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To ask neighbours and their children to be quiet?

(24 Posts)
SteggySaurus Wed 08-Jul-15 16:35:28

I live in an apartment, it's not ideal but we rent off a family member so it's cheap and we are saving for a deposit on a house. The building is in the city centre and mainly for young professionals with the odd student.

Whilst I've been off on maternity leave two families with young children have moved in. One lives on the same floor as me, the other I think lives the next floor up and they seem to all know each other. I'm not sure where they are from as English is not their first language. I always smile at them when I see them and a couple of times have tried to talk to them.

The problem is, the families are both so loud. They seem to enjoy standing in the halls to talk and they'll stand by the lift to talk, often holding the lift doors open whilst the children run in and out screaming and shouting. The mums stand there talking away, ignoring the children, shouting over them to be heard. This really annoys me because I live next to the lift so can hear everything. The other day the children were racing up and down the hall, jumping, slamming doors and shouting. I went out to see what was going on because one started screaming only to see that one of the children was on a bike and dad was pushing her along the hall on it.

Today the mums were stood outside my door and their conversation was so loud that it woke up my DS. I opened the door and asked them very nicely to keep the noise down whilst holding the baby. They smiled and said hello and they went away, only to return about twenty minutes later with the children who were as loud as ever whilst mums stood holding the lift doors open to chat. I was feeding DS and didn't want to disturb him but wanted to go out and tell them to shush. They either didn't understand what I said which explains the response of hello and a smile, or they're just not bothered about disturbing us.

My DS is four months old and he does cry, but not very often thankfully! He's a really good baby. I was worried about disturbing neighbours but OH said that babies cry and people understand that. If these neighbours had a baby I wouldn't be bothered as you can't ask a baby to be quiet. You can ask your children to not scream and shout, bang on walls and doors, run up and down halls and you can yourself learn to use your indoor voice and of course take your child outside to ride their bike.

They do this most days. I try to get out as often as possible but I shouldn't have to stay out to avoid my son being woken up!

Should I talk to them again tomorrow?

MrsHathaway Wed 08-Jul-15 16:39:56

I'm going to put this nicely.

You can ask older children to be quiet but you won't necessarily get anywhere. If they were noisy at night (say 11pm-7am) then you'd be completely justified in asking them to calm down. As it is they're thinking "oh the early days when we were perfect parents too".

That said, making lots of noise right outside your door is another issue and one worth pursuing. Maybe you could put a sign on your door when the baby is sleeping so they could take extra care to stay out of the communal hall then.

honeysucklejasmine Wed 08-Jul-15 16:40:07

Who does the building or their flats belong to? You need to get their landlord or agency involved, or if they are privately owned, the noise team on your local council.

Kamden Wed 08-Jul-15 16:42:34

Part and parcel of living in close proximity to other human beings, I'm afraid.

NerrSnerr Wed 08-Jul-15 16:44:00

I think this is one of the risks you take when you live in a flat. Just be glad you don't have students who want to party all night above you.

ActiviaYoghurt Wed 08-Jul-15 16:46:08

You shouldn't have to put up with this, I would probably put a note through their doors. It does seem like they seem to lack awareness that they are disturbing you.

Cartooner Wed 08-Jul-15 16:47:19

I don't think it's simply part and parcel. It's avoidable so why not ask? I'd see what nationality they are and maybe arrange a friendly note to be translated explaining how much the sound travels.

Cycling along corridors is ridiculous, end of story. I'd be saying bikes out side, simple.

cansu Wed 08-Jul-15 16:53:30

I think you might need to find out what is their first language so you can work out how to approach them about this.

Lurkedforever1 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:01:03

As put by mrshathaway. When dd was newborn we were surrounded by teens at the party stage, kids at the run round screaming stage, barking dogs and one neighbours house renovation. I was of the opinion you suck it up if you live in a residential area. Granted my child wouldn't be allowed to shout outside someones flat door, but living in a small house I'm sure there's been times her ( and most other locals of all ages) have made the equivalent noise in their houses/gardens with a similar outcome. It's never been tit for tat and we could have all tiptoed round each other but it's far more pleasant everybody gets enjoyment. And I'm probably one of the quietest neighbours! Unless someone told me they/ their baby was unwell at that time I'm afraid anyone asking me to keep reasonable noise down because they had a 4 month old would get a polite but negative response.

RiverTam Wed 08-Jul-15 17:03:33

Ensuring your DC don't make a racket in communal areas is hardly being a 'perfect parent', as a pp has implied, but some parents do think that there's no point in doing this which is unfortunate for those who have to live with them. I would try to bore them into submission, just pop out every. single. time. Hopefully they'll get the message.

SteggySaurus Wed 08-Jul-15 21:50:48

Thanks everyone. DP is quite chatty with the security guy so he mentioned it to him. He's going to walk up at the time they're usually outside and ask them to keep the noise down. He said if it carries on we can make a noise complaint but don't really want to do that.

I think it'd be easy enough to explain to children that they have to keep their voice down when they're in the hall and to model that for them. Also really easy to not let your children run riot in halls. There is a park over the road!

We had a couple of students next door move out recently. They had parties at weekends and the occasional noisy week night but they usually knocked to let us know if they were going to be having a late one and tell us to let them know if we were bothered at all by the noise but we never were really. They even as a joke bought a little pair of headphones for the baby when he was born smile

MrsHathaway Wed 08-Jul-15 22:19:55

My perfect parent comment was about OP's touching belief that children are even remotely rational <weeps> <necks gin>

A certain amount of noise is par for the course in apartment buildings or other adjoined dwellings. If/when you complain you must focus on what's beyond reasonable, eg noise very early or late, or damage to property - I imagine actually the bikes in the hall are more of a fire hazard than a noise hazard and every flat building I've lived in has banned such items from communal areas to aid evacuation in emergencies.

BabyFeets Wed 08-Jul-15 23:44:17

They are inconsiderate, some people are just to dumb to even aknowledge their Noise will bother others so sometimes you have to directly tell them.
I use to live below a braindead idiot who use to wear shoes around her flat, When I mentioned it to her she got defensive and said that her shoes only have a little heel, like it matters? See dumb dumb.
Then she had the cheek to complain about my tv, if she wasn't such a cheap sake and actually bothered to get underlay with her carpet she wouldn't be able to hear me and I wouldn't be able to hear her.
Common sense really isn't that common with some neighbours.

GoblinLittleOwl Thu 09-Jul-15 06:39:47

This sounds like an example of much vaunted 'community living.'
They seem friendly neighbours, so try and develop good relationships with them and then gently mention the noise they are making.
Save up as quickly as possible for a deposit.

Jaleh Thu 09-Jul-15 10:21:52

OP YANBU at all. What a nightmare!

Your neighbours are being very rude. It's never ok to make lots of noise in corridors/lift area or let kids shout scream and ride bikes in communal areas! Of course they can stop their kids behaving like this. Adults are setting very bad examples and not teaching their kids manners. Kids need to learn respect for other residents.

Phone your letting agent and make a complaint. Ask them to circulate letters warning residents not to make excessive noise in communal areas. Or put notices up yourself e.g. a big sign 'please keep noise down' on lift doors or 'noise must be kept to a minimum in communal areas' that sort of thing. I would be tempted to make a big notice like at swimming pool 'no screaming shouting or running' with pictures!! Also see if you have a Management Committee for the building who will help.

Some attitudes on this thread make me cross!!!
shock at poster who thinks You can ask older children to be quiet but you won't necessarily get anywhere
Of course older children can be taught good manners and not to scream, shout and run inside a communal building! You wouldn't let them behave like that in someone else's house or in a public building like a hospital so why do you think it's ok for them to behave like this in apartment building?? They are disturbing neighbours and waking babies. If you set good example and reinforce they must be quiet in corridors they will learn. Not to teach them is lazy and entitled.

Part and parcel of living in close proximity to other human beings, I'm afraid
No no no it shouldn't be something OP must 'suck up'. Living in close proximity to other humans means everyone needs to be respectful of each other and keep noise down. It's not normal to treat corridors and lifts like a playground. It's rude!

I'm afraid anyone asking me to keep reasonable noise down because they had a 4 month old
How is this is 'reasonable noise'? Yakking loudly outside someone's door, screaming shouting in communal corridors, kids riding bikes in corridors?? confused It's not reasonable noise at all it's very selfish! Accidental/unavoidable noise is different (like babies crying or little ones having a tantrum or household noise from other flats). OP's neighbours however are choosing to treat communal areas as their personal playground and need to be stopped!

Good luck OP you have my sympathy with this!

Lurkedforever1 Thu 09-Jul-15 10:46:50

I disagree. I think that if we all within reason accept that sometimes others behave in a way that inconveniences us, and that sometimes we equally inconvenience them, it's a lot more pleasant for us all. But yes, if my neighbours had complained about normal sounds of play because they had a sleeping newborn, what do you think I'd be doing these days when they have small children playing in the garden next to my windows including toddlers that sometimes tantrum, as they do? I'd be round moaning in return. But I suppose I'm lucky to live in an area where we seem to have a consensus that we all have different needs, nobody takes it too far and if someone was ill etc we all feel we could ask.

RiverTam Thu 09-Jul-15 10:53:13

But making a racket in communal areas, right outside other people's front door, messing around with lifts, isn't 'normal sounds of play'.

MayPolist Thu 09-Jul-15 10:56:54

Mums talking in the communal hallway? How very dare they! lYABU Babies cry, small children need to run and shout.They can't exactly play in the street if you are in a city centre.Your little snowflake will one day be a noisy toddler and one day a door slamming , music playing teen.

SummerOfLadybirds Thu 09-Jul-15 11:13:45


May why should the mums talk loudly in the communal hallway instead of in their own flats, when they know someone is trying to get a baby to sleep? Also OP said there's a park across the road. Yes small children 'need to run and shout' sometimes but they don't need to do this inside an apartment building! It's annoying for others who live there. I didn't get the sense OP has a problem with noise they make inside their OWN flats, just the noise they make in the communal areas. It's basic respect to keep noise down outside other people's doors.

sweetgrape Thu 09-Jul-15 11:40:42

I agree with Jaleh, no excuse for this kind of noise level just because they're children. Thoughtless adults who don't care about how their behaviour affects others surely stem from thoughtless children. Not the child's fault, the parents completely. I have a friend who lives in communal flats and she is always aware of others living around her and never makes any unessescary noise, all the other residents are the same. It's just common courtesy. I feel sorry for you OP especially with a baby, it's not acceptable.

Wh0dathunkit Thu 09-Jul-15 12:59:56

I live in a block of flats, we have a number of issues, some things residents can do something about, other things they cant as it's up to the owners of the flats to sort (decent carpet underlay makes a massive difference). We put out notices telling residents what's permitted and when, but the problem is that it's a really diverse community here. English is not the first language of a good proportion of the residents, and it causes massive problems with the bin stores (what is and isn't permissable to put in the recycling - the council don't like us, as collectively we put a huge amount of non-recyclables in the recycling bins), and the tree protection order people in the council - the kids like swinging on the trees, but they are protected. On top of that, the lease states that we don't have any wheels (obvs apart from buggies!) on the pavement. It's a residential block, not a playground, but we still get certain families who just don't get it.

We can't win - either the council hate us or the other residence do! The owners that rent the flats out don't have good form for forewarning the tenants before they sign up as to what the rules are.

With regards to your situation, can you find out what the first languages of the people concerned is, and use google translate just to nicely tell them that all the doors and walls and stuff are thin, so can they please be aware of exactly how much you can hear? They seem nice enough, they probably just don't get it (here's hoping!)

SteggySaurus Fri 10-Jul-15 08:25:25

Thank you Jaleh! Excellent post!

The security guys came up yesterday and one came in to my flat and was so shocked at how loud they actually were. He went out to speak to them and reminded them that it was a communal area and whilst some level of noise is acceptable what they were doing wasn't. They've put up a sign by every lift entrance, in the post room and around the building asking others to be considerate of other neighbours.

Apparently they've had several noise complaints about them and they've contacted one family's landlord on two occasions.

I completely accept that I can't ask everyone to tiptoe around outside just in case they wake up the baby but I knew that the way these neighbours were behaving was rude and inconsiderate. We have neighbours who make noise occasionally and I wouldn't complain unless it's constant and unreasonable, like this is. They two mums do the school run so this happens at around half eight every morning and the again at half three. Then throw in the children running riot in the halls on top of that! Because it's indoors the sound has nowhere to go and really does disturb us. If we had a house and they were standing at the bottom of my drive it wouldn't affect me at all.

I agree that children can be asked to be quiet and shown how to behave in a way that is considerate and well mannered. A pp suggested that I seem to not understand children and have unrealistic expectations. I am a primary school teacher, have worked with children since I was sixteen, I have also previously managed a nursery and worked as a family link worker working with families so I think I am experienced enough to know that children can learn!

Ycoitsid Fri 10-Jul-15 08:29:56

Put a polite note on your door in various languages saying 'quiet please, sleeping baby' but only stick it on your door when your babys asleep

Janette123 Fri 10-Jul-15 08:33:27


Excellent idea !

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