New home and I hate it :(

(38 Posts)
Cottonwool82 Thu 01-Aug-13 16:55:23

Hello everyone! This is my first post here, so please be gentle. Hope I've got the right section!

Basically DH and I have just bought a new home in London. We've been super careful with money for ages and made huge sacrifices to save up our deposit, so we were really excited when we finally moved in last week.

However, since arriving at the property, I've realised it suffers from what every new homeowner dreads - noisy neighbours sad

We live in a one-bed garden flat in a converted Victorian terrace, and the party wall between the bedroom and the neighbours' property next door is the issue (the adjoining flat on the other side is vacant).

Basically when I'm lying in bed I can often hear them talking really loudly and laughing on the other side of the wall. They are a large family and so it equates to a lot of voices and loud noise sad

I'm at home today and when I go into the bedroom, I can hear the mum shouting on her mobile on the other side of the wall. It has gone on for the good part of two hours today.

I just don't know what to do and am being driven to despair. I guess it's not really the neighbours' fault, as the noise they make is only chatter, talking and laughing - they haven't played any music or anything like that (yet!), which is something you can actually complain about. They do have very loud voices and tend to shout quite a bit when they talk to each other - but you can't tell someone that their talking is disturbing you, can you?

I am just so upset as DH and I have had a tough year with lots of financial problems, and I really wanted a fresh start and for this to be our dream home. I've poured all my money into this place and now the thin walls are ruining it sad

DH hasn't mentioned the noise, but he must have heard it too. I think I'm scared to broach how I'm feeling to him as he does get fed-up with me and says I'm never happy.

I just wish we'd never left our rental property which was lovely and very quiet. Help!! sad

By the way, switching the lounge and bedroom around is really an impossibility, since the lounge is very large and the bedroom is tiny, with fitted wardrobes already built in. Plus we have no money left in the kitty!

Should also mention the property next door is council-owned, so the neighbours are tenants rather than the owners of the property, if that matters.

Cottonwool82 Thu 01-Aug-13 22:28:50

Hi bluebluecow. I know the feeling sad My flat would be pretty much perfect without the nightmare noise from the neighbours!

Cottonwool82 Thu 01-Aug-13 22:33:29

Hi Cooper84 and Meringue33 - thanks for the advice. Agree sound-proofing is something to consider, although I'm a bit worried it could affect resale if a surveyor picked up on it. What do you think?

Love the industrial headphones idea - I might have to invest in some of those! :D

coffeewineandchocolate Thu 01-Aug-13 22:49:06

I think a good estate agent could make soundproofing a real positive

ogredownstairs Fri 02-Aug-13 00:02:26

I had this in a flat I owned 15 years ago. It was awful - nothing that you could complain about as people were just living their lives - no loud music, but still very intrusive for all of us. It was slightly easier for us as the neighbours were owners too, so in the end we shared the cost of soundproofing. Lots of flats converted in the 70s were done without any thought to sound proofing. It was a horrible shock to me the night we moved in, so I really do sympathise. I would go for it - it will be money well spent and will save your sanity. I also found just planning a pragmatic solution really helped in itself, and it wasn't all that expensive. It was actually a bonus when we came to sell.

littlecrystal Fri 02-Aug-13 09:50:48

If you love the flat minus the noise, then there is a clear solution for a problem - soundproofing. It is just a bit of job to do and a bit of space to lose, but it will be worth and a bonus if you come to sell.

ChippingInHopHopHop Fri 02-Aug-13 10:01:23

There is absolutely no way that sound proofing will be anything but a positive when you come to sell, so don't worry about that.

Books are incredibly good for absorbing sound - so you could always put some bookshelves against that wall and load up the paperbacks until you can afford the sound proofing.

It is incredibly disappointing when you buy somewhere that turns out to have a 'fault' that you couldn't have forseen and it's not as 'perfect' as you envisaged.

Would it help to tell you that I'm incredibly envious of your victorian flat in London?? I'd put up with mildly noisy neighbours to swap with you!! My neighbours are just as annoying and I live in the boring 'burbs!!

Cottonwool82 Sat 03-Aug-13 08:52:03

Thanks Chippinghophophop. Unfortunately the bedroom is very small so not really any space to put up bookshelves. However, I could just about lose 3 inches off that wall, so I guess soundproofing is an option. I will do some research into the link that coffeewineandchocolate posted!

Why are your neighbours annoying? Mine seem to be up really late talking, shouting and laughing - then they start up again really early in the morning. I have no idea where they get the energy from! I'm also surprised that the wall is so thin. I thought these Victorian properties were meant to be built better than new builds in terms of wall thickness etc!

Cottonwool82 Sat 03-Aug-13 08:54:57

Thanks ogredownstairs and littlecrystal. Yes, I think we will seriously have to look into soundproofing - but I guess it'll have to be just from our side, as the neighbours are tenants. But that should be ok? I just hope it's effective!

VermicularCanister Sat 03-Aug-13 11:30:31

OP, you have my sympathies. We were in a similar situation a few years back - viewed a flat on a quiet day when none of the neighbours were home, and only when we moved in did we find the soundproofing was rubbish, and we could literally hear them sneezing next door.

I have no experience of soundproofing (we were renting so not an option for us), but my best advice to you would be to like your neighbours! I felt very much less stressed about the noise the more well disposed I felt towards the people making it.

In our case we had a night-waking two-year-old downstairs, and a pair of lads with loud stereos next door. It was very tempting to begin by asking everyone to keep the noise down, but instead we got to know them a little bit and found they were actually very nice, and eventually it didn't seem so important.

It got to the point where their noise was so normal to us that I found it quite reassuring if I was home on my own, to hear them going about their lives.

Eventually we went on to have DCs 1 and 2 in that same flat, and we were very grateful for our neighbours' understanding when it was us with the crying babies and tantrumming toddlers.

Fermin Sun 04-Aug-13 09:55:52

It may sound ridiculous but a temporary measure would be to download a white noise app. We've used it since our baby was born as it's meant to be soothing for newborns but even though he's now out of our room we still have it on. Even at quite a low level it drowns out the sound of any late night tv/music/chatter coming from next door. Having a fan on is just as effective. I can totally sympathise, I've been blighted by noisy neighbours ever since I left home. The worst was when we arrived at our beautiful new Victorian terrace on moving day to the sound of drums coming from one of our neighbours. Turns out he had a mental health problem and never left his room so his dad had brought him a drum kit to occupy him. We actually got to know his dad eventually so it was almost easier to put up with until one evening his son appeared outside our bedroom window and violently threw a wheelie bin against it. Quite traumatic for everyone really. We moved from that flat to a flat where the couple beneath us had screaming arguments and the police were called on a regular basis. Makes current neighbours who are a major PITA look relatively tame in comparison although we're not in London anymore and I expected the pay off for living in the 'burbs to be peace and quiet!

Potterer Sun 04-Aug-13 21:30:43

Have a look at Fermacell plasterboard, they use it to insulate for fire but also acoustics.

Apparently it weighs quite a lot, my plasterer talked about installing it on ceilings. It complies with regulations on sound proofing between properties. If you did a stud wall, filled it with insulation and then used Fermacell to line it then it should cut out a lot of noise.

Here is their website here

And the only reason we looked into it was because we had a kitchen extension built and we were going to install the kitchen ourselves and you can drill straight into Fermacell and it will hold a hell of a lot of weight on one screw. We saw it at a trade show.

chenin Sun 04-Aug-13 21:45:41

I am very noise sensitive and I just about everything wakes me up. My OH breathing, sounds of cars, the bin men... anything.

Like Fermin said.. something that gives out 'white noise' . I honestly cannot recommend a white noise machine enough. It has saved my life and restored my sanity. It's worth spending a bit of money on one (the make I got was Marsona... it's american). You have to experiment with the tone button and the volume until you get it just right for you, but it literally cuts out everything. It sounds like an air conditioning machine or a fan and it is wonderful.

It's only small and I take it with me when I stay in hotels. BTW I live in the middle of nowhere and for me that's almost worse! It means any noise at all wakes me, this has saved me and it even drowns out my OH's snoring and as he sounds like the 3.45 arriving into Paddington, that's no mean feat!

Good luck with it.

Cottonwool82 Mon 05-Aug-13 11:33:33

Thanks everyone for your replies - you've made me feel much better!

I think as Vermicular said, perhaps it's just a questions of getting used to the quirky noises and sounds that come with a new flat. At our previous apartment (which we rented), you could literally hear a pin drop - so it's quite a big adjustment to make. But hopefully I will get there.

In the meantime I will definitely look into a white noise machine (thanks helliebean!) and if in a month or two I'm still struggling, then I'll look at more expensive options like soundproofing. Am hoping I don't have to go down that route, as money for DH and I is extremely tight at the moment!

By the way, is it true that any noise complaints you make to the council can be found by solicitors when you come to sell the flat? It seems a bit wrong, as if you have noisy neighbours it means you can't report them for fear of not being able to sell when you want to move on!

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