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AIBU?

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

128 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:
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Am I being unreasonable?

195 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
21%
You are NOT being unreasonable
79%
ginghamstarfish · 15/10/2022 10:15

Grew up in a 1930s semi listening to the neighbours and have almost always lived in a detached house since then. However we are renting for 6 months while buying a house, and this newbuild is a semi detached, which is amazingly well designed so that you hear NOTHING at all from next door. The front doors and hallways are together in the centre of the building, then upstairs a landing goes around to two bedrooms, so the only walls where you and nbs are joined is in one other bedroom and the kitchen/diner, and that is the wall with all the units/cooker etc.
We would actually consider buying a semi like this, after vowing only to buy detached for many years. In the past there was never any thought given to the design as such. All semis should be like this now.

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WaddleAway · 15/10/2022 10:15

I could hear my neighbours when I lived in flats in Spain, Italy and France.

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Sunbird24 · 15/10/2022 10:15

Sometimes the neighbours are just that loud - I’m on my third set of neighbours since I bought my house, hardly ever heard the first two sets and the second couple had both of their DC while they lived there. This lot are constantly shouting, screeching, having tantrums, or hosting massive nightclub-volume parties in the garden, so for my sanity I’ve had to sell up and buy a detached. Should be moving in a couple of weeks and cannot wait. I tried moving all my wardrobes etc to the party wall which helped slightly, just not enough.

Some people will say if you want peace and quiet you should live somewhere remote - I do! These neighbours are so obnoxious even the couple in the house on the other side of them who aren’t attached have sold up and are moving…

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RubyRoss · 15/10/2022 10:15

The OP makes an observation about a systemic issue and responses tell her to move house! Is the answer to suggest everyone living in a terrace or apartment move to a detached house in a valley or to think about how to reduce the impact of shoddy design and ensure future builds are better.

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JorisBonson · 15/10/2022 10:15

@nonevernotever totally depends on the neighbour. Before Shouty McShoutface and her permanently screaming kids moved in I never heard the people next door, ever. I miss them.

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JorisBonson · 15/10/2022 10:16

RubyRoss · 15/10/2022 10:15

The OP makes an observation about a systemic issue and responses tell her to move house! Is the answer to suggest everyone living in a terrace or apartment move to a detached house in a valley or to think about how to reduce the impact of shoddy design and ensure future builds are better.

Such a MN response! Sure, let me just rummage down the back of the sofa for the £50k I'll need to move into somewhere detached. Jesus wept.

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thereisonlyoneofme · 15/10/2022 10:18

Im in a 60os terrace, been very lucky for the past 10 hears at having quiet neighbours. Fear that is about to change as one set have moved out and previously the owners/tenants had been dreadfully noisy. Im sure the close proximity we all live in in this country is why people seem so angry and uptight.

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GrumpyPanda · 15/10/2022 10:18

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.

Building standards vary a lot between countries. I heard my neighbours a lot in the Netherlands, very little in Germany and Sweden.

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Blocked · 15/10/2022 10:18

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 😥

What do you expect them to do about him waking up at half 5 Confused

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thelobsterquadrille · 15/10/2022 10:19

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.

How would that work in a row of terraces?

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AnApparitionQuipped · 15/10/2022 10:22

thelobsterquadrille · 15/10/2022 10:19

How would that work in a row of terraces?

Mostly, it wouldn't; however my grandparents lived in a terrace that had a 'ginnel' on the non-stairs side so downstairs they were separated by stairs on one side and ginnel on the other. However, that only helped the ground floor.

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Remainiac · 15/10/2022 10:22

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor · 15/10/2022 10:08

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.

Same here. We now live in a duplex apartment- no noise from neighbours other than going in and out the main door. In our previous house (Edwardian terrace) you could hear everything. When I noticed that our horrible screechy NDN was pregnant for the second time, I cried.

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Sunbird24 · 15/10/2022 10:23

It definitely should be addressed in new builds, can’t be that hard to ensure a certain level of sound-proofing in adjoining walls during the build process. It’s harder for existing properties, especially the smaller ones, as adding it in would reduce the size of the rooms. It’s most effective in the side that’s making the noise, so the people suffering from it aren’t the ones who’ll get the best result if they install it unfortunately. The noisy inconsiderate neighbours aren’t going to want to bother paying for it as they’re obviously not being disturbed anyway.

Not sure what the solution is but you have my utmost sympathy OP.

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Notimeforaname · 15/10/2022 10:23

I feel your pain. I have to listen to the scumbags next door to me all the time.

One of the sons who is about 18 is regularly called a "fat ugly bastard " by his own mother. This 18 year old also calls his own girlfriend(also 18) a "fat ugly slut" it's really horrendous.

One night their telly was so loud it was making our walls vibrate. Partner hit the wall 3 times in frustration ... the 18 year old came out to the back garden ( past 1am) and began drilling into the exterior wall of our house because we had the audacity to smack our own wall in protest.

Absolute animals..scum of the earth

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AnApparitionQuipped · 15/10/2022 10:24

When I noticed that our horrible screechy NDN was pregnant for the second time, I cried.

I still remember my sinking heart when we got new neighbours in one terrace I used to live in, and I saw them carrying in a massive drum kit!

Fortunately they played it at fairly reasonable times, and it was a rented house so we weren't stuck there.

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Passanotherjaffacake · 15/10/2022 10:27

I’m with you op, in my last house you could hear alarm clocks, day to day noise and anything above normal talking level. Was awful when both sides had a young baby - especially as we were struggling to have a child then!

moved to a much bigger terrace, it’s generally quieter and can’t hear the older couple in one side - or their late teens kids at all. Other side we hear them screaming at their three younger boys every night at bedtime and every weekend. They properly scream though, which is hard not to judge a bit when it is every night and their youngest always ends up sobbing.

they all say they can’t hear our new baby though - I keep checking but both sides say they don’t hear him. Luckily he doesn’t cry too much but I’m still paranoid.

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yerdaindicatesonbends · 15/10/2022 10:28

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.

This! I cannot fathom in any house I’ve lived in why living rooms/master bedrooms are usually next to each other but the stairs are at the other side of the house!

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Sunbird24 · 15/10/2022 10:29

When I noticed that our horrible screechy NDN was pregnant for the second time, I cried.

Sympathies for you too @Remainiac, it was our neighbour’s 4th pregnancy that triggered both of us either side of them to sell.

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Passanotherjaffacake · 15/10/2022 10:34

I could also hear my neighbours when I lived in France but one was a professional piano player and sitting outside on my little terrace with bread/wine/cheese and listening to him playing in the summer months was amazing!

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20viona · 15/10/2022 10:34

Iv never had an issue with my neighbours where I used to live semi detached.

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StamppotAndGravy · 15/10/2022 10:35

Maybe british houses are worse but we can certainly hear neighbours in the EU! The difference is we have busybody interfering residents groups who can fine you, call the police, report you to the landlord and generally make life hell for noisy or non- conforming people. Good for getting people to shut up, but also easy to abuse if you just don't like someone's face. I can't imagine British people accepting being told when to wash their front doors any more!

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Zonder · 15/10/2022 10:35

I've lived in two other European countries and it really isn't a UK problem. It's a living near other people problem.

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GoldenHue · 15/10/2022 10:35

I live in a small 80’s built semi detached, the walls are paper thin.

I can hear my NDN snoring, microwave, cupboard fucking doors slamming, it almost feels like we live together.

I often talk about really private matters in hushed tones as conversations can clearly be heard through our walls.

I often wonder how those WFH taking confidential phone calls, go on living in these type of houses. I couldn’t guarantee that my conversations were not being heard by my nosey NDN.

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NippyWoowoo · 15/10/2022 10:35

I've never had this, but consider myself lucky. I lived in a terraced house and have moved twice since then, to flats. Ground floor, people above. Last flat I put it down to high ceilings, but where I am now I can touch the ceiling without fully extending my arm and still never hear anything.

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Snoken · 15/10/2022 10:36

I completely agree. I have lived in 5 countries and have never experienced this anywhere but in UK. I remember the first night in my London flat, I kept waking up thinking someone was walking around in my living room, but it was just the upstairs neighbour. I have lived in flats and terraces/houses in Sweden, US, UK, Belgium and France, nowhere else has been as flimsily built as in the UK and with as many damp issues.

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