One of the hardest things about living in a ground floor apartment is dealing with noise from an upstairs neighbor. Regardless of whether the noise is coming from normal everyday activities (like walking and talking) or if you are dealing with late-night parties on the weekends, the first thing you should try to do is talk to your neighbor.
Fortunately, in many cases this helps fix the problem, but there are also steps you can take if this doesn’t work.
- 1. Block the noise by Soundproofing
- 2. Use a white noise machine to turn off softer sounds
- 3. Put on headphones and listen to music if the sounds don’t last long.
- 4. Use earplugs
- 5. Talk with your neighbor
- 6. Talk it over with the community
- 7. Talk to your apartment owner or landlord
- 8. File A Legal Action Against Your Upstairs Neighbor
- 9. Move in to other peaceful place
- 10. Take revenge from your noisy neighbor (not recommended)
- How much noise is allowed?
1. Block the noise by Soundproofing
Soundproof your ceiling for a permanent solution. Check with your landlord about soundproofing your roof options. Most options for this require you to put a second layer of material on the roof. This may not completely block out all sounds from your noisy neighbor, but it can reduce them considerably.
Some options include installing acoustic tiles with a metal grill, adding a second coat of gypsum board to the ceiling, or painting the ceiling with a damping product like Green Glue or Quietglue Pro.
This will not be an option in all cases, but it may be worth checking with your landlord to determine if they will authorize the changes.
Yes this way you need to invest to block the noise coming from upstairs, but this is a good solution once and for all without much arguing with the neighbors.
2. Use a white noise machine to turn off softer sounds
Use a white noise machine to turn off softer sounds. If your neighbors are routinely loud while trying to sleep, use a white noise machine in your bedroom.
These machines emit a soft sound, such as static, running water, or nature sounds, which can muffle unwanted sounds coming from above.
You can find these machines at most home supply stores, anywhere that sells baby equipment, or online.
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3. Put on headphones and listen to music if the sounds don’t last long.
If you feel very upset, play soothing music, such as classical or blues music.
If you’re trying to watch TV, get wireless headphones or turn on closed captioning on your TV.
This is perfect for dealing with recurring noise that is short. Instead of being bothered by the sound of your neighbor’s hour-long clarinet lesson, put on headphones and listen to your favorite music. This will turn off the sound that bothers you, and you can refocus on what you enjoy.
4. Use earplugs
If you need more peace while you sleep use earplugs. For louder sounds that you can’t muffle with a white noise machine, earplugs might help you get some peace. Industrial-grade foam earplugs mold to the shape of your ear canal, blocking sounds more effectively than other types.
You can buy earplugs at drugstores and home improvement stores or online. Here is one of the best selling one.
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5. Talk with your neighbor
Honesty has to be your banner. You have to wrap yourself in the flag of truth to show it to your neighbor, so they will know your intentions right away.
Be sincere, Let them know your concerns so they are aware of the inconvenience they cause.
If after a while you do not notice a change in attitude on the part of your neighbors, demand again, this time in writing, that the noises stop .
Make known in detail and in a concrete way, all the inconvenience and damage that noise is causing to your health and that of your family .
Many fail here and in the end both parties cannot speak well to one another, the relationship is tense and the noise does not decrease. There is also a very simple reason for this.
What you say to your neighbor and what your neighbor interprets in it are usually completely different things. So it makes a huge difference how you convey your concern.
How do I gently teach my neighbors that they should be quieter?
- Don’t use the moment to talk when you feel disturbed. The chance is high that you will then (over) react emotionally.
- Put yourself in your neighbour’s shoes (even if it is difficult for you) and then ask yourself: is he even aware that he is making annoying noise?
- Try to come up with an idea of how your neighbor would benefit from simply being quieter.
The last point 3 in particular can be very difficult, but it can also have the most effect. So we should take a closer look at this.
The truth is that basically everyone cares about themselves first. Absolutely no one cares if you start a conversation about it that is all about your benefits.
If you ask someone to do something, e.g. to be quieter so that you have more peace yourself, the other subconsciously will always ask himself:
“What do I get out of it?”
If he doesn’t find a reason or you don’t give him one, he may turn down the music system or the television, but next week everything will be back to normal.
Really try to find out what, in their own interest, might make your neighbor rethink their habits.
6. Talk it over with the community
In case the neighbor does not take for granted or ignores your complaints – more rare things have been seen – you will have to raise the matter with the members of your community .
Who knows? Maybe you are not the only one affected.
Ask other neighbors if they have the same problem with noise. You will probably find that you are not the only one who can hear your your neighbor making noise.
Talk to your neighbors who live next to the noisy neighbor, as well as everyone nearby.
7. Talk to your apartment owner or landlord
It is also possible that there is noise pollution that neither you nor your neighbor can really prevent. Some things like closing a door, walking on a wooden floor or flushing the toilet simply make noises.
The same applies here as when dealing with your neighbor. Try to get your concerns across in such a way that the owner of the house sees an advantage in taking structural soundproofing measures.
If there is nothing you can do here either, think about your personal priorities. What is more important to you? Really have unrestricted peace and quiet and move into a suitable new apartment or come to terms with the current situation and stay there?
8. File A Legal Action Against Your Upstairs Neighbor
In the event that you do not want to move out or that moving out is an enormous effort (e.g. if you have bought the apartment), you often only have to go to the lawyer.
I myself would try to avoid this last stage by all means. Litigation can sometimes last for years and cost a lot of money, time and, above all, energy. Of course, it is also not certain whether you will be right in the end.
Finally, I have one more tip that helped me a lot.
If you start to write down the noise pollution and set up devices to record the volume like a scientist, you are only subconsciously increasing your perception of the noise.
9. Move in to other peaceful place
Move in if none of the other options work.
If the landlord is aware of the situation, they may be willing to talk to you to find another apartment, or they may allow you to terminate the lease without penalty.
If moving is not an option, you may need to make your apartment soundproof.
If none of the above solutions have worked or if your neighbors have become hostile, you may have to move. Ask your landlord if there is another apartment you can move to, like one on the top floor. If there are none, you may have to terminate the contract.
10. Take revenge from your noisy neighbor (not recommended)
Give them a taste of their own medicine.
If you’re feeling petty, there are many legal ways to get back at your noisy neighbors. As long as you don’t overdo it, you can let them know your dislike.
This steps are not recommended, but you may be thinking about this for long. Watch this video will surely give some ideas.
How much noise is allowed?
It is not easy to make a general statement here. Now it is the case that in Germany, the land of unlimited laws and taxes, different requirements apply depending on the type of noise.
Generally speaking, there is a night’s sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. During this time, all noises should be avoided that neighboring neighbors could hear and thus disturb. The same applies all day on Sundays and public holidays.
Basically you can find countless sources, rules, laws and ordinances on what is allowed and what is not on the Internet. Usually there are then certain exceptions or separate provisions and you cannot avoid professional legal advice in order to really get certainty for your specific case.
Therefore, I do not even try to explain all of the separate regulations, as I am not allowed to give any legal advice anyway. There is also a significant difference between being right and being right.
It makes much more sense to look directly at how you can tackle the problem with your neighbour’s noise, instead of arguing who is right and who is not.
If you have carpet, subfloor, flooring, and subfloor on your side, and you have insulation, stretch gutters, or a suspended ceiling in yours, the sound of footsteps will be greatly reduced.
It will be as if your neighbors are three stories above you, not dancing on your head.
But you don’t need to jump straight into construction work . If you and your neighbors are willing to compromise, you could limit the passage to specific days and times.
Alternatively, you can get them some carpet underlays, if they’re open to that solution. Either way, the noise should be less disturbing.
Now there are quite a number of legal provisions and court judgments from the past that show you what you actually have to put up with and what you don’t.
But does it really bring you peace if you enforce your rights?
So in most cases it makes sense to start with yourself first – even if it’s easier said than done.
Noise is and remains just noise. Would you like a sound to determine your mood, well-being and actions?
Therefore, try to stay calm first, not to create arguments and conflicts and to threaten the police or legal action directly. Just be smarter and think about how your neighbor would benefit from not being so loud anymore.
Then seek a conversation with the person who caused the noise with clear thoughts and package your request in a clever way.