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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%
TheMoops · 15/10/2022 12:33

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.

But also people are just really inconsiderate.
Take my neighbour, she has installed a ridiculous sound system which, when you live in a mid terrace, is just plain selfish.

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Sackeforbadhips · 15/10/2022 12:36

No fly screens either. I don't understand that.

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RunAwayTurnAwayRunAwayTurnAway · 15/10/2022 13:01

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.

Fux sake, the Aussies need a head wobble. Of course UK housing isn't laid out like Australian housing given the space available over there.

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yerdaindicatesonbends · 15/10/2022 13:14

Just remembered I used to be able to hear my neighbour fart in an old house. I swear there wasn’t any brick between those walls.

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YellowTreeHouse · 15/10/2022 13:16

I’ve lived in flats, terraces, semi detached. Never had this.

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nosyupnorth · 15/10/2022 13:21

The problem isn't the properties, it's the people.

I heard all sorts of obnoxious noise from the people who lived next door to me previously. The current tenants, hardly a peep - I once heard their baby crying but only because it was the middle of the night and there was no other noise around.

Unfortunately too many people in the country thud around obnoxiously screaming at each other when there's no need for it, they were just never taught to live at a civilised volume.

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shivermetimbers77 · 15/10/2022 13:22

I live in a new build flat- there are lots of things I don’t like (the heat in the summer for instance) but one great thing is that I can’t hear a single one of my neighbours. Up , down or either side. I’m not sure why (maybe the insulation helps to block out the noise??) but its blissful compared to all the other places I’ve lived where I could hear neighbours flushing the loo/opening cupboards.

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JenniferWooley · 15/10/2022 13:24

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.

My old semi/detached house was like this both sets of stairs up the middle with only adjoining walls in bathrooms & kitchens.

Never heard them they probably still heard DCs clodhopping up & down the stairs though

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ReadtheFT · 15/10/2022 13:25

Most European live in flats and this is not a problem. Properties are built very quickly but very badly in the UK

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Waitingfordecember · 15/10/2022 13:41

That sounds awful. The only time I’ve been able to hear neighbours through the walls was in a shared Edwardian terrace student house…. I put that down to us all being especially loud but maybe it was the houses?

Since then I’ve lived in a stone cottage, 70s (ish) build, and now a new build where we heard/hear nothing at all from our neighbours when they are in their houses.

After reading this threat I’m going to be really careful to consider sound proofing when we buy our next home!

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Suedomin · 15/10/2022 13:45

Our walls are very thin so we can hear ndn coughing, sneezing talking etc and the are not particularly noisy. What I find more difficult though is the thought that they can hear everything we say too. It makes it hard to relax.

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InCheesusWeTrust · 15/10/2022 13:52

JenniferWooley · 15/10/2022 13:24

My old semi/detached house was like this both sets of stairs up the middle with only adjoining walls in bathrooms & kitchens.

Never heard them they probably still heard DCs clodhopping up & down the stairs though

I don't get why so many semis are build with share living areas walls instead of hallway/stairs/bathroom walls. It makes massive difference with that type of build ime

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Abracadabra12345 · 15/10/2022 13:57

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.

I agree with all you’ve said.

I live in a 1950s semi and luckily the immediate neighbours are quiet but you can hear a rumble of voices or Tv. The same when I visit a friend in another street. It really is the build. Yet my dd’s flat in a newish property is soundly built and no neighbour noise

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KeepOutingMyselfAnotherNameChange · 15/10/2022 14:03

Yanbu I hear my neighbours weeing. That's just ridiculous. I hear them cough in bed at night, chat, sing, have sex, their child wakes me up in the night when he wakes up crying, I hear what they watch on TV. It's the simply having a wee that makes me think... this is not OK 😫😆🙈 they would defo hear me fart in bed.

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glossypeach · 15/10/2022 14:14

People who are saying that it’s the people and not the home, that’s not entirely true. I live in a new build ground floor flat. My upstairs neighbours are not intentionally loud yet I can hear their morning alarm, general chatter and their toilet being flushed. Apparently you can hear noise from my home from the communal hallway which makes me a little anxious. Not sure why new builds are being build without soundproofing, especially flats.

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Primroseprimula · 15/10/2022 14:15

I agree OP

The funny thing about the UK compared to my own personal experience of other European countries is that we have a national obsession with decorating and furnishing, so many people have gorgeously fitted kitchens etc in houses that are poorly built and lacking in insulation etc. In France for example where there is less of a housing shortage crap houses just get abandoned or sold to expats 😂

We have such a limited supply of housing that most people can't afford to be picky.

Regarding new builds, it makes me angry that so many are built with impractical tiny rooms. One near me that can came up for rent had 3 tiny bedrooms, the biggest only just big enough to fit a standard double, a living room only big enough to fit a 2 seater sofa in, and inexplicably 3 bathrooms.

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InCheesusWeTrust · 15/10/2022 14:20

Primroseprimula · 15/10/2022 14:15

I agree OP

The funny thing about the UK compared to my own personal experience of other European countries is that we have a national obsession with decorating and furnishing, so many people have gorgeously fitted kitchens etc in houses that are poorly built and lacking in insulation etc. In France for example where there is less of a housing shortage crap houses just get abandoned or sold to expats 😂

We have such a limited supply of housing that most people can't afford to be picky.

Regarding new builds, it makes me angry that so many are built with impractical tiny rooms. One near me that can came up for rent had 3 tiny bedrooms, the biggest only just big enough to fit a standard double, a living room only big enough to fit a 2 seater sofa in, and inexplicably 3 bathrooms.

Tbf there is not that much choice since shite sound proofing has been an issue for decades and decades.
Mine is from 40s.

Absolutely agree on new builds. Compared to mine the 2019 build nearby has same number of bedrooms, extra bathroom, no loft because that is one of the bedrooms and is overall 30m2 smaller than the typical 30s/40s terrace here. But twice the money....

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Xgle · 15/10/2022 14:39

I live in a new built flat by a prestigious developer in London, it has absolutely zero sound proofing. I know my neighbours’ daily routines, what time they wake up and go to bed. The worst part is I get woken up in the morning by their footsteps, I can’t tell them not to walk, and they live downstairs to me not even upstairs! I find it very hard to relax in my own home. they are renters will eventually move, however 2-bedroom apartments where I live tend to attract families so always loud and noisy.
Unfortunately cannot afford a house in London as it’s too expensive!

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reigatecastle · 15/10/2022 14:44

I thought older houses had better soundproofing/thicker walls but MIL and SIL both live(d) in 1930s terraces and both have noisy neighbours where you hear their TVs. It would drive me mad. It's bad enough when people have loud parties in their gardens, but at least I don't get the noise through a wall!

I agree OP, UK housing stock is rubbish and although it's difficult to retrofit older houses now, all new housing should be soundproofed. I dread to think what new build flats are like ;)

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Neggymumum · 15/10/2022 14:48

I agree we have ndn stairs next to our living room and the flat footed twats bound up and down with gay abandon. We can hear them speaking at normal conversation level, I know all their business lol. I am really careful to have discussions I consider private at almost whisper level cos I know they can hear it. My DH works from home and when on the phone is really loud , they must know all about his business. It's utterly crap, oh and very unnerving to be able to hear them when you're on the loo, because conversely that means they can hear me! Can't afford to move so we're stuck, just wish we had thought more about this when we bought it.

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Mariposista · 15/10/2022 15:02

I live in Spain, and any noise between midnight and 7am cam be reported to the police and they come round and fine the rulebreakers. And yep, my former neighbours who were a family with kids got reported - we were all tired of being woke up at 5 each morning to screaming and shouting. A 500 Euro fine later and they soon got their act together.

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Malfi · 15/10/2022 15:05

I’m in a Victorian terrace and rarely hear my neighbours. Next door -(young professional sharers) -hardly ever - a piano, and the rare occasional party. Other side next door -(young family with two children) -hardly ever - a violin maybe.

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Thepeopleversuswork · 15/10/2022 15:18

Because a lot of property in the UK is either poor quality stock or not used for the purposes for which it was designed, ie either 60s/70s blocks which were designed for poor people or Victorian/Edwardian conversions.

It would help if successive governments had actually wanted to invest in decent quality housing or create incentives for developers to do this.

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AnnaTheMouse · 15/10/2022 15:22

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.

I used to live in Paris and I think that was my worst soundproofing / lack of soundproofing that I'd ever experienced. Not so much in my flat, but a friend's. Awful

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InCheesusWeTrust · 15/10/2022 15:25

I found that communist concrete block flats often really good with sound proofing. It only carried couple of frequencies through.
Like washing machine vibrations, which tbf they weren't build for like that.

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