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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:

Am I being unreasonable?

195 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Calandor · 15/10/2022 10:36

I live in a flat and never hear my neighbours 🤷‍♀️

TimBoothseyes · 15/10/2022 10:38

My NDN is an elderly, slightly deaf lady. It seems we are listening to Classic FM this morning. It could be worse though....up until April we had to deal with listening to her parrot shrieking day and night as well.

TheMoops · 15/10/2022 10:40

I hear you OP. We're looking at getting some soundproofing. It's really costly but it will be worth it for the peace.

Our neighbour has decided to buy a sound bar and install it right where our heads are when we're watching TV. It means if she's watching TV we literally can't.
There is nowhere else we can sit due to the fact we have a corner sofa and only one corner it can go.
Because she's decided she wants a loud TV we're having to buy new furniture so we can actually watch ours!

And don't get me started on the late night piano playing and the knobhead boyfriend thinking he's Elton John at midnight 🙄

Chesneyhawkes1 · 15/10/2022 10:43

This is why I told my DH I wanted a detached house. But no, we bought a semi and can hear our neighbours.

When you've just got into bed at 7am after a night shift - it's great to hear screaming and shouting. Same at 11pm at night when you've got to be up at 2am for early shift 🤦‍♀️

He now agrees with me!

flapjackfairy · 15/10/2022 10:44

We live in a edwardian semi that is precisely this layout both up and downstairs so only rooms on adjoining walls are kitchen and one bedroom. It makes such a difference and we can't hear the neighbours though the downside is a dark hallway and landing due to no windows .
But even detached houses can have noise issues especially the ones that are v close together surely? And garden noise can also be a pain wherever you love. I hanker for my own island frankly .

Whatevergetsyouthroughthenight · 15/10/2022 10:44

Detatched houses aren’t always the solution. I lived in a detached house where the flue for the gas fire carried every noise from next doors kids into my living room when they in the garden. It was a new build so there was all of 3 feet between each of the houses.

BalmyBalmes · 15/10/2022 10:44

Not just uk. I have relatives in other European country and when I stay in their spare room I can hear the little girl singing in her bedroom in flat below.
Houses in the past were cheaply built and lack of building regulations. Nowadays there's no excuse for not being built with modern material/techniques and sound insulation in mind.
You'll probably always hear loud screaming kids but absolutely shouldn't be hearing conversations and tv at normal volume.

LT2 · 15/10/2022 10:46

I live in a mid terrace and the most I ever hear is a sneeze from one side. Been here 7 years.

Purpleavocado · 15/10/2022 10:49

We think our house was a show home, the walls are really thick even though its mid terrace with small children both sides. We can't hear a thing. Our last house was nearby and the walls were much thinner. I'd be curious to know if anyone else in an ex show home also has thick walls.

Itstarts · 15/10/2022 11:00

I have to plan my bedtime around my neighbours sex life and I swear I am going to snap one day soon if we don't move quickly.

CecilyP · 15/10/2022 11:01

I depend on the house. I’ve only ever lived in one house where I’ve really heard my neighbours; a mid 19th century semi detached cottage with stairs running up the middle and single brick between the 2 houses. We heard everything and they were a very shouty family! I’ve lived in flats where I’ve heard people above but not next door.

Previously lived in 1960s concrete built maisonette where stairs joined next door and only noise I heard was their toddler running up and down stairs.

Currently live in 1980s semi but built like a terrace, so houses identical rather than mirror image so few rooms joining and I hardly hear my neighbours at all.

DS has a 1950s semi; conventional style with most rooms joining but so solid he hears absolutely nothing of his neighbours.

Blanketpolicy · 15/10/2022 11:01

We were brought up in a council estate terrace built in the 70s. Most of the estate was built so houses were staggered/not in a straight line. This meant less of the house joined together and we never heard the ndn, there was much more privacy in the gardens too. The houses are not the most attractive externally but very practical.

My niece now stays on the same estate. She has a reactive rescue dog that regularly barks loudly at shadows and she has apologised to the ndns and said she is working on training. Ndns said they have never even heard him!

Spectre8 · 15/10/2022 11:02

Oh trust me I never knew how thin my walls were u til covid and working from home.

I can hear my neighbour coughing and sneezing even over my TV.. he blows his nose very hard too.

It really got to me so now I'm back in the office for my own sanity.

He is a lonely old man and I've noticed he has started to spend time in rooms opposite to where I am in my room when he never used to and one night I tearw this by getting up and going to sleep in my spare room and he did the same ...creepy shit. Even more of a reason to go to the office.

Geansai · 15/10/2022 11:08

thelobsterquadrille · 15/10/2022 10:19

How would that work in a row of terraces?

The OP did not reference just terraced houses. I was speaking about my own experience of a semi d. It would help an awful lot of people who live in these type of houses, including me! It is quite a simple solution to improve people's living arrangements.

Housingstockrubbish · 15/10/2022 11:18

with Semis where the stairs are next to each other, there can be a problem hearing neighbours going up and down the stairs. I lived in a semi which was built hallway/hallway with lounge and master bedroom on separate wall.

In that time we had 2 lots of neighbours and always heard them pounding up and down the stairs. We’d hear their front door slamming shut too as I’m sure they heard ours.

OP posts:
rafanadalsarms · 15/10/2022 11:18

I'm deaf and this is one of the few advantages. Though I can't even hear people in my own house. 😂

SnoopyNoseTits · 15/10/2022 11:24

We used to have a lovely quiet single guy living next to us, only heard the odd door slamming very occasionally. He has recently moved his partner and her 2 boys in, and I’m struggling. They run absolutely everywhere in the house, and it sounds like a herd of elephants. The mum can be quite shouty too, and none of them know how to use a door handle.

we are saving up to move, and have started listening to music a lot more than we ever did before. Thank god for noise cancelling headphones! One good thing is that once the boys have gone to bed at 7:30 ish, it all goes peaceful so we get a good night sleep. Shame that they are up at the crack of dawn running around again though!

ADialgaAteMyDog · 15/10/2022 11:31

My people! We lived next door to a middle aged couple when first DC was young and apologised for the noise. She always said she couldn't hear us.

Well, that was a very kind lie! It's a 1930s semi detached and we now have new neighbours with a baby and I can hear everything. They coo at the baby and shout at the dog all day long. They have hard floors so I think we hear more from them as we have carpet. They wake up very early and sit in their bedroom all together laughing and laughing, wakes me up every single day and I hate it.

whereeverilaymycat · 15/10/2022 11:41

I wonder how much the open plan trend has made this problem worse?

My neighbours can be loud and I suspect we can be too (small children). I've noticed it's worse since they opened up the whole downstairs and added a working log burner. Our main living areas are completely attached. Ours was already open plan when we bought it, theirs was in two rooms (one with an extension so larger than ours) and then they redid it, taking the wall down. So essentially it's two gigantic rooms attached with the sound bouncing all around it.

Luckily we are all fairly tolerant of one another. They raised three children and are bubbly social people, not expecting silence. We accept they're able to socialise later into the night as they don't have kids waking them at 6am.

Not sure what the answer is. We are redoing the main room now and I'm actively looking at every sound option there is as part of it. Even if it's just having a thick bookcase built to help muffle it.

If I could afford detached I'd go for it. But then you still have to think about the garden so nothing is perfect.

Suetwo · 15/10/2022 12:08

Totally agree. I have experienced this several times. I also knew a girl who was driven to a suicide attempt by the vicious chav who moved in next door and played music at three in the morning. When he argued with his girlfriend, she could hear every word. It was awful.

Unfortunately, the U.K. is a small, crowded island. There are just too many people, which means the demand for housing is endless. Builders and property developers know this and exploit it, as do estate agents. There really ought to be more regulation. And not just on sound proofing but size. My best friend’s first house was so small they had no room for a dining table. They would eat squashed into the corner of the kitchen. In fact, the house was so small she stored her hoover at her mums! It was obscene. I don’t know how the builders got away with it.

At the same time, I’m sick of seeing fields and trees disappear to make way for yet another ghastly new build estate.

TimBoothseyes · 15/10/2022 12:11

I wonder how much the open plan trend has made this problem worse?

Also the trend for wooden flooring.

InCheesusWeTrust · 15/10/2022 12:14

Yeah my family queried why don't we have brick walls between teraces. We do! They are just THAT shite.
In my family's house you could put mussin.on full and the attached house may just get tiny bit of subwoofer


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InCheesusWeTrust · 15/10/2022 12:14

It's really stressful and imho one of the parts clearly showing low life quality in uk. Because of the stress

dimstacie · 15/10/2022 12:27

My anti social, noisy neighbours are away (thank god) at their mobile caravan this weekend and I've been able to sleep without ear plugs for once and hear the birds and the wind rather than their awful deep screeching voices. Rant over! The new builds appear to be even worse.

More generally in these newer build houses (this one is circa 1940s) the soundproofing is inadequate. You can hear a sneeze, a cough. Compared with my childhood home; a large Victorian house (semi detached but five bedrooms- large) you never heard the neighbours, even the cello playing was faint and unobtrusive.

dimstacie · 15/10/2022 12:29

InCheesusWeTrust · 15/10/2022 12:14

It's really stressful and imho one of the parts clearly showing low life quality in uk. Because of the stress

It definitely must add to the stress in my opinion.

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