Just. Shut. Up.

Three years ago, The Bloke and I were renting a really nice terraced house. It was smaller than the one we’re in now, but it was cosy, with neutral decor and a nice landlord. Unfortunately, the walls were so thin that it was possible to hear someone sneeze next door. The first neighbour we had was a nasty woman, who spent her time screaming at her toddler, who cried all the time. After one particularly bad afternoon during the summer holidays, when I had spent the majority of the day listening to her constant yelling, I screamed at her to shut up through the wall. The shouting stopped immediately, and within the next week she moved out without telling the landlord – she just packed up and left. I don’t think my yelling at her would have been enough to cause that reaction, but I was torn by worry for the child and relief that I didn’t have to hear her voice any more. That was the first time I had ever experienced anything like that – I’d always been lucky to have nice neighbours and while there was occasionally some noise it certainly never bothered me before.

The next neighbour was no better – screaming child and freaked out mum who didn’t yell like the previous one, but was clearly frustrated. I got on with her quite well – she was a nice woman and she was staying there temporarily while her mortgage was approved so she could buy her own house – but it was quite stressful all the same. She moved out within a few months, and once again, it was bliss… for a few weeks at least.

And then, THEY moved in – a small family comprising of two parents and a toddler. It started immediately – screaming, kicking footballs against the joining wall between our two properties for hours, parties, music, more screaming. They would keep the child up until gone 11.00pm so the father could have a lie in the next day while the mother went to work. It went on, and on, and on for weeks, and we both started to get really anxious. I had no idea how to handle it, so I decided to knock on the door and ask them politely to quiet it down as it was really beginning to bother us. They were really friendly about it, closed the door, and carried on exactly as they had before. It quickly got worse over time, to the point where we both started to develop anxiety about coming home. It became so loud that we could hear it from every room in the house and when we turned our TV up full blast.

We took the next step and made a complaint to the council. It made no difference. We started making a note of the time the noise got excessive (which was pretty much all the time) and sent the details to the council again. We contacted their landlord. Nothing. In the end, I lost my temper and started shouting through the wall late at night (we’re talking 12.30am onwards here on a weekday and later at the weekends)  – I couldn’t think of anything else to do. By this point, The Bloke in particular was having enormous panic attacks most evenings – there was never a point where we could truly relax. Our landlord, however sympathetic he was, was useless.

They eventually moved out after about 18 months, but the prolonged and traumatic experience had left us with huge issues with noise. The slightest thing would set us off, and when the new neighbour moved in and immediately had parties and screaming rows with her boyfriend we knew we had to move. We couldn’t afford it, but we also couldn’t live like that anymore and as we were renting it was much easier to move than if we had owned the house and had to sell it.

Three years later, we’re in a warm and comfortable rented terraced house and we’ve been lucky to have absolutely brilliant neighbours on both sides that we have got along with really well. No issues at all – we’ve even been to the pub and looked after the neighbours house on one side of us. The walls are super thin but we haven’t really heard anything to set off the anxiety over the years here, so we’ve calmed down.

That is, until the lovely neighbours on the other side bought a house and moved out last week, and were promptly replaced by two young men. For the first two days, they clearly had a housewarming party and blasted music. Then, the singing at 11.00pm at night started. And now, I’ve been sitting in my front room for the last few hours listening to a very loud series of songs, accompanied by loud singing that is so clear that they may as well be in my house and it is almost 11.00pm. There’s no point me going upstairs to my bedroom, or the spare room, or the dining room, because you can hear it there too. I’ve heard a rousing rendition of Hotel California, and lots of Irish folk music, none of which I asked for at this time of night.

And my chest is so tight and anxious I can barely breathe. Every awful memory that I have from the old house has come flooding back, and the panic is beginning to set in. I’ve already had a chat with one of the lads when they were moving in and explained that The Bloke has to get up really early for work and to be aware that the walls are really thin, (I phrased it in a ‘if we’re making too much noise, let us know’ way) and he was lovely about it, but he clearly doesn’t get it and I can’t go through that again. I’ve been in a state of anxiety for almost a week and I’m absolutely dreading the weekend in case they start again. I just want them to shut up.

I also don’t want another war – what should I do?

58 thoughts on “Just. Shut. Up.

  1. Buy a canister filled with the essence of skunk, drill a small hole in the wall, slip a tube from the canister through that hole, seal the hole on your end and fill the noisy neighbor’s house next to yours with that compressed skunk stink. Then patch the wall, paint with matching paint, put furniture in front of the patched spot and get rid of the evidence.

    Wait until they are not home to do this.

  2. Hold the Landlord responsible. I believe it is this person’s responsibility as owner and manager of said property. In the States, renters have a specific set of rights in place to deal with this kind of situation. There is no Council here other than if the Landlord refuses to step up to the challenge, hire your own Council as in an Attorney. Frankly, I can’t understand how these people regardless of age, fail at having simple courtesy and respect for others living in the building. I wasn’t raised that way… I hope you find a solution soon Suzie.

  3. Hi Suzie I think you might need to have a word with these lads. Make a recording on your phone and get them to listen to it. You need to explain how unwell this is making you both. I wish I could give you a straight and conclusive answer but I can’t ❤💕❤💕❤💕

  4. Eep! I feel for you Suzie!
    I am not sure what you can do, other than go over and plead with them! 😦

    I lived in a flat like that in London and the lady below us used to complain ALL THE TIME that we were making too much noise, even when we weren’t at home. If you complain when things are quiet, they won’t listen to you…but if you mention it when they know they’ve been unreasonably loud, they should try to keep it down. Well…most normal people would!

      • Bwahahaha! 😀 It was a bit like Mr Heckles.

        At first we felt really bad and we’d tip toe around…but there was no pleasing her, so we worried less and less.

        Anyway, I am sooo glad you are sorted now.

  5. Oh Suzie, I am so sorry you’ve had such horrible experience with these inconsiderate, knit-wits! I am afraid I don’t have much advice (but tons of empathy!) as I’ve had many nasty neighbors. I used to live next door to a young guy who thought I too would enjoy his blaring music of God knows what! When I asked him to please keep it down he said, “Oh yeah? Well I hear people doing laundry at 3:00 in the morning.” *sigh* Cher xo

  6. In Canada we can call the police for excessive noise. Can you hear it on the street? And what about the neighbour on the other side of them? Do you know them? Maybe you could tag team an idea.

  7. I wonder if it’s time either to start looking to rent a new place, perhaps an end terrace with elderly neighbours so at least only one side can ever bother you. Or maybe if you’re both working you can afford a mortgage with the new help scheme from the Government. Maybe you can get a detatched place then.
    Whatever happens, I wish you luck and plenty of peace Suzie.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  8. Hey Suzie, I’m really sorry this is happening again. It must be awful for you and the Bloke. I think the suggestion of recording them and then playing to them is a good idea. I’m not sure where you stand on weekends but certainly on weekdays you’re well within your rights to ask them to be more considerate. I assume they work too?

    Would environmental health do anything? Where I work, we’re near a residential estate and some of the neighbours have complained about the noise from the hospital. They got environmental health involved who came and measured the level of noise with whatever machines they use.

    Hoping this can be sorted x

  9. I really feel for you both. Your home should be your sanctuary, your own safe calm place. Then inconsiderate idiots who have no thought for others spoils that! It does surprise me how selfish some people are 😡 The only option is to try to reason with them, but I can see that’s not easy 😢

  10. I really feel for you. We live in a block of flats and have had some problems with noise over the years. Our council has neighbourhood wardens and we called their anti-social behaviour line once and they sent two people out who asked him to turn his music down (he was a floor down and on the other side but the base was vibrating my bed!) That worked well (we never heard him again). We also have to sleep with ear plugs in otherwise we’d be woken up all the time. What I don’t get is why people are so inconsiderate.

  11. Oh no! I’m so sorry you’re both going through this – again! You’ve received lots of technical advice in the lovely comments so I’ll add in the hippy bit. Put a hematite crystal by your front door as this can deflect negativity. I put a piece outside my door when my ex was getting tetchy and we never saw him again lol. You could also try and Reiki the dividing wall to try and send calming energy towards your neighbours and chill them out. Don’t forget to meditate and get out of your house for walks in woods or by water. I hope you get it sorted my lovely. xxx

    • I know you’ve already seen the updated post (I’m still catching up with the comments), but thanks so much for the support lovely! The Bloke is interested in crystals so I’m going to show him this… This is really useful!

  12. Here it would be the council, they do act but it takes a long time.
    I so wish I had a solution for you, because you know what I’d feel exactly the same way you do and have the same reaction. So my heart goes out to you.
    One of my neighbours passed away and his house is going up for sale and I’m already worrying about who will move it and it’s across the river from me.
    It’s detached and secluded though if you want to move to Ireland?
    I hope you can get something sorted. The tape recording is a good idea so they can actually realise how loud they are.

  13. I can completely relate – I had the same issue a while back and it gave me total anxiety about going home after work. I persisted with the council, the building management and the lettings agents and although the awful tenants weren’t kicked out sooner, they weren’t allowed to renew their tenancy and stay on. I made detailed notes of times and activity and recorded as much as I could with my phone. I also spoke with other tenants in the building and encouraged them to report the issues too. I wish there was a quick solution for these things as it can be so detrimental to health but, for now, I’m sending positive vibes and hoping you find resolution to this x

  14. I’m afraid I have no useful advice to offer other than speaking to the lads and being really honest about how their behaviour is making you feel. Explain that you’re not averse to the odd Singstar session, but every night is unacceptable and it’s making you ill. I really feel for you my love. Noisy neighbours are the worst. Thinking of you xx

  15. Oh God Suzie, what a nightmare. I am not very good with a lot of noise either so can really relate. They are being so unreasonable and I thought it was up to the council to deal with people who constantly make a noise at unsociable hours. The only thing I can suggest is to write a diary and record the noise for a few days and try the council. Other than that I really don’t know what else to suggest.

  16. Invite them around for a perfectly nice tea, with cake and sandwiches, civilized. Colude with your other neighbour to make as much noise as possible for fifteen minutes in the middle of tea. Then explain how the noise they heard wasn’t a patch on what you hear through their wall. Maybe then they will understand. 😯😕

  17. Start keeping notes for the council, inform enviromental health, take recordings. When they are being particularly loud invite one of them round to see how bad it is. Its a long slog if you have to go down the enrivonmental health way, but it will probably get them evicted. I believe that if its rented, they now fine the landlord (might be making that up, but I am sure I read it)

    If worse comes to the worse, give the neighbours on the other side a heads up and then start playing opera loudly at 6am on a Sunday.

  18. Have you ever heard of non-violent communication? Maybe you could use that, it appeals to someone’s compassion while letting you say what you feel. You could use one specific event, like the singing at night, and say how you noticed someone singing out loud late in the evening. Then you say how it makes you feel (angry, upset, hurt, sad – but just pick one, keep it simple), and express your unfulfilled need (in this case: the need for quiet or for sleep). Then throw in a request, like: “so I’d kindly want to ask you to keep the noise down next time, please.”

    Be direct, but not blunt. But don’t shy away from saying how you feel, they’ll never get the message if you don’t speak up. If they keep continuing their loud behaviour, you can always talk to them again and say that if it happens again, you’ll take further steps. Or do record them as mentioned before and let them hear it.

    Know you are not responsible for how they feel, you are responsible for how YOU feel. You can’t go on living like this if it fires up your anxieties and that of your partner. Take a stand for yourself. Be kind, but be direct. Good luck! 🙂

  19. Pingback: Sometimes, People Surprise Me: Noisy Neighbour Update | Suzie Speaks

  20. This may deprive you of more sleep, but it’s something we did. First, we asked nicely once again. No change. So then we waited until all was quiet next door (presumably they’ve gone to sleep) and turned on the TV as loud as we could to an action movie with lots of noise. We did that for a couple of days, then called at 4 AM in the morning several times to let them know their music and friends were too loud. FINALLY, they got the hint.

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