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This woman bought the duplex we rent a couple months ago. We live in the upper, she lives in the lower. She and her girlfriend seem to sleep in the room directly below mine and I can often hear them talking, laughing, and walking around late into the night, even until 1am sometimes.

It's not like they are very loud; just loud enough that I've been having trouble sleeping or going to sleep. I don't believe they think they are being loud enough to bother me.

She has a young adopted daughter that has had a couple sleepovers with a friend in the past, and they were much louder at that time (and stayed up even later). Both times this happened I politely confronted her about it and asked if she could be quieter. She seemed unwilling to compromise at those times and the kids were still loud after I talked to her. (This has not happened recently.)

Because of her uncooperative nature the last time I brought up a much worse noise issue, I doubt whether she would help me out this time. It's probably worth mentioning that we have been looking for another place to live even before she bought the place, and we hope to move soon.

The past couple nights they've interrupted my sleep and while I don't want to be a jerk about the noise, it's also affecting my health and my performance at work now.

I would consider earplugs except that I suffer from tinnitus and wearing earplugs just seems to amplify the ringing.

Does it seem like there's some way I can approach her about this problem? If so, how?

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    Please don’t write answers in comments. It bypasses our quality measures by not having voting (both up and down) available on comments, as well as having other problems detailed on meta. Comments are for clarifying and improving the question; please don’t use them for other purposes. – user58 Aug 16 '18 at 18:51
  • What jurisdiction are you in? Housing and tenancy law can vary depending on where you are. – anaximander Aug 17 '18 at 14:32
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I had a similar situation in an apartment that I was renting where somebody next door to me was excessively noisy (left the radio/television on all night on high volume, talked on the phone loudly until 1am, vacuumed their carpet at midnight etc...) and I had to involve the landlord. This guy had been living there for a long time (5+ years or so) and he and the landlord were friends, so my landlord basically told me that he wasn't going to do anything about it and that I would have to deal with the noise (incredibly irritating, but I really couldn't do all that much about it). My solution was to just move away. It sounds like you have already started that process, so just continue down that road.

That being said, it is important in this situation to recognize that your relationship with this person is that you are their "customer". They are providing you a product/service and you are paying them in return. Think of ways that you can leverage this relationship with that person to your advantage.

One Approach

I would recommend talking to her about it again and to say something along the lines of

"I am sorry to bother you, but I am having trouble sleeping due to the noise. Would it be possible to institute quiet hours starting at [Insert Time Here] on weeknights so that I can be rested for my job in the morning?"

If this approach is not effective, you can come back and say something like:

I have tried to be respectful about the noise issue, but I am having trouble getting restful sleep at night. If I am not able to get to sleep at night because of the noise, I may have to begin looking for another place to live.

This may cause her to become spiteful and intentionally make noise at night so that you have trouble sleeping, or it may motivate her to quiet down in an attempt to keep your business. It is hard to say what the response would be due to a lack of knowledge of her personality.

Another Approach

You could also try befriending them in an effort to create a higher degree of mutual respect. Inviting them upstairs for dinner or for a barbecue in the back yard could be a good way to resolve this situation and improve your relationship overall. If they got to know you better, they may come to respect you more and at night they might be thinking along the lines of:

OP has to be at work in the morning, we should probably be a little bit quieter

or

OP has their big presentation at work tomorrow, she is probably stressed enough as it is without us making it harder for them to rest

etc... Now, this obviously depends on their personality and your goals. It could be a lot of work to do this just to get some rest at night, but who knows? You may gain some good friends and also create a much more positive relationship with your landlord!


It may be a good idea to also evaluate how reasonable they are being. Is this the type of noise that would bother anyone? Or is it just the type of noise that is bothersome to you? Determining this can help you to decide a reasonable approach.

In my own situation, until I was able to move away from my noisy neighbors in the apartment, I started to play some soft white noise (nature sounds, a stream running, whatever you like) from a speaker next to my bed. It was rather quiet, and I could still hear the neighbor, but it helped me sleep MUCH better. This solution may not work for you because of your tinnitus, but it helped me immensely until I was able to find another place to live.

One thing to be cautious of is that you want to be as polite as possible when dealing with this so you do not make the problem worse. Since they are the landlord, they are ultimately in control of the property. As long as what they are doing is not in violation of your contract, you may have no choice but to move away if their behavior does not change.

Final note it seems like you want to be polite and create a peaceful resolution, if you continue with that attitude, I am sure that you can both work something out.

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Side Note: I'm not a specialist in housing laws

First off, I'm sorry for your situation. It seems you're attempting a pacifist approach, which is commendable. However, if your landlord was not receptive to the first polite request, she may not be receptive to any following requests. Therefore, you may need to utilize the law/your lease agreement to try to limit her noise.

Sublease Agreement

From my personal experience (though this could possibly change), most leasing contracts have noise rules. For example, my current lease does not allow loud noise past the city noise ordinance, which is 9 PM. If your contract contains certain guidelines, and if she's breaking these rules, you can politely point out that she's violating the terms of her own contract/city laws:

"Hi Alice, sorry to bother you again, but you and your family were very loud again last night and it affected my sleep again. In my lease contract, I agreed to not make any loud noise past 9PM, and I would really appreciate it if you also respected those rules."

I would suggest not calling a noise complain to the police unless it's a very last resort. Not only will this further strain your relationship with your landlord, but this could spark vindictive behavior on their part. Not to assume the worst of her, but she may resort to purposefully causing more noise at night, denying you utility services, etc.

If none of these suggestions work or you choose not to follow this advice, you may need to stick it out until you find another housing option. Best of luck!

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    It sounds like you are describing quiet hours which although the amount varies from between country/state it is almost always enforced as below a certain decibel level (not complete silence) and I doubt this is loud enough to qualify as a breach, typically around 35 dB(A). OP describes the sounds as "talking, laughing and walking around" or "not very loud". Even if the noise juuust qualifies as breaching quiet hours... unless its a clear violation using this solution will not help OP much at all. – Jesse Aug 17 '18 at 7:09

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