Ask Audrey: 'Should I call the police on my extremely noisy neighbours?'

Audrey Griffen
Contributor

Audrey is a mother to a 15-year-old with another on the way. She probably should have taken into account who she was marrying (Osher Günsberg) much earlier, as she’s far more comfortable behind the camera as a freelance hair and makeup artist, than a TV host’s wife who doesn’t know how to work her angles for any on-camera duties.

Audrey loves to cook, decorate cakes, gardening, DIY and is very handy with a flat-pack, few of which you would pay her to do for you, but she’d happily give it a shot for free.

Audrey dishes out the advice for a woman who's husband of seven years has cheated on her. Photo: Supplied

Hi Audrey,

Help! My neighbours' fights are so loud I’m seriously considering calling the police on them.

I’m living in an apartment block with about 12 other units - you know the kind where if my neighbour upstairs drops the remote on the ground it sounds like a clap of thunder on the roof of my unit downstairs. The walls are so thin that if he sneezes I actually say ‘Bless you’ and he responds saying ‘Thanks’.

That hasn’t stopped my downstairs neighbours from having full-blown screaming matches twice a week since they moved in last month and it’s getting old fast.

They shout, swear and slam doors for hours, sometimes over the most trivial of matters. Last week they actually spent four hours shouting and crying over the bin not being taken out.

Usually their Monday night arguments are about one of them getting too wasted over the weekend. Then they have a mid-week blow-out and flare up over whatever’s angered them about each other that day.

I’ve said nothing to them because I thought it was just something that might stop over time, but it’s not and there’s only so many times I can put ear plugs in and pretend I can’t hear every word they’re saying.

I’ve been tempted to call the police on them so many times but I don’t want there to be awkward tension in the building. What should I do?

One person has written in to ask Audrey Griffen what they should do about their extremely noisy neighbours. Photo: Getty Images

Hi Friendly Neighbour,

The joys of living in close proximity to others, especially in an apartment building.

Sometimes we are lucky and get great, considerate neighbours, like ours. (We’re in an apartment block too.) And other times you draw the short straw, and get a couple next door like the ones next to you, angry, petty and loud. What a combo!

High density city living is a fact of modern life, and you have every right to expect peace and quiet in your home. There are written and unwritten rules about living in such an environment. The Strata provides the written rules, and as for the unwritten, well, that just comes down to being considerate of others and not being a d***.

Every word of the fights can be heard through this person's walls. Photo: Getty Images

With neighbours like your new ones, who fight loudly and irrespectively of the paper thin walls, I would start with something a little less confrontational than calling the police. While it’s annoying and you sound like you’re at the end of your tether, it would be better not to start at the extreme option of letting them know your feelings via a cop.

So where to begin?

Start by writing (and by writing, I mean typing) a note to slip under their door, just a friendly note from the “neighbours” that their conversations and arguments are able to be heard quite clearly, and a kind request to bear that in mind, especially at night when the “neighbours” are trying to get some sleep.

In this note, it’d be helpful to throw in a few examples of what you’ve been hearing, keeping it light of course… “We know it was Jim’s turn to take out the bins, but we’d rather not take sides and equal opportunity and all that…” for example.

Keep your note non-accusatory, light, friendly and non-confrontational. There you have it, the first shot at hopefully getting the message across.

If you find that the neighbours don’t heed your pleas for quiet, try again, with a little more firmness. I’m not sure if you are an owner or renter, but Strata are your next point of contact if your friendly notes are ignored. They should have Strata conditions/by-laws for residents of the block that could boost your message. Strata may also be able to contact the Property Manager for the neighbours and make the complaints more official.

And if that still doesn’t work, it’s time to call in the Po-Po. Hopefully, that will get the message through loud and clear!

As for the reason why I suggest you keep your note anonymous, it’s because you don’t know these people and from what you’ve heard, they don’t mind a loud “discussion”.

You need to protect yourself from being bombarded with angry interactions, and again, as you don’t know them, you don’t know if the verbal confrontation could turn into a physical confrontation.

Finally, if you feel that either of your loud neighbours are in physical danger, DEFINITELY call the police. Again you can be anonymous, your safety is paramount, but that sort of situation requires intervention.

In the meantime, perhaps this can be used as an opportunity to improve your speed reading by watching your shows with subtitles on, or perhaps buy a white noise machine with the peaceful sound of rain on the window or static to help put you to sleep.

In all seriousness, get yourself a plate of biccies, a hot chocolate and settle in for the drama a couple of nights a week. Who needs reality TV when you’ve got neighbours like yours?

Good luck!

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