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AIBU?

To think why it’s considered normal to be able to hear neighbours through the wall?

127 replies

Housingstockrubbish · 15/10/2022 09:49

Why is the UK housing stock so rubbish and we do we put up with it? My whole life I’ve lived in all sorts of properties but the one thing in common is that I ALWAYS hear my neighbours through the wall.

It just seems to be accepted! I would love to be able to sit in my house with a book and cup of tea without hearing my neighbour screaming at her kids. My first house I had to also hear my neighbour screaming at her kids.

Friends and work colleagues are always telling me how they’ve had their sleep interrupted by noisy neighbours but we all
just think it’s because we need to live in a detached house despite there being few detached houses at expensive prices!

Ive looked into sound proofing but it seems like quite a niche area you’d expect there to be loads of businesses everywhere and especially locally, offering to put neighbours out their misery but there’s none where I live.

It just seems to be a case of put up and shut up. My friends from other European countries are shocked at the cardboard houses we live in!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

195 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
21%
You are NOT being unreasonable
79%
Eastangular2000 · 15/10/2022 09:50

Have lived in both semis and terraces and have never had this. Maybe you just have ghastly neighbours

Asdf12345 · 15/10/2022 09:51

Sound proofing is generally not very effective and very expensive unless designed into the construction of the building, hence the lack of options.

It sounds like your options are put up with it or change your life choices such that you can afford a detached house, either by earning more or moving away.

Housingstockrubbish · 15/10/2022 09:54

And there it is, didn’t take long for the “you need to buy a detached house” rather than address why in the UK so many of us live in poorly built properties.

OP posts:
Ifailed · 15/10/2022 09:54

A lot of the housing in England was built on the cheap for workers, there was little consideration for such things and people had little choice.

As PP have said, to properly insulate against noise from adjacent properties would cost £1000s, so people either save up or put up.

Besswess88 · 15/10/2022 09:57

I live in a Victorian house.

My current NDNS make my life hell. I have been in the property for 15 odd years and this is the first time I have really struggled.

Child is about 2 or 3 and he constantly shrieks and screams and wakes up at 5:30 every day.

Summer time he’s in the garden and screams constantly and no one asks him to stop.

The mother is very loud too.

While I appreciate there could be additional needs (I have no idea if there are), that aside I have a right to enjoy my home and wake when I choose as I have absolutely no emotional investment in this child and he’s ruining my life 😥

tulips27 · 15/10/2022 09:57

I totally agree, lives would be improved by having thicker walls between properties. It was done in the past with old stone cottages but is completely overlooked these days.

Geansai · 15/10/2022 09:57

Yes drives me nuts! Why not put stairs beside each other and the living areas are not attached. Makes more sense. Whereas now my master bedroom is attached to their master bedroom and living room.

Duckerbizzle · 15/10/2022 09:59

Yep. We're in a 70s built semi and can hear neighbours talk, cough, sing, wake up and go in the shower etc. Obviously they can hear us as well. It's so annoying! Neither of us are especially noisy but it is still rubbish.

JorisBonson · 15/10/2022 10:00

I'm in a post war terrace and am permanently listening to my neighbours children screaming and the mum screaming back.

Other side don't scream but the entire family are incapable of speaking at a normal level, so I hear all of their day to day conversations.

YANBU

Housingstockrubbish · 15/10/2022 10:02

besswess I’m so sorry that sounds miserable. I understand as I too am woken (not by my own children) but by my neighbours kids who are 14 and 13 and love to get up early everyday and run around the house, screaming as they pound up and down the stairs. It’s miserable but just expected because I live in a semi.

My house was built in 2005 so not that long ago, but built poorly with rubbish sound insulation, although the cost of the house did not match the cheapness of the cardboard material it’s made out of!

OP posts:
Deliaskis · 15/10/2022 10:02

It's by no means a UK thing though. I've lived in flats in 3 European countries and holidayed in many more and have always been aware of neighbour noise. It's absolutely not a UK thing.

Besswess88 · 15/10/2022 10:04

JorisBonson · 15/10/2022 10:00

I'm in a post war terrace and am permanently listening to my neighbours children screaming and the mum screaming back.

Other side don't scream but the entire family are incapable of speaking at a normal level, so I hear all of their day to day conversations.

YANBU

I can’t even eavesdrop as they are not English (Polish I think) 😂

Towcester · 15/10/2022 10:05

Geansai · 15/10/2022 09:57

Yes drives me nuts! Why not put stairs beside each other and the living areas are not attached. Makes more sense. Whereas now my master bedroom is attached to their master bedroom and living room.

Wondered the same and occasionally it happens but only in the ground floor with front door and hall next to each other in semis. I suppose heat insulation would be worse but a lot would take that trade off.

MaybeIshouldnt · 15/10/2022 10:06

Its a fact of life that a lot of people can't afford detached houses, either to buy or rent. So what do the majority of us who have no option but to live in flats, terraces or semis do ? Refuse to live in these houses until builders/the government buck their ideas up and start building better quality houses? Thats never going to happen because, firstly where would we actually live and secondly, there will always people who will happily take the house you don't want because they can't afford to be so choosy. Their priority is to have roof over their head, be warm, have safe houses for their kids etc.

So, a genuine question: how do you suggest the situation is resolved?

AnApparitionQuipped · 15/10/2022 10:06

The 1930s semi I lived in was terrible for this. On the other hand, I lived in a back to back terrace - so surrounded on all sides except the front - that had been built around 1850, and you couldn't hear a thing from your neighbours because it had thick, stone walls.

nonevernotever · 15/10/2022 10:06

A lot depends on the neighbour too. DH and I have lived in various tenement flats, and could only hear one neighbour in specific circumstances -their toddler was prone to night terrors and their bed and ours shared a chimney breast. We could hear the scream and then the sobs/soothing parental mutter, but nothing else. Our current flat is part of a converted semi in a row of three. We never hear most of our neighbours, but downstairs are a very shouty family and boy do we hear them! As do all the other neighbours in our block (5 households in total ). We don't hear day to day conversation, but the kids start the day loudly, and then both parents shout, and we hear every word. Some of their rows are pretty vitriolic too - if I'm up I move rooms to try and avoid hearing, but once we're in bed I've resorted to putting a pillow over my head because it feels so intrusive.

SpinningFloppa · 15/10/2022 10:07

You will get loads of people saying they never hear their neighbours (sure some people just like to disagree for the sake of it) I live in a ground floor maisonette it has a one bed flat above it and at one point there was a family of 5 living up there. The noise was horrendous, truly awful and I’m not just meaning talking, I mean running around jumping, screaming, riding scooters up and down on the floor above us 😏

Housingstockrubbish · 15/10/2022 10:07

I work with a lot of Europeans who are currently renting in the UK whilst on placement and they struggle with hearing the noise from their neighbours.

There are also 2 Australians who are shocked by the sheer number of tiny little terraces we are all living in and the noise that goes with so many people crammed into tiny spaces with no sound insulation.

OP posts:
Pemba · 15/10/2022 10:07

Small country I suppose, with a big population and a shortage of land. I'm with you, I hate hearing neighbours through the wall and knowing they can hear us. The last house we owned (70s semi), you could even hear the neighbour drawing her curtains! In some rooms you could hear they were talking, though not the content. They also complained about us playing the piano (although it wasn't that late, and it was on the furthest wall away from them). It all drove me so mad that we stepped off the 'housing ladder' to rent a detached, which was supposed to be temporary, and what a huge financial mistake that turned out to be..

I understand that there are some semis/terraces that are better built where you can't hear the neighbours, the trouble is you won't actually know for sure until you move in there! I agree that builders could do a lot more to prevent this, but they don't seem to care much as long as they get their profits. One thing that seems to help with a pair of semis is to have it with the 2 front doors adjacent so you get hallways and upstairs landings and bathrooms running alongside, rather than living rooms and bedrooms. This seems to make much more sense, but for some reason this layout seems to be a lot more unusual. I don't really know the answer.

It is weird when you see footage of housing estates in the USA in a poor area (like a lot of Detroit) you can see that the houses are shabby and run down, yet they are all detached! Detached seems to be a luxury in the UK.

Whoareyoumyfriend · 15/10/2022 10:08

I feel very fortunate. I live in a mid terrace, early nineties build. We have breeze blocks between the houses. We do hear neighbours but not very often at all. Which is fortunate as my 5 year old has horrific, violent meltdowns.
However the internal walls are awful. So much so that even the radiator fell off the wall!

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor · 15/10/2022 10:08

Besswess88 · 15/10/2022 09:57

I live in a Victorian house.

My current NDNS make my life hell. I have been in the property for 15 odd years and this is the first time I have really struggled.

Child is about 2 or 3 and he constantly shrieks and screams and wakes up at 5:30 every day.

Summer time he’s in the garden and screams constantly and no one asks him to stop.

The mother is very loud too.

While I appreciate there could be additional needs (I have no idea if there are), that aside I have a right to enjoy my home and wake when I choose as I have absolutely no emotional investment in this child and he’s ruining my life 😥

I know how you feel, we had the same in our last home, I didn't realise how much it affected me until we moved.

MaybeIshouldnt · 15/10/2022 10:08

Geansai · 15/10/2022 09:57

Yes drives me nuts! Why not put stairs beside each other and the living areas are not attached. Makes more sense. Whereas now my master bedroom is attached to their master bedroom and living room.

Agreed, bad planning for semis. But it's not possible in terraces, is it?

Hesma · 15/10/2022 10:08

I don’t hear my neighbours, only the occasional click of a plug socket

mincen · 15/10/2022 10:12

We're in a 1960's ex- MOD property. The walls are very thin, it sometimes feels like we live with the neighbours not just next to them! And they're actually very quiet people (in comparison to us at least!)

VeridicalVagabond · 15/10/2022 10:13

I'm fortunate enough to live in a detached house a mile from any neighbours, and it is honestly bliss. When I've stayed at friends houses who have adjoined neighbours I've been horrified at how much and how CLEARLY you can hear them. And my friends are just like "oh that's just how it is." WHY?! I shouldn't be able to hear every detail of your neighbour's argument about her husband not clipping his toenails in the kitchen!

I'm with you OP, it's awful and it means you're in a constant neighbour lottery - you might be lucky enough to have quiet ones or you might get hideous, noisy, obnoxious ones - and there's nothing you can do about it if you get stuck with the latter. No thanks.

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