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Diplomatic relations at their noise-reducing best

Noisy neighbours can make every day seem like you’re living in the middle of a war zone.

But there are simple ways in which harmony can be restored without the need to resort to desperate measures.   

It’s an unfortunate fact that modern apartments are built with lighter, less-dense materials, but it’s also true of freestanding residences on smaller allotments. 

But there is a solution to the problem, no matter how big or small it may appear. 

As a starting point, it’s best to be proactive rather than allow any issue to fester.

Simple steps to turn down the volume 

If an unpleasant incident occurs, such as loud music in the early hours, consider it a one-off. But if it is repeated, it’s time to act without the need for losing your temper.

If you’re residing in an apartment complex, ask the building manager or body corporate secretary for a copy of its complaint notice.

If it doesn’t have one, write a polite note (and give a copy to the body corporate) that can be placed under the noisy neighbour’s door or in their mailbox. It should highlight the issue (noise, smells, parking, smoking, littering or other disruptive behaviour) and provide details, such as dates and times of the indiscretions. Then sign it anonymously, such as ‘Your Neighbour’.

This will do the trick in most cases, but it’s time to up the ante if the note is ignored. 

After all, constant interruptions interfering with the daily enjoyment of your home can be equated with strata law being breached in most states and territories.

The body corporate should provide the rogue neighbour, and offer a complaint resolution process and even a notice to comply, depending on the by-law being broken.  

As a last resort, taking the expensive and time-consuming course of legal action is rarely recommended, but it may be the only route to stop the bad behaviour.

Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but finding an amicable solution will be music to the ears of all. 

Creating a sound barrier

You can also play your part in limiting noise by soundproofing your home. 

Start with a solid-core door at the entry and consider replacing doors close to living areas and neighbouring walls, where sound can create the biggest issues.

Doors guards at the base of your doors can also stop draughts and unwelcome sounds from disturbing your haven.

Similarly, seal gaps around windows to stop heat and cold from entering your domain. Better still, double glazing can block up to 95 per cent of sound and will soon pay its way in reduced utility bills and greater levels of comfort. 

Insulation in internal walls, floors and ceilings can reduce noise while using heavy drapes and thick rugs over polished boards can minimise disruptions.

Positioning wardrobes, a well-filled bookshelf or wall furnishings in specific noise hot spots can also negate any unwanted racket.

Complement this tactic by using sound-absorbing materials, such as cotton, foam or felt in tapestries, rugs, pictures or artworks on the wall.