Dear Lola,

I live in a home with a shared wall to the home next door. Our neighbors left after living next to us for many years. The new neighbors who purchased the home are much more noisy than the previous. At first it was just settling in noises as they did renovations, but now it has gotten worse. They play loud music, movies, and video games lasting well into the middle of the night. My husband wants to talk to them and explain how much we can hear, but I do not want to approach because they are not friendly when we run into each other in the driveways. I think we should just call the police when their noise is too loud at night and avoid any potential conflicts altogether. Since they have a neighbor connected to a wall on their other side, they wouldn’t really know which one of us called in the complaint. What do you think we should do?


Noiseless Neighbors

Dear Noiseless Neighbor,

There is a very old saying that good fences make good neighbors. Unfortunately, the people in charge of building homes seemed to have not heeded that advice when they came up with the brilliant idea of smashing multiple houses against each other. The optimist in me believes the concept was brought to life to ensure adequate numbers of housing were available in crowded areas. However, the pessimist in me believes the builders did this purely for a larger profit.

After all, roofs can be very expensive.

I’ve given both choices you offered my full attention, but would like to recommend a third option in case it hasn’t crossed your mind. Though if you do tend to lean toward the pessimistic side, I’m betting you already thought of this idea and knew better than to say it out loud. However, the best part of being a canine is the ability to say exactly what I am thinking without any consequences. After all, who could hold a grudge against my adorable face?!

Be forewarned, this third option is the nuclear weapon of neighborhood wars.

You fight noise with noise. Every time your neighbor cranks up the volume on their music, you hit them with a blast of your own timed just after theirs ends. This is likely when they are finally ready to lay their heads down for a bit of sleep and the perfect time to teach them how it feels to be kept up at night. When they play a movie on full blast, get crafty and find the same exact movie on your streaming services. Then, just as the end credits begin rolling in their home, blast the opening credits on yours.

You may need to purchase bigger speakers to make your point clear.

Continue this war until the neighbor gives up or the speakers blow out. Once again, I would love to offer up a bit of optimism that your neighbor will get the hint after the first night and realize just how much the people around them are affected by noise, but I don’t hold out much hope. Most noisy neighbors are simply clueless that the things they enjoy could ever bother someone else. You may also accidentally inspire the neighbor to strike up a friendship and invite you over to their midnight movie and music madness.

It is at this point that you should put your home up for sale.

On the off chance that you don’t want to risk having to sell your home, let’s review your first two options – whether to approach or call the police. I think listening to your gut feeling is always wise. If these neighbors seem unfriendly or unapproachable, then having a conversation can be risky. They may take your request surprisingly well, or they may end up annoyed and retaliate by making even more noise. At this point you would have to involve the police and the neighbor would know for a fact that the complaint is coming from you. Just picture your neighbor’s head coming through the joint wall saying “here’s Johnny” while grinning maniacally.

It’s enough to give anyone nightmares.

You should definitely go with option two – calling the police. However, you need to be proactive about this issue. Call the local police station and ask about quiet hours and rules concerning noise. This way you can avoid calling in a bogus complaint when the neighbor’s antics get a bit more rowdy than you like. You may even be surprised to learn that your area doesn’t have any specific noise rules or the quiet hours are not what you were expecting.

In the meantime, buy some earplugs.

This process is not usually resolved with a single phone call and may require more patience than you ever thought yourself capable of.


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