 'welcome to the neighborhood' gift, whether it's a six pack or cookies or whatever. You'll set yourself up better to address any future problems if you start off by getting to know them instead of jumping straight to your problem with them. Once you've got some sense of who they are and how receptive they are to general friendly neighbor overtures, you can decide whether to talk to them about the noise, leave a note (and if so, whether signed or anonymous), talk to other neighbors, etc.

But as far as other experience - nah, I never had a particularly good resolution to noisy neighbors.

One possible ray of hope for you is that it may very well still be the holidays, if these are college students. Classes haven't started again yet where I am. Winter break is still in effect. You may find that things calm down once classes start and these students have responsibilities and things to wake up early for again.
posted by Stacey at 6:19 AM on January 15

Response by poster: I asked another neighbor and it is indeed an AirBnB which would explain why there’s college students in a neighborhood without a college. I noticed the block was full of strange cars and people I didn’t know going in and out but just thought it was a typical college party.

It is a strange neighborhood to rent out a party house but apparently the neighbors have for the last several months been reporting every small violation to the city.

This explains why when I was leaving and saw one woman with a bunch of booze unlocking the front door whom I assumed was the new owner give me a side eye when I waved while leaving my house. I figured it was cold or she has a bad day and didn’t think much of it.
posted by geoff. at 7:00 AM on January 15 [8 favorites]

Best answer: AirBNB has also banned party houses, so if you and your neighbors aren’t also reporting through AirBNB, you should be doing that too.
posted by rockindata at 7:25 AM on January 15 [28 favorites]

If they're indoors this won't work but the party house next door to me had some guests decide to start a dance party in the front yard at 11PM on a Tuesday. I used the time honored tradition of opening the window in my pajamas and yelling at the kids to keep it down. They did, in fact, keep it down after that.
posted by Narrow Harbor at 10:08 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]

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