Whether it’s a loud party or someone’s second-hand smoke filtering into your apartment, neighbour relationships can be hard to navigate when you have dozens of people living not only next to you, but above and below you too.

It’s important to remember that your building might have specific rules about noise levels or smoking. There may be a designated space for smoking for instance, and parties may be allowed within certain hours, so although you may be looking forward to an early night, your neighbour also has a right to celebrate his or her birthday on a Friday night.

However, there are some things you can do about that party apartment that hosts events every week, or the person that smokes at all times of the day. Here are some tips that can help you achieve an easy and peaceful coexistence

Talk to your neighbor

More often than not, people are not aware that their behaviours are a problem and a simple conversation can solve the situation. Be sure you approach your neighbour in a respectful way and offer a compromise that works for both of you. Would it be ok if he closed his windows to lessen the noise? Can he advice his guests to avoid lingering in the hallways? Could he practice his instrument before 11pm?

Inform your building management

Sometimes it’s hard to manage the situation yourself so the next step would be to contact your building management or your real estate agent if you are renting. They will contact the offending neighbour and remind him of the rules in place. This option is useful if you want to stay out of the way to maintain a good relationship with your neighbours.

Make a formal complaint

If your neighbour’s behaviour continues despite multiple notices, you can make a formal written complaint to your Owners Corporation through their approved form. They will have policies and procedures to deal with these problems accordingly and can act as a mediator for the problem. If possible, attach relevant photos or videos to support your complaint.

Call the authorities

If the problem gets out of control and your neighbour is still partying at 4am or his behaviour poses a health risk, it might be time to call the police. They have the power to shut down a party or issue relevant fines to repeat offenders.

Further reading

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria has a useful booklet Annoyed by Noise? to help you deal with residential noise.