Nuisance Noise!

by Bill Grieve

Sat, 05 June 2021

Nuisance Noise!

Bill Grieve explores a relatable issue in residential apartment buildings.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a pilot, a pastor, a plumber or a professor - if your neighbors complain about you making noise - you’re being a nuisance!”

Nuisance noise in an apartment building can be one of the greatest negative impacts on modern lifestyle living regardless of the highest standards of a building.

Inconsiderate neighbours generally know they are making a noise and simply don’t care - that’s why good building management is a crucial consideration when selecting an apartment. Ask the building management what the nuisance noise policies are and how they deal with noise makers - in writing.

“You don’t have to be a genius to know that when you live in a residential apartment you have a moral duty to be considerate of your neighbours and the effect of your actions on them.”

Most residential apartment building areas already have more than enough external noise from sewerage removal pump trucks, refuse removal, inconsiderate drivers “hooning” around, loud motorcycles or scooters, public transport and especially construction and maintenance.

That being said, the main internal residential building related noise sources are:

  • Loud and inconsiderate neighbours - music, parties, get togethers and sports event gatherings.
  • Constantly activated fire alarms.
  • Slamming of doors.
  • Loud and unruly behaviour in common areas or facilities - especially near lifts.
  • Scraping furniture across tiled or hard surfaces.
  • Walking in hard heels on tiled or hard floors or dropping items continuously.
  • Unruly or constantly crying or performing children.
  • Personal relationship inconsiderations - screaming, shouting.
  • Pets and toys - Both being the responsibility of the tenant or resident. 

It is often the case that people downsizing from villas to apartment buildings continue to generate the same amount of noise they did in their villa or house and show little consideration for adjacent neighbours - especially underneath them.  Another significant frustration is caused by introducing “villagers” and people who are not accustomed to the refinements and protocols of residential apartment living and due to their ignorance perpetually set off fire alarms, bang doors, drop items on the tiled or hard floors and adopt a couldn’t care less attitude about noise sources like music, loud voices, scraping furniture across the floor and causing a raucous when watching sports on TV showing little or no consideration for those around them.

No! - it’s not ok to cause a nuisance noise until the early hours of the morning even if your favourite team is playing - use earphones, make use of party halls or building TV rooms, watch your loud sports, TV programmes or make your music in an environment that does not cause a disturbance to your neighbours - just because you have rented the apartment does not give you, your family, friends or visitors the right to be a nuisance or cause other tenants to complain about you making a racket or disturbing their peace.

What is an acceptable level of noise in a residential apartment building?

Answer - The level where no one in an adjacent apartment or in your building has reason to complain about you - when someone complains about noise you are making you should apologise, turn it down and learn a lesson - embarrassingly - and stop being a nuisance!

It’s not rocket science to be considerate and actually a direct reflection on upbringing, culture, education, intelligence, common sense and simply put - what your parents taught you - to be well behaved. 

Nuisance noise makers are nothing new and history depicts these inconsiderate scrotes, regardless of their standing or position in society, and describes them accordingly throughout - Charles Babbage the well-known anti-noise activist circa 1741 related:- 

“Actually, I have for a long time been of the opinion that the quantity of noise anyone can comfortably endure is in inverse proportion to their mental powers, and can therefore be regarded as a rough measure of them. When I therefore hear dogs barking hour upon hour unrestrained in the courtyard of a house, I know what to think of the mental powers of the inhabitants. Whoever habitually slams doors rather than closing them by hand, or allows this happen in their house, is not merely ill-mannered, but a crude and obtuse person”.

Building management is also often to blame - 

Nuisance noise creation is not always the tenants’ fault - building management has a responsibility to address areas of nuisance noise creation that they create through faulty interior decorating design choices I.e. Heavy doors that slam easily with no braking or self-closing systems and especially common - the scraping sounds of floor contact furniture on hard floors, the drill like resonance of which could probably wake the dead when furniture is inconsiderately dragged, pulled, pushed or move especially late at night or early morning and which easily pierces through ceilings, floors and adjacent walls. There is also a duty of care to residents to act on nuisance noise complaints without delay.

Report It to Sort It!!

General Resident Rules
 - Use outside facilities for gatherings and get togethers where there may be noise.
- Behave as though your parents lived in the same building.
- Your noise may be causing someone else’s discomfort - be considerate at all times.
- If you live in a residential apartment remember it’s NOT a villa or a village hut.
- Don’t be the rotten apple in the basket - behave - it’s not a kindergarten you’re living in.

Advice to Building Management -
- When a nuisance noise is reported - ACT!
- Giving lip service or excuses is unnecessary and only grows mushrooms. 
- Do your job - manage noise complaints effectively.

Improperly handled or unaddressed nuisance noise quickly becomes a vicious cycle often leading to severe consequences.

The 3 rules of nuisance noise - Report, Record, Repeat.
Always report nuisance noise and keep a good record of every occurrence and the actions involved and resultant events or occurrences. 

You can also report nuisance noise makers to the municipality or even the police however this should be a last resort.

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