Noisy Neighbour Nightmare

noisy neighbours

*Photo credit

This post today isn’t actually to do with debt but seeing as noisy neighbours are impacting on my life at the moment both personally and financially, this situation is on my mind most days.

So I hope you don’t mind but I just needed to have a bit of a rant today!

You may know that the hubby and I have a rental property where the rent covers the mortgage but where we don’t make any profit on it. It was our old house and we relocated to be closer to the hubby’s business, so we’re now renting too.

We’re currently in between tenants for our rental property and we’re experiencing a real problem with noisy neighbours next door. The old tenants had complained about the noise to the neighbours themselves, then they complained to me and I then complained to the neighbour’s landlord and finally to the police.

It turned out that there wasn’t enough strong evidence about these neighbours making a right racket in the early hours of the morning playing music, so we couldn’t take any action against them.

These neighbours deny that they’re making any noise in the first place and without any proper recording equipment, this is hard to prove. It takes ages for proper recording equipment to be installed by the local council – months in fact. Because of all this, our tenants moved out recently because of the noise so this is a serious problem for us financially.

Evidence is tricky when it comes to noisy neighbours

Anyway, the hubby and I were at the property last weekend and decided to stay overnight as we were doing some refurbishments. And what a treat lay in store for us! Around 6pm, the neighbours had some friends over for a party. Around 9pm, the music got cranked up. At 10.30pm, we went around to next door to ask them to turn the music down because our little girl was asleep. They couldn’t hear us knocking or shouting them over the music (windows wide open) and it was only when there was a lull in the music that they came to door.

They agreed to turn the music down but after midnight, the music got turned up again. I was practically spitting feathers at the injustice of all this by 1am in the morning, so I convinced my hubby that we should go outside and take a video recording to at least prove to the neighbour’s landlord that the noise is indeed coming from that particular property.

So my hubby and I went outside in our PJ’s and attempted to film the neighbour’s house to show the kind of stuff our old tenants had to put up with. It was really dark, but we managed to get footage showing the property and there was no mistaking the amount of noise coming from it. We then called the police to report the disturbance the neighbours were causing and I even asked the police officer if she could hear the noise from the other end of the phone in the hope that the call was being recorded. She said she could and she would send a police officer out (but no-one came).

The next morning, I popped down to the local police station with the evidence and they said although they believed me, the evidence wouldn’t stand up because it wasn’t recorded by proper equipment from the local council. The police officer’s exact words were that his hands were tied and the police have no power over this sort of thing. All they can do is ask the neighbours not to make noise after hours (which they had already done several times previously). I then sent the video footage to the neighbour’s landlord and waited expectantly to see how shocked they were going to be when they saw it.

It was me who ended up shocked though. The neighbour’s property is owned by an elderly lady who has passed the management of the property on to her son who is a lawyer. He spoke to the tenants who said that they did have a one off party because they thought the property next door was empty (ours). He also said that the neighbours disputed the date of the party with us saying it was the Saturday night and them saying it was the Sunday. So basically the landlord is going to do a big fat nothing about it.

I’m pretty sure these neighbours disputed the date of the party to make our version look unreliable. It’s all very frustrating considering the history involved with this and the fact that our tenants left because we couldn’t get the complaint taken seriously.

Whatever happened to having morals?

There’s two points that really bug me about all this. One is the landlord’s reaction. The neighbour’s landlord is refusing to acknowledge the complaints that have already been made and knows the law inside out so he knows that without the proper recording equipment, the evidence won’t stand up. With this in mind, he’s doing nothing. Why though? Is it just too much hassle getting some new tenants in?

The other point is the neighbour’s behaviour. It’s obvious to me that they are doing everything they to make sure they don’t get evicted whilst carrying on with the noise disturbance. I don’t like to judge anyone and I’m trying not to let my emotions get in the way, but from what I’ve seen, these people are manipulating the system here completely. I can’t understand why some people actually try to make things difficult for others and I’m just going to have to live with that because I’ll never know I guess. That’s just life.

The worst thing from my point of view is that I can’t exactly tell my potential new tenants what they can expect from living next door to such noisy neighbours otherwise I’ll never get the property rented out! I have to think of this from a business point of view surely but I do feel bad about this. What would you do out of interest?

All I can do is wait and see if our next tenants complain and then try to get the council involved in the hope that our tenants will stick it out long enough to get the recording equipment in. I’m also holding onto the hope that different people can cope with different levels of noise and maybe our next tenants won’t be too badly affected by these people living next door.

Have you had to deal with noisy neighbours before? Did you things get resolved?

*Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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Note: If you’re a fellow sufferer of noisy neighbour syndrome, the following sites might help (although I think I’ve tried most of these strategies already)!

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Comments

    • 2

      Hayley says

      Thanks Laurie. No-one else has complained as far as I know, but I’m going to speak to them just in case some of them have noticed anything. Maybe they’ll keep watch for me seeing as I’m not around that much. :(

  1. 3

    Amanda says

    I’ve been fairly lucky to never have an on-going problem with “purposely” noisy neighbours. I say that because I have had to deal with thin walls and/or floors many times and I know how annoying that is. I can’t imagine having neighbours like these!

    That’s really unfortunate that the police can’t provide more assistance, or that the lawyer landlord is being so difficult about it. Are there not other neightbours that are also being disturbed by the music/noise of these people?
    Amanda recently posted…Tales from a Tenant: The Fight for Free CableMy Profile

  2. 4

    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction says

    I’m in the process of having very noisy neighbours in our rental (by the way, we have a similar situation as you with moving for a job and renting out our property). Our new neighbours moved in 2 weeks ago, and I feel like I’m constantly walking on egg-shells, like I can’t relax in my own home. It’s always a matter of whether it is going to smell like weed, or I am going to hear the crying and yelling of domestic (verbal) fights. It’s just stressful. We’ve talked to the landlord, and he’s tried to do something, but it hasn’t helped too much.

    We’re started looking at other places honestly. I don’t want to move, and I quite like our location and our apartment, but I don’t see the situation being remedied… so it’s easier for us to move than go through loads of “he said, she said” type battles. It sucks.
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted…Goals For 2014: Quarter One UpdateMy Profile

    • 5

      Hayley says

      Oh Alicia, I’m sorry that you’re going through this, that’s awful. :( Can you get the police involved because of the weed? Or will that make things worse? Could your landlord talk to theirs perhaps? I’m sure your landlord won’t want to see you go. It really does suck that some people effect others lives so much and they just don’t care what they are doing. Hope you get things sorted out Alicia.

  3. 6

    Shoeaholicnomore says

    How frustrating! When I was renting an apartment in college I had some horribly loud, disgusting, messy boys as neighbors. I hated it! Fortunately, complaining to the landlord and calling the police here seems to work. The landlords don’t want the police at their property so they talk to the tenants themselves. When that didn’t cut it, I did call the police. I didn’t take care of the messy, disgusting part, but it did take care of the noise when I was trying to sleep.
    Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…Student Loans: “Good Debt” or “Bad Debt”My Profile

    • 7

      Hayley says

      Glad you managed to sort out the noise at night, I think that’s the worst when you can’t sleep. Messy disgusting boys doesn’t sound good though no matter what time of day it is. :)

    • 11

      Hayley says

      I think speaking to the noisy neighbours is a definite must at the start. We did that – well our tenants did and then I had a very sensible meeting with them where the noisy neighbours denied ever making noise. We held the meeting at their house and they didn’t have a TV or anything, just a great big stereo system!

  4. 12

    Hannah says

    Hi Hayley, I have been reading your blog for a little while and would like to wish you well in clearing your debt you are a real inspiration to me. It seems from the comments that noisy neighbours are a real problem everywhere. I live in Belfast and have been suffering the same thing since January when my partner and I moved into our new rental house. Like Alicia we too suffered from the smell of weed constantly as well as noise in the middle of the night. In Belfast the council have a dedicated “noise team” who will come out in the night and listen so that they don’t have to record the noise, They also can issue fines which they did on 2 occasions to our neighbours. It might be worth seeing if your local council have a similar system. As we found that the police can do very little too. Also does the house have any other neighbours that might be willing to join forces with you about the noise? Maybe if the police were presented with more than one complainant they would be required to do more for you. Thankfully the neighbours have now moved out after totally destroying the house sadly for the owner.
    with regard to telling new tenants – We were furious to find out that our landlord was well aware that the neighbours were noisy and that was why the previous tenant had moved out and we negotiated a lower rental price for the last 3 months due to this fact. Although I appreciate that you need tenants to cover the costs you could find yourself in this position if you don’t mention it that or having to find new tenants over and over which could end up being more costly. I hope you manage to get this sorted soon.

    • 13

      Hayley says

      Hi Hannah, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I’m really glad that you find my story inspiring and hope that you’ll continue to read it! :) I’m sorry that you’ve been suffering from noisy neighbours too, it does seem to be an issue that goes on everywhere. That’s good that Belfast has a ‘noise team’ that will at least take some kind of action! The local council where our rental house is based has a very lengthy process whereby they finally take action after the police have been informed several times. (That part has already happened but then our tenants moved out). The action that gets taken starts with a few warning letters to the ‘offenders’ and then two weeks worth of special recording equipment to be installed. After that it takes months for it to be analysed and legal proceedings to be started because of the huge waiting list and lack of resources to deal with it anytime soon! Thanks for the heads up on potential issues with the new tenants if we don’t tell them what’s going on. I’m still not sure what to do, but I do appreciate where you’re coming from on that. It could save us no end of problems long term…

  5. 14

    Financial Black Sheep says

    I’m not sure why the police didn’t do anything. All I can say is call them until they get sick of it. I’ve had that problem, but in my case the police issue tickets and residents eventually get evicted. I’m sorry no one seems to do anything. I would continue to report it to police and keep a written record of everything.

  6. 16

    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says

    Ugh. Sorry, you have to deal with this. What a huge pain. It’s too bad the police can’t do something with an “approved” recording. It doesn’t seem quite right. The other neighbors don’t mind the ruckus? Maybe if more people complained the Council would have to install the proper recording equipment. Otherwise if you know that they are nosy at night, maybe look for a tenant that works night or perhaps would be “noisy” themselves. :) Good luck!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Get Disciplined: Take Control of Your FinancesMy Profile

    • 17

      Hayley says

      Thanks Shannon. The other neighbours haven’t come forward to complain that I know of, but I’ll definitely make an effort to speak to them and ask. Maybe if I mention it, they’ll be on lookout for me!

  7. 18

    lyle @ the Joy of Simple says

    Wow Hayley, what a freekin’ drag!!

    I wonder if it is at all possible to somehow charge the current owner the money that you are losing because of your tenants having moved out! If you can get an affidavit from your previous tenants, stating why they moved out, maybe that would hold up in civil court?

    Also, are there neighbors on the other side of that residence? Maybe talking to them could help you make a case against the current tenants and the owner!

    It sounds like you’re stuck in the middle and that’s not a great spot to be stuck in!

    Hopefully, something will work out for you all.

    Please keep us posted and take care. My best to all.

    Lyle
    lyle @ the Joy of Simple recently posted…Simple Sunday – 8My Profile

    • 19

      Hayley says

      Yeah it really is a drag Lyle! The landlord isn’t willing to even acknowledge the problem so I don’t think we’d be able to charge anything to him unfortunately. Good idea about talking to the other neighbours, I could definitely try that. Thanks Lyle for the advice! :)

  8. 20

    NZ Muse says

    My worst neighbour story was living right around the corner from essentially a ghetto and being terrorised by the hoodlums who lived there – they would come shout threats at us, threw a brick through one car window, broke into a car and into our house. Eventually we found another place to live and moved out when the lease ended. But yeah, it’s very hard to get anything done about bad neighbours.
    NZ Muse recently posted…The day I first realised I was expensiveMy Profile

    • 21

      Hayley says

      OMG, that’s terrible! That’s so scary and no-one should have to live in fear of being targeted like that. So sorry you had to go through that. :(

  9. 22

    Done by Forty says

    That’s a tough one. I don’t think noise complaints are as big a deal to some renters as others. When I was in my twenties, I was probably the one being loud, and often partied with my neighbors, too. So I suppose if you don’t mind renting to some younger folks rather than a family, you might be able to find a win win. There are some other things you could do, like trying to do some sound proofing. But there’d be no ROI on that, and it may not deal with the problem effectively.

    Sorry you’re having to deal with this Hayley! Here’s to hoping the system comes through for you.
    Done by Forty recently posted…Bill and Ted’s Excellent InvestingMy Profile

    • 23

      Hayley says

      Thanks DB40! I’m hoping that some people can cope with more noise than me or my last tenants can that’s for sure. I don’t mind some noise but the fact that these people just cranked it up again to such a high level after we’d asked them to turn it down just makes me think they have no respect for their neighbours. I guess I’ll have to see what happens!

  10. 24

    Victoria @thefrugaltrial says

    I feel for you. I lived in three properties with loud, obnoxious, neighbours. I started to wonder if it was just me being insensitive. I had to check into a hotel once because the music was so loud. Worst still, they played the same song over and over again! Due to other issues with those tenants, they were evicted by their landlord (same as mine). I now live in a nice and quiet flat (upstair’sbaby cries, a lot, but I can forgive that!). You need to keep a diary of the noise, or rentto students who also like to party???

  11. 25

    Chellie @ Debt and the Girl says

    That so irritating! I suggest you find a new house to rent that is also near at your hubby’s business rather than staying and waiting for new tenants who will also complain about the noise on the neighborhood. The landlord and the police must do their responsibility, unfortunately they’re not.
    Chellie @ Debt and the Girl recently posted…A Note on AngerMy Profile

  12. 27

    debt debs says

    That really is hard on you guys, trying to rent out the property knowing this is going on, and being almost powerless to change the situation. I guess I would carry on with getting the recording equipment thing going. Also talking to the neighbours to get support to record / make note of the dates and instances of noise. Have you thought about selling the property? If you are just breaking even, maybe it is not such a good thing for you right now considering your cash flow. If you sold could you get some equity out to put against debt or invest?
    debt debs recently posted…7 things about Jim Flaherty and why do I care?My Profile

    • 28

      Hayley says

      I think I will speak to the other neighbours to see if they can also record any events of noise. Unfortunately I can’t get the recording equipment in until someone has moved into our property and they complain! I have considered selling the place too. I wouldn’t get much money out of it though after fees etc. Definitely a option if things get really bad though. :(

  13. 29

    Richard | FrugalityMagazine.com says

    I’ve struggled with noisy neighbours many times over the years. On some occasions I’ve managed to resolve things with a conversation. I get quite annoyed with how selfish some people can be so my “conversation” usually involves me flipping out and the neighbours realizing it’s easier to just shut up ;-)

    However sometimes this has had little or no effect. At these times I’ve rung Environmental Health (in the UK) who have people working 24/7 and they’ve sent out someone to have a more formal chat. I just keep on ringing until the noise stops. And if it starts again, I ring again. And so on – until the neighbours – or EH – get fed up with the annoyance and finally stop permanently.

    Good luck with your problem – I really feel for you having dealt with similar situations myself repeatedly!
    Richard | FrugalityMagazine.com recently posted…What’s The Best Way To Pay Off Debt? How These 17 People Paid Off $1,000,000 Of Debt In Under 4 YearsMy Profile

    • 30

      Hayley says

      Thanks Richard. Having to put up with noisy neighbours is such a pain. The local council who were dealing with our complaint have said that they can’t do anything until someone permanent is living at the house. We’ve had so many polite conversations with the neighbours about the noise and they just deny that it’s happening. I’ll never understand why some people act the way that they do. I’m really glad that you’ve managed to stop your neighbours being noisy through persistence!

  14. 31

    Cindy Brick says

    For us, it was barking dogs — three times, we’ve dealt with next-door neighbors with loud, obnoxious mutts. For one (an older lady, lived with her adult daughter, who was mentally ill), we could not get the woman to acknowledge that her dogs were barking — even when we banged on her front door one morning at 1 a.m. Finally, we got a pellet gun and would shoot at the dogs at night…which would shut them up temporarily. (I know — it was stupid, but we got so desperate.)
    We have the same situation right now — but the yipey dog doesn’t bark that much at night, and the owners are otherwise the best neighbors in the world. We just have to put up with the dog barking at us while we’re working in the backyard. If we get too frustrated, we yell at the dog to shut up — and eventually our neighbors will just bring the dog inside.
    Cindy Brick recently posted…Kentucky Fried Chicken Two-Piece Meal BOGO…Yum!My Profile

    • 32

      Hayley says

      Hi Cindy thanks for stopping by and commenting! I have a dog myself and I’m really conscious of him barking. He chases flies and bumble bees in the yard and when he does this he just barks and barks. I’m really quick to get him back inside because I don’t want the neighbours to complain. I really don’t understand people who make excessive noise (or let excessive noise happen) especially if it goes as far as someone complaining about it!

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