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Dealing with Disruptive Apartment Neighbors

  • Emily Rice

Emily Rice

4 min read
Dealing with Disruptive Apartment Neighbors

When nearly thirty-four percent of the U.S. population are renting apartments, problems are bound to arise.

Thirty-four percent is a lot of people living in multi-family communities. A place where no two people live life the same way. All 113 million residents have their own styles, their own habits, their own schedules, and their own personalities, things that might not mesh well with those of their neighbors.

While many are fortunate enough to get along with their neighbors, others, not so much.

Thoughtless Behavior

Anything your neighbor does that demonstrates a lack of consideration for others, either affecting your space or the apartment building as a whole, fits into this category.

Examples might include leaving trash in the halls or outside, dropping or throwing things from the balcony, taking up multiple parking spots, or damaging the property.


We’re not talking about day-to-day noises. No, we’re talking about noises that are consistent or obviously louder than the rest. With apartment living comes the expectation that you will endure some noise. It isn’t going to be quiet all of the time.

Common noise complaints come from the TV or music being too loud, dogs barking, kids yelling, wild parties, slamming doors, running in the hallways, and heavy footsteps.

Quiet hours are an easy giveaway to those neighbors who are noisy.


For the most part, what happens in people’s apartments is their own business, until the smell of it invades your unit. Odors from trash, pets, or illegal substances can be intrusive and very distinctive to neighbors. These can be signs that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.

You don’t have to experience thoughtless behavior, noise, or smell to file a complaint. Afterall, this is your home. If ever you feel uncomfortable or wary about something, let your landlord know.

Make a Change

Chances are that you’re not the only one annoyed by the neighbor. There are probably other people on your floor, above, or below you that are having the same problem.

Just because you’re living in an apartment complex, doesn’t mean that you have to live next to someone who creates a nuisance. This is your home too!

Here are a few ways to go about addressing the issue(s).

Talk it Out

Sometimes all it takes is a discussion between those involved.

If people were never told that what they were doing was disruptive to those around them, they might never know. Rather than letting the issue continue, it may be worth trying to address the situation yourself.

Knock on your neighbor’s door and introduce yourself. Slide a note under their door. Establish a line of communication. In a respectful manner, address your concern with your neighbor. The least you can do is try.

With both sides working together, it may be more amicable in reaching a solution.

Submit a Complaint

If the problem still occurs or worsens, report it to the property manager. It's not ideal to file a complaint against your neighbor, but sometimes it's necessary.

Be prepared to fill out a complaint form. Whether the issues between you and your neighbor(s) have been re-occurring or if it was a one-time occurrence, you will need to give details.

  • Where and when did the incident occur?
  • Who did the incident involve?
  • Why are you reporting the incident?

The property manager will want as much information as possible. They don’t want to falsely accuse anyone. After the complaint has been filed, give the manager an appropriate time to act. They will evaluate the situation and discern what needs to be done.

It can be beneficial to you if you notify the property manager because they are ultimately responsible for any damage or destruction to their property. Good property managers should do something about the situation because they don’t want to lose any good renters due to the actions of one bad tenant.

Report it

If you hear, see, or smell things that seem out of the ordinary, trust your gut and contact your property manager and/or the police.

Notifying law enforcement is a last resort option or to be used in a case of emergency. Give your property manager the chance to correct the situation before filing your complaint to the next level. However, if the landlord is not effective in terminating the behavior or you fear for your safety, notifying law enforcement would be the next best step.

Depending on what type of behavior your neighbor is displaying, or if it’s illegal, you might find that the landlord has already contacted law enforcement.

You are the eyes, ears, and noes of the apartment building. If ever there is something happening at or around your apartment that you do not agree with, let someone know.