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who is being unreasonable - neighbours or us?

94 replies

rmw1016 · 10/07/2017 08:09

My OH and myself have just bought our first home. It is a terraced house . We have retired neighbours on one side who have recently started complaining about noise coming from our house which is disturbing them, examples:

  • One night my OH dropped a metal dish on the kitchen floor about 11.30pm (kitchen is currently in a spare room upstairs as we are doing some work downstairs) it made an almighty clatter but lasted all of 5 seconds.

  • Another night we had been out with some friends, we came home about 11.30pm and whilst our friends waited for their taxi, they went up and down the stairs to get their things out of the kitchen and we were chatting. This would have lasted 15minutes max as we were in bed by midnight.

  • I dropped a glass at 10:30pm.

On all occasions, my OH has been spoken to the next morning by our neighbour claiming our noise was unacceptable and that neither of them could get a wink of sleep as a result of it. Its worth noting, the wife has severe Crohns disease so i think the lack of sleep is part of this. I think that the noise we have made is just normal living noise and is not worthy of complaining about. I want to suggest that they should get some ear plugs if its bothering them but worried this might seem insensitive.

The lady who lived here before was elderly and quiet as a mouse so i suspect its an adjustment for them but i feel like I'm having to creep around my own home and feel anxious after every night in case we are going to get told off again. I'd understand if we were screaming and shouting or playing loud music all hours but to make short bursts of noise is surely just part of living in a terraced house? Eventually we are going to turn that room into a nursery, are we going to get moaned at for a crying baby!?? They are a lovely couple and we are keen to keep things light between us, we've arranged to pop over to discuss it but everytime i think about it, i just feel more and more that they need to accept that they may hear noise from us. Any tips on how to sensitively say this?!!

TLDR - Neighbours complaining about us dropping things and having friends back, claiming this is stopping them sleeping. all incidents of noise have lasted less than 20 minutes and have been before midnight.
OP posts:
YouHaveBeenSummarilyDismissed · 10/07/2017 08:13

They are being unreasonable, what a shame that they are used to such quiet.

I would imagine that they will complain about a crying baby - we had the same happen here and our houses are detached!

I would just apologise for the inconvenience and carry on, don't feel stress in your own home about them, you aren't being unreasonable in your noise levels. People come and go all the time and get up early for flights, etc. It is part of life.

Hopefully they will adjust over time.

LindyHemming · 10/07/2017 08:14

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Babbaganush · 10/07/2017 08:16

You would really piss me off if you were my neighbours and making a noise for 20 minutes coming home with friends at 11:30 !!! How can you think that is reasonable?
The dropping things is more minor but as you think that 20 minutes noise at 11:30 is not unreasonable then that makes me think that you are not being considerate neighbours!!!

Groovee · 10/07/2017 08:16

My friend had neighbour's like this. It resulted in her and her mum and dad swapping houses as it had become a nightmare as the woman was lying and getting people to lie for her about noise levels. The council nearly gave my friend an anti social behaviour orde until she put her house on the market x

lampshady · 10/07/2017 08:18

That kind of sharp, instant noise is more intrusive that dull background noise like traffic, however it's part of life. Definitely don't creep about as they need to adjust to normal neighbourly noise and it'll be harder for them if you pander to it. Smile, be nice and chatty every time you see them but live normally.

Mothervulva · 10/07/2017 08:20

Dropping things is an accident isn't it, so I'd not worry about that.

The incident with your neighbours, I can see why that's annoying but you've apologised. I'd be polite but noncommittal about it, none of what you've described is particularly outrageous. I always find noise threads on MN interesting as people have very defined ideas of what noise is acceptable. Here last night we had neighbours playing music in the garden until 10.30 and some other neighbours had their kids yelling in the garden at 7.30 this morning. My point being you don't sound so bad!

OhPuddleducks · 10/07/2017 08:20

The friends going up and down the stairs might have peeved me but as it was a one off I wouldn't have complained. We're in a terrace and one of our neighbours can be quite noisy (thumping music until 4am, very loud tv until midnight) but as it's sporadic and not all the time, we shrug about it and assume that we give as good as we get with "kid noise". I think if you live in a terrace you have to get used to the rhythm of your neighbours lives and claiming that you didn't sleep because someone dropped something is ridiculous. If I were going over to discuss it, I might gently point out that while you will try to be quiet, you are unable to promise never to drop something ever again. Also tell them it is making you feel uncomfortable in your own home. You shouldn't feel like that and they might be mortified.

treaclesoda · 10/07/2017 08:22

The dropping things is accidental and can't be helped. I think that's to be expected.

The friends making noise is more of an issue and a bit inconsiderate.

Maybe there is room for compromise?

HipsterHunter · 10/07/2017 08:23

In the meantime I'd say be quiet after 9pm

@Euphemia Then you'd be a totally U nightmare neighbor!

@rmw1016 they are being totally U. You are making normal household noise. If they can't get back to sleep after a single noise waking them up suggest they try meditation and better sleep hygiene.

rmw1016 · 10/07/2017 08:24

The noise with friends was general chatting in the hallway and as i said, going up and down the stairs (one time, i should have specified) for about 15mins whilst they waited for their taxi. It was a friday night and the first time we have had people over to see the house. If it had gone on for hours then fine, but is 15minutes really that inconsiderate? Perhaps you are right. I don't know. Seems unfair to me. I got them some flowers and apologised anyway.

OP posts:
Mothervulva · 10/07/2017 08:25

I wonder what they were like with the people before you...?

SheSaidHeSaid · 10/07/2017 08:25

I've lived in a semi detached house and two terraced houses (currently in terraced) and never have I been able to hear neighbours like this. Dropping a glass and walking up stairs? Sounds like yours and your neighbour's houses aren't very well insulated in terms of noise.

I don't think your behaviour in itself is wrong as I don't think it's normal to be able to hear so much from next door. It hasn't helped that your neighbours had been used to someone who didn't make any noise at all either.

I'd just say to try to keep noise like late night guests to a minimum and infrequently. Perhaps have your staircase looked at if it creaks. Other than that, you can hardly be expected to not love about the house past 9pm!

Oh and be prepared for them to complain about a baby because i'd put money on this happening.

rmw1016 · 10/07/2017 08:25

Also, as for being quiet after 9pm. In my opinion, we already are. Dropping things is accidental and the friends thing, we were just chatting. Not playing music, not shouting, not out in the garden, not banging and crashing.

OP posts:
WatchingFromTheWings · 10/07/2017 08:26

Your neighbours ABU. I'd just apologise and ignore. It's not like you're partying till 3am.

SheSaidHeSaid · 10/07/2017 08:26

Move about the house, not love. Doh!

rmw1016 · 10/07/2017 08:27

We've asked to go over to see how bad it is! we have the option of putting some soundproofing plasterboard on our side so we might just do it and hope for the best!

OP posts:
Only1scoop · 10/07/2017 08:29

Gosh your walls must be cardboard. Can you hear them? I'd try to be a bit more considerate knowing how dreadful the houses are for noise etc.

rmw1016 · 10/07/2017 08:30

Thats the thing! We've never heard so much as a peep from them.

OP posts:
DereksGotATail · 10/07/2017 08:31

YANBU. You're making general household noise and they need to get used to it.
We have friends around once in a while and I can imagine that there is a certain amount of chatter etc that would disturbe our terraced neighbours. On the other hand various neighbours have children in the garden at 7.30am, dogs barking in the garden, doors one complains. It's expected.

ZenNudist · 10/07/2017 08:33

They shouldn't love in a terraced house. A certain amount of stair noise is inevitable . Toughen up don't let them guilt yiu. Be polite but firmly say ' I am sorry you are so sensitive to noise. Perhaps it will be better when our kitchen us downstairs. Please don't bother me for every dropped dish. There isn't anything u can do about it.'

thethoughtfox · 10/07/2017 08:40

Why don't you act super concerned about their poor soundproofing and insulation and get them some leaflets for products that could help? Be very nice but keep the focus on their poor insulation, don't accept blame for your noisiness. However, the talking with friends at night can be awful. Maybe accept responsibility for that. This way you seem very reasonable. If you think they will go down the root of complaints to the council / police, get in there first and advice council that they are making unreasonable demands and keep record of all their complaints.

thethoughtfox · 10/07/2017 08:40



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rightwhine · 10/07/2017 08:41

I'd apologise, try and be reasonable but just get on with your everyday living. Now you know they can hear you in the hallway you'll wait in the lounge next time won't you?
Make reasonable adjustments but they'll just have to get used to living with a normal amount of noise rather than an elderly quiet lady noise.

Collaborate · 10/07/2017 08:42

You just need to manage their expectations. Do you hear any sounds from them? Perhaps their tv is turned up loud, but you don't think anything of it.

Present them with a list of sounds you can hear from your side. Tell them that if they want to stop hearing any sounds from your house (and all the sounds you've described are normal sounds - not unreasonable at all), they must first play their tv and radio at a very low volume, must stop raising their voices to speak to each other (many elderly people do this as they can't hear as well as they used to) and must stop twitching their curtains whenever they go out. When they have complied with your wholly unreasonable set of demands then you'll consider complying with theirs.

AtHomeDadGlos · 10/07/2017 08:48

I'd leave it. By the sounds of it your bedroom which is acting as a temporary kitchen and their bedroom back on to each other. That's why it might have startled them to hear a pot banging or a glass smashing. Maybe have a self-imposed rule of not doing any tidying up etc in there after 9pm?

As for apologising every time I wouldn't really feel I should. It's just normal 'living' noise. They'll be pissed off when you have a baby though.

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