Stereo in an apt - how loud how late?

Basically what the title asks. How loudly should an apartment dweller be able to hear one’s neighbor’s stereo how late at night? And, if there are any limits, what exactly should the neighbor do about it?

I’ve been living in an apartment for the past 1.5 years, after 20+ years in houses, so I feel a little “out of” whatever might be current apartment etiquette/courtesy. Over New Years a couple moved in next door who like their music and TV much louder than their predecessor. So far I have not said anything to them or management.

Yesterday (a Tuesday, in case that matters), I got home around 4, and the stereo was at the louder range of normal. A mix of classic and hard rock at a volume such that I could readily make out the songs I knew through the walls. Some Boston, Bad Co., Pink Floyd… By 7 or so, the volume seemed to have lowered, such that I could easily hear the basslines, but would have had to listen very hard to make out the songs. It continued at that level until I went to sleep sometime after 9.

I woke up around 12:45, and it was (still?) playing at the same level. Continued until I was able to get back to sleep sometime after 1:30.

Should I have said something yesterday? If so, exactly what should I have said, and when?

Happy to provide any additional details you wish. And I readily admit that one reason I have not said anything yet is that I suspect I am somewhat unusual (unreasonable?) in my noise preferences. I love loud music in my car and clubs, but in my apartment I like it very quiet. I understand I could wear ear plugs or turn on music of my own, but I prefer not to.

My own preference is “if the windows are closed and I can hear your music clearly, it’s too loud”, but I put up with the neighbor’s children playing one side of Disney’s Snow White LP again and again every Sunday morning for years, as my parents forbade me from complaining.

I blame my hate of Disney-dwarf-shaped garden gnomes on those neighbors :stuck_out_tongue:

FTR, I’ve lived in apartments all of my life except when I lived in dorms, and that pair and The Little Nigerian Mermaid who liked to take baths at 3am (university dorm in Scotland) were about the only time I could hear music loud enough to be bothered by it.

Assuming decent walls, if it’s loud enough to hear in your bedroom through the walls, it’s too loud. Time of day doesn’t matter - some people work shifts. And if it’s loud enough to annoy you, it’s too loud.

I don’t think it’s at all unusual or unreasonable to want quiet in your living space. And I, personally, would feel bad about being loud enough to be heard at all in the next apartment, especially late at night or early in the morning. But if the apartment walls are thin, I don’t know what expectations or compromises or demands are generally reasonable.

It might help for your neighbors to move their speakers further away from the wall.

Thanks, all.
I don’t really know thick from thin walls. But I never hear a sound from any other apartment, and before these folk moved in, would only hear an occasional murmur of that apartment’s TV.

Set up is as follows: long 2-story building, with separate entrance for every 4 apts - 2 up and 2 down.
I am on the 2d floor and have a long LR/DR which shares the “end” walls with my neighbors on either side.
My bedroom is separate, and does not share any walls with anyone - to one side is the entry way, and to the other side is my closet and galley kitchen.
When I am in the LR (where I like to spend most of my evenings reading), I can hear their stereo/TV clearly enough to identify songs/shows.
In my bedroom, I can generally hear the basslines and TV background music - given the set-up, this sound is coming from my LR and the entryway.

So - do I talk to the tenants, or to mgmt. And what would you say.

At 1 this morning I thought I would say - in as neutral a tone as possible, “Would you please turn the voume down.” With the follow up, “You may not realize how clearly I can hear your stereo in my apartment.”

I’m such a wimp - I tend to shy from such “confrontation”, as I fear the other party wil act in a manner I feel “unreasonable”, which I fear will make me less happy than simply bearing with the noise.

Dinsdale - Welcome back! I worried about you (in a totally non-stalker, internet kind of way). I hope things are well.


Normally you’d want to talk to your neighbour before contacting management, but technically nothing wrong with going to management first. That’s part of your rent. What I have done in the past is, just left a note on my neighbour’s door, asking if they’d turn down their television.

I think during the day it’s acceptable to hear someone else’s TV/music as long as it’s a low murmur and you can’t really make out the words or the song that is being played. After 10 p.m., there should be no noise at all.

It also depends on your housing (walls, carpeting, etc.). I’ve had neighbors complain (hotheaded), only to be surprised to notice how reasonable the volume was. In that place the walls were just crap and any amount of base would be almost more noticable for the neighbors than for me.

Landlord wouldn’t do anything about it, so we just agreed to be ‘considerate’ as long as we shared the wall.

Ah yes, neighbors in apartment with loud music.
How well I know this story - everywhere I lived.
In West Hollywood, a guy played his music so loud our floor shook. Luckily for us, it was so obnoxious that the floors also shook on floors of other apartments and it became a mob versus asshole…mob won.
In another apartment, we were the only recipients of the noise from below. We tried to be polite - said we had no problem by day, but after 10:00 PM we had to sleep for work. The guy ignored us.
So, we put our speaker on the floor facing down, and one Saturday morning at about 7:00 AM, when he was sleeping off his hangover, we blared our music to his apartment.
He came storming upstairs and we finally had a real heart-to-heart.
Unfortunately, living in apartments has all kinds of challenges - late night party goers coming home drunk and sounding like a herd of elephants banging through the hallways, the same drunks jumping in the pool/sauna at 3:00 AM. Then there are yapping dogs who bark and whimper all day/night, or you have crying babies, or a TV from an older deaf neighbor that you can hear every word…

Most neighbors were normal decent people, but sadly there are many who seem to think they own the building and whatever they want to do is OK.

Options in order of things to do:

  1. Try to reason with them.
  2. Speak with management.
  3. Call police.
  4. Move.
  5. Call “Louie the Icepick” to come visit them and break a kneecap after you leave.

Yeah seriously, I’ve never had any luck with talking to neighbors, complaining to management, or calling police. Unless the whole building is bothered by the noise, you’re on your own and either deal with it or move. There is NO standard for “acceptable”.

Actually, when I lived in apartments, there was a noise clause in all the leases. IIRC, quiet time was usually 10p-7a. Often, there is also a city ordinance for noise, especially multi-dwelling units. I never had extended noise problems with noisy neighbors. If the neighbor wasn’t reasonable, it was very easy to talk with management and make them an offer they (legally) couldn’t refuse.

My rule is, turn that shit off at 10:30 or I call the cops. Unless you’re having a party, in which case I expect 24 hours notice.

24 hours notice to decide what to wear to the party? :wink:

Thanks all.

So here’s the plan. The next time I hear it at a volume as yesterday, I will knock on the door and say what I wrote above. If nothing else, at least that will make me feel I did SOMETHING. Hopefully, they will lower the volume or move the stereo/TV.

If they do not change or are rude, I’ll ask management what can be done - either talk to the tenants, and/or move me to a different apartment. If I talk w/ mgmt, I may also ask whether bikes are to be kept in common areas. Hate to sound paranoid, or to display a poor opinion of humanity, but I sure hope I don’t end up with car damage or anything…

I tend to disfavor notes. I think it EXTREMELY difficult to write a note in a manner which will not potentially tick off someone. I think I would prefer someone knocking on my door and reasonably talking to me face-to-face, rather than receiving an impersonal note. Moreover, if you write anything awkward or unreasonable, the recipient has a permanent record of it.

Actually, things might happen shortly which might allow me to move out. I’m interviewing for a different position on Friday, which would involve relocation if I get it. If I do not get it, I may move out of the apartment and buy a home. But, in either event I wouldn’t expect to move earlier than 60 days, and I’d just as soon not be gritting my teeth over here every night until then.

Oh yeah - the apartments are carpeted. Although a lot comes through the walls, I thik the real problem might be the cheap doors. It is a lot louder in the entry way than in my apartment, and I suspect a great deal of that bleeds through my door. And i don’t hear any conversation, movement, etc. If they just scaled the bass down, that would help things considerably.

Mainly, as a longtime home-owner I wasn’t sure what degree of noise should be expected/tolerated in an apartment. Personally, I’m absolutely silent after 6 p.m., but I don’t expect everyone to be as quiet as me.

All quiet on the homefront yesterday.
Yesterday evening after my run, I stopped in the office and asked what their idea of too loud too late was, and they said I really shouldn’t be hearing anything after 9-9:30, and I should never hear it as loud as it was yesterday.
They asked if I wanted to fill out a complaint form, but I said I’d just as soon assume the other day was an anomaly and, if it happened again, I’d knock on their door before filling out a complaint.

I’ll let you know if anything else happens.
Otherwise, I’ll check in in another year or 2! :wink:

Everything’s going great StG, thanks for asking. I could only hope to be stalked by someone as lovely as you!

Yeah, those clauses and ordinances look very nice. Never, in my experience, are they enforced.

If there’s noise in general bothering you and you’re looking for a fairly cheap solution, a cheap cafe rod mounted over the door with a blanket or fairly heavy material over it makes an excellent insulator. Works for drafts too and if you make it 8-10 inches wider than the door on the hinge side it’s easier to push out of the way when you need to open the door.

In my experience, the higher my rent is, the more likely a noise clause in the lease is to be enforced. No matter what type of place I was living in, I’ve always had a response from the police when I’ve had to call them at 2am. (Except in Canada. They told me to call code enforcement, or something like that, that kept bankers hours.)

I had no qualms about contacting the police when needed. Just as I had no qualms about contacting the mayor’s office, or my city council member to raise a stink if the police didn’t show up to do their job. Just as I had no qualms about contacting the corporation that that owned the complex and inform them their manager was failing to honor the contract lease.

At least I never had to resort to the final straw, standing on a public sidewalk sign in hand stating “Management here sucks. Don’t even think of renting here!” with the local TV station recording everything. Of course, the equivalent these days is to complain on Twitter, in a blog and post a video.

Actually in some places noise from the *house *next door is just as annoying as from the apt. next door. And in some places the authorities do take those ordinances seriously. When the woman who lived next door to me in LA decided she could play her music as loud as she wanted in the daytime, the nice officer explained to her that was not the case. (When I called the cops I did not really expect them to send someone but they did. The dispatcher I spoke to could plainly hear the music and I was inside my house with doors and windows closed.) Good luck with your neighbors, Dinsdale.