Noisy Neighbor and Unhelpful Landlord Deprive Me of Sleep. What are My Rights?

By Tenant

The downside to living in an apartment complex is the noise. Imagine several people in the same building, doing their own stuff in their own – with some tenants even being inconsiderate enough to make all kinds of noise. Yes, it is a nightmare. Although hearing your neighbors sometimes is okay, hearing them every day until the wee hours of the morning is not okay. Clearly, there is a problem and since it’s about tenancy,  the easiest way to go would be to talk to your landlord about it.

Sometimes, though, your landlord will just turn the other cheek.  It happens.  It doesn’t sound fair especially if you are a good tenant.  I’ve had the same problem and a million other renters do too.  The difference between you and maybe half of them is that you’re reading this article.

So let’s break the problem into two. You have a problem with the noisy neighbor and an unhelpful landlord.

Here are some quick fixes to your noisy neighbor problem.

  • Talk to your neighbor about it.  It is highly likely that your neighbor is unaware of the noise that she’s making.  This is especially the case if your neighbor has a massive body built and/or she often wears heels.  It is also possible that your neighbor was thinking that the insulation between your apartment and hers is thick enough to absorb her noise.
  • Politely ask your neighbor if it is possible for her to install area of rugs.  Area rugs help absorb the noise that she creates whenever she walks around her apartment.
  • If area rugs are too expensive for her, maybe you can give her a pair of soft slippers as a gift. She’d love that for sure.
  • Buy a machine that sucks white noise.  This could be a more cost efficient alternative to moving.  I know that with the frustration you are feeling right now, it is likely that you may want to move immediately but, you have to think about the lease agreement you signed.  If you break that agreement, your landlord may charge you with additional fees. Also, moving means you’d have to prepare the funds necessary to pay for the services of a moving company and also for the security deposit of the next apartment.
  • You can also buy some pretty good ear plugs to help you sleep through the night.  That is if you don’t have a problem waking up in the morning because if you have good earplugs on, you will not be able to hear your alarm clock.
  • Lastly, I would suggest you leave the bathroom fan on because it somehow drowns the noise.

Here are some tips on how to deal with an unhelpful landlord.

  • If it’s possible, look for a clause in your lease that specifically addresses your concern on noise.  If it’s not there, you’d also want to know if the floors are really made of concrete, like what your landlord tells you. Remember concrete absorbs the noise so you shouldn’t hear whatever your neighbor is doing.
  • Verify with your local building inspection office if your building is properly insulated. If it is, then it least likely that you will hear your upstairs neighbor’s movements.

If your landlord refuses to cooperate and even advises that you move to another unit, then it’s time to call for help. Help will come if you file a formal complaint with the RPA. The RPA is a private organization that aim to help tenants like you. Here is the link to their complaint center:

Filing a complaint is your right. It is the most basic right that any tenant should have.

Edited on: Friday, February 1st, 2013 11:55 pm

10 Responses to “Noisy Neighbor and Unhelpful Landlord Deprive Me of Sleep. What are My Rights?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


February 2nd, 2013 12:00 am

Most landlords don’t want to get involved because they have this belief that every tenant is entitled to his or her own privacy. So it’s best to check your lease agreement. Maybe there is a clause there that implies that your landlord will only step in if the noise reaches the common areas like the stairs or the building lobby.


February 2nd, 2013 12:20 pm

In the apartment that I used to live, I also had the same problem. But my neighbor was doing it intentionally. He got angry because I parked my car in his spot. God knows I didn’t know that it was his. I didn?t even know that there is a certain spot for each of us in the building. That wasn’t in the agreement I signed so I figured it was just his preference. So anyway, he started making all these noises like turning his TV on overnight, having parties, stomping his feet and all of those. The worst thing was, the landlord refused to step in because of some personal reasons. I really thought it was unfair. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and all because of that single mistake. So I filed a complaint with the RPA and the I don’t know what these guys did but whatever it was, I’m deeply grateful because the problem got resolved.


February 3rd, 2013 12:40 am

I think the best thing that you can do is to question the construction of the building through your local building office. Maybe the problem is not your neighbor but maybe it’s the materials used in the construction. Have you tried asking the other tenants if they’re having the same issues? Because if they are, then yeah, it’s really the building.


February 3rd, 2013 1:00 pm

What personal issues would stop a landlord from intervening? Maybe he has a thing for her? Just a thought :)


February 4th, 2013 1:00 am

Are there other empty units in the same building that you can move to? At least you’re not making the lease agreement. If there is, you may want to ask your landlord if he could pay for the moving services. I mean, you can’t possibly move all your things on your own – even if it’s just within the same building.


February 4th, 2013 1:00 pm

Sorry to break this to you, honey but has it ever occurred to you that maybe your neighbor is aware of all the noise that she’s making but it’s just that she doesn’t care? I mean, there are really people like that who think that they can do anything as long as they’re paying the rent. Sad to say, these people have no idea what the true meaning of freedom is. Anyway, your landlord should set the rules and help minimize the noise. If he’s not doing his part right, file a complainst against him. At least other people would know about the problems you’s had in that apartment and they can be saved all those sleepless nights. You can be a hero to other people!


February 5th, 2013 1:20 am

The idea of giving the noisy neighbor soft slippers is really cute. I mean, if the neighbor is pretty, I definitely wouldn’t mind going up and giving them those gifts. It’s hitting two-birds with one stone. I get to possibly resolve the issue on noise myself and at the same time, I get the chance to make an impression.


February 5th, 2013 1:40 pm

This is why we, seniors, do not like renting apartments. We just can’t stand the noise. My husband and I prefer to rent a house.


February 6th, 2013 2:00 am

I have the solution to your problem and it is very, very cheap and easy to use. See that hardcover book? Whack the ceiling a few times. That takes care of the problem for me. It’ll do wonders for you too!


February 6th, 2013 2:00 pm

Thank you so much for this post! These are excellent points to begin with before jumping directly to filing a complaint and/or contacting the local building office. I know landlords will be very pissed if you didn’t try do the sweet and logical steps first. Hey, let me just add that if you consult with your local building office, your landlord might make you his least favorite. So instead, you may want to file a formal complaint with the RPA first. RPA mediates between you and an uncooperative landlord to resolve your problem faster.


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