Post # 1
First of all, happy new year everyone!
So I am not sure how to handle a situation with our neighbor. These are the neighbors who live directly next to us on one side of our house. We share a fence. A few months ago they built a nice firepit in their backyard, and they have started having parties in the backyard. I would say the parties are at least twice per month, but they have had two in the last week (including New Year’s last night). Usually the parties go past midnight, and I’m not really sure how late they end because we usually go to bed. My problem is the noise coming from the parties. They are usually playing music, and I can clearly hear whatever song they are playing at the time from inside my house. The group also starts yelling a lot (not angry yelling but drunk, excited yelling). It’s very annoying because we can’t really relax and enjoy being in our living room, which is the main area where we hang out in our house. If we want to watch TV we have to turn it up loud to drown out the sound of the party. I would not mind as much if the parties were just a few times a year but it’s becoming pretty frequent.
Up to now, we have not said anything to our neighbors but I’m thinking it may be getting to the point where we will have to talk to them or do something. To me, it seems so obvious that it is rude to your neighbors to be that noisy that late on a regular basis. However, maybe they think we don’t care since we’ve never said anything before. They seem like nice people in general – like whenever we see them coming or going, they say hello and they have invited us to a party before. It’s just not our thing because we are not big drinkers or partiers. It would be fine if they could move the party in the house where we can’t hear them, but I’m pretty sure they had the fire pit built so they could hang out outside. Also, I really really want to avoid having a bad relationship with our neighbors since we may be living right next to each other for years. I feel like it is really important to have a good relationship with your neighbors if possible since you have to share space with them and see them around. We live in a pretty close-knit neighborhood, and have mutual friends who are friends with our neighbors so it could get awkward.
Anyhow, for anyone that might have an opinion, I am really curious about how you would handle the situation? Am I over-reacting or under-reacting? What do you think is the best option?
Post # 3
I am your neighbor so I’m curious to hear advice on this issue. Of course we want to be respectful, but we also want to be able to enjoy our backyard. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that they try to keep the noise down after a certain time, does your town have quiet hours or a noise ordinance? In my town, noise needs to be below 50 decibals between 11pm and 7am… although I honestly don’t know how loud that actually is.
ETA: Just so there is no confusion for other posters, I am not *actually* your neighbor, just a similar situation.. 😉
Post # 4
I might give them an anonymous letter (if there’s other people near by) saying that you don’t mind the parties, but that they are occasionally very loud, and that if they could keep them down a little (especially late at night) that you would appreciate it!
And I’d drop cookies off with the note. So there’s no hard feelings!
Post # 5
Well first of all, I’m sure your area has noise ordinances. If they’re not careful they could actually get into a lot of trouble for it.
I personally would go over and talk to them, and just tell them nicely that you would appreciate it if they would turn their music off and try not to yell after whatever time at night as it does disturb you. I’m sure they’ll understand!
Post # 6
Please do not give them an anonymous letter. Someone did that to us and it was very frustrating because we would have loved to talk to the neighbors we were annoying so that we could first of all apologize for keeping them up and also so that we could set some ground rules (such as a certain time to turn down music).
Go over and chat with them. If someone told me I was being too loud I would not get angry, I would feel apologetic and I would look for a way to solve the problem. Maybe ask them to turn stuff down at a certain time (midnight?) and for parties to only take place outside on weekends.
Post # 7
I would just be direct and talk to them about it. When we lived in an apartment, the tenant below us played loud music; it woke us up and made the floors vibrate. I went downstairs, knocked on her door, and politely asked her to keep the music down. We never had a problem after that.
Post # 8
@jny1179: Thanks for your reply. I was hoping to get a response from people who identify more with my neighbors so that I can think about different points of view. I’m not sure about whether there’s a noise ordinance but I could look into that. Also, your edit cracked me up. Based on your avatar I am pretty sure you’re not my actual neighbor!
@BrandNewBride: I like the idea of dropping off cookies! It seems like that would help things go more smoothly.
@Tigerlilybride: I will look into noise ordinances but I’m pretty sure we are the only ones who would ever report them. They have another neighbor on their other side, but there is just country land behind us because we are on the edge of the development. It doesn’t seem like the noise is bothering anyone else except for us.
@MrsBeck: Thanks for your feedback! If our neighbors are willing to work it out like you suggest that would be my ideal scenario.
Post # 9
@GreenGarnet: I’d start with a polite, friendly chat and ask that they bring their parties indoors at a reasonable hour. I agree with PPs, an anonymous note can be hard to take seriously, it’s confusing for the recipients if they really don’t understand what the problem is, and if they do, it’s good to give them the opportunity to apologize! (I’d see the only reason for writing an anonymous note is if you are somehow fearful of the neighbors and worry about them retaliating in a dangerous way.) If the chat doesn’t work, it’s totally fine to call the police! They won’t arrest them for being noisy, just ask that they go inside. That generally concerns people enough to fix the problem.
Post # 10
Just talk to them about it-I can almost guarantee you that they don’t think you mind very much because you are pleasant to them and haven’t said anything. I would bring it up before the next weekend and let them know that in general their music is too loud to have parties so frequently-even before it gets terribly late, and also that you both tend to get to bed at 11 or so and would appreciate that they bring the party inside at that time. If they’re angry or mean about it, just be prepared to call the cops a lot whenever the noise ordinance kicks in, and know that your relationship would’ve soured anyway. However, likely they will apologize and keep the noise down, so everyone wins 🙂
Post # 11
twice a month if on a fri or saturday night doesnt seem that bad to me to be honest, eps since the twice in one week thing included a holiday/id say up to mdinight is reasonable and then they should start being quieter
Post # 12
@jny1179: If you have a smart phone, you can get a decibel meter app! I’ve used one at work before for spirit competition (I work at a school) and they’re really good.
@GreenGarnet: I would go next door and visit them, and ask how often they plan to have these parties. Maybe they’ve been having them more frequently lately because it’s the holidays? I’d also let them know that you don’t mind them having parties if you could set a few boundaries about noise level after a certain time. I’m sure they’ll work with you if they’re nice people.
Post # 13
- Wedding: September 2012 - Southern California
I’m not entirely confrontational & admittedly, we can sometimes be that neighbor so I can’t guarantee I’ll be much help haha. To me, twice a month isn’t really that bad & I could look past that & as far as twice during this past week, remember that it is the holiday season & these get togethers will hopefully decrease ..hopefully!
As that neighbor, I’m not going to lie, I’d probably be a little off put, especially if these parties are only one to two times a month & you never join us when invited (read: party pooper in a somewhat respectful manner haha) & asked me to keep it down. I would also take your concerns into consideration though. It’s just so hard to police everyone into being quiet, especially when alcohol is involved, trust me! With that said though, I’m always on everyone’s case about being quiet & periodically turning down the music throughout the night. Even when I’m drinking heavily, it’s something I try to be aware of! But if you must say something, yes to the cookie idea ;]
Post # 14
- Wedding: October 2013 - Dalhousie Castle
The best thing you can do is go and knock on their door and talk to them politely about the situation. What’s going to have to happen is you are both going to have to come to a compromise. Maybe something like, they let you know in advance if they are planning a large party and after 11 pm or midnight, they take it inside. You agree to put up with the noise for some of the night so they can enjoy their back garden. Also, don’t wait till you are so full of resentment towards them that your talk might turn into a argument. Do it soon and on a night they are not having a party, so you feel nice and calm.
Don’t leave an an annonmous note. They are going to figure out who it was, because how many gardens are next to their’s?!? It will make you seem really cowardly and immature. It’s also very rude and it quite counter productive because there’s no way to start a discussion/ compromise.
Don’t call the police without trying to resolve the situation by talking to them first. This should be a last resort. Even if the noise ordinances of your town are on your side don’t use the police as a subsitute for being neighbourly. Also, once you have to police talk to them they will be adviced not to talk to you becase they might be charged with harrassment. Chances are, they are actually nice people and don’t even realise they are bothering you. Getting them in legal trouble will make them much less likely to want to help you. These things are often difficult to resolve or prove in court and just end up wasting everyone’s time.
I say both of these points from personal experience. We had a neighbour leave an anonmous notes and then call the police multiple times to complain about our dog barking (the barker actually belonged to our roommate). Because of the way they approached it, we were unable to explain that they actually had the wrong dog. We were dragging though municipal court, where the case was eventually thrown out. Our roommate was completely unaffected and continued to neglect his dog and let it bark all the time, until we eventually asked him to move out. It was completely a waste of our time, it didn’t resolve the problem in a timely manner for them and just ended up in a lot of bad feeling between us and the neighbour.
Post # 15
@GreenGarnet: call the police to make an anonymous noise complaint. It will prevent any awkwardness between you and your neighbors.
Post # 16
@jny1179: Here’s a chart describing the noises at different decibel levels.