Home Business My neighbors are always chatting outside my door. Make them stop!

My neighbors are always chatting outside my door. Make them stop!

by SuperiorInvest

Q: I’ve lived on the first floor of a mid-sized Brooklyn co-op since 2016. I’m spending more time at home now, and the constant chatter in the lobby is aggravating. These conversations distract me when I’m working, doing yoga, or watching TV. My neighbor is one of the culprits, he regularly talks to the neighbors right outside my door, sometimes late at night. I realize this comes with the territory of living on the first floor and I don’t want to be a grumpy neighbor. But I also want peace. What can I do?

AND: City regulates noise, but it has to be “excessive and unreasonable” to be considered a violation, and people speaking in normal lobby voices won’t rise to that level. It’s understandable why constant chatter can be annoying, and you might be able to convince your co-op, management, or neighbor to be more considerate.

Write a note on the board explaining that while you understand that people are talking in the lobbies, the sound travels into your apartment and disturbs you. If the conversation is late at night, include that as well, as you are entitled to a reasonable amount of peace and quiet.

“Letting the board know is important because, in the first place, they may not know,” said Leni Morrison Cummins, a real estate attorney in the Manhattan office of the law firm Cozen O’Connor. “Maybe they have no idea it’s disturbing.

The building should send out a letter to residents asking them to be mindful of their voices in common areas. Management could also post signs in the lobby and doormen could remind residents to keep them down.

You can also talk to that one neighbor about frequent chats outside your door. But tread carefully—if you end up in an argument, you can make things worse.

“Confrontation is something that can work,” said Lizzie Post, co-author of “Etiquette by Emily Post, Centennial Edition.” “How you do it really makes a big difference.

Ms. Post recommends writing down what you plan to say and running it through to some trusted friends or relatives for feedback.

Another option: Put a sign on the door reminding people not to talk—though this strategy would also require some subtlety. “It’s passive aggressive, isn’t it?” said Ms. Post, who suggested using humor in the sign to lighten the mood. “Sometimes being passive aggressive isn’t a bad thing. It can be a way not to impress, but to impress.”

Next, look around your apartment. Are there things you can do to mitigate the interference? Maybe you could hang a tapestry on the wall to absorb the sound. Noise-cancelling headphones, audio equipment, or music can also help.

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