Space is a luxury in Singapore – and sometimes, our neighbours don’t let us forget that. At times, the walls seem to be paper-thin as you can hear exactly what’s going on next door. Putting up with your neighbours playing mahjong every once in a while is a common courtesy, but what about daily noise pollution?
Whether they appear to be renovating their house non-stop, having night-long parties, or perpetually stomping around their houses; we share 11 Singaporeans’ experiences with noisy neighbours, and how they attempted to resolve the issue.
Making a police report to no avail
Ever had such a noisy neighbour that the police had to be involved? This landed property owner reveals his neighbourhood drama.
“In the past, there was a dormitory behind my house. This wasn’t a problem during the day – but it was a different story at night. I wasn’t sure if they were partying, but the dormitory’s residents were very rowdy. There were extremely loud voices and banging sounds could constantly be heard. The din did not cease throughout the night.
Even calling the police did little to abate the commotion. The police had visited them and given them a warning, yet the ruckus persisted. It was only sometime later, after the dorm was demolished and its residents had moved out, that we were finally able to attain peace and quiet in the neighbourhood once more.”
– Marlon Lowe, Retiree, 60
Moving furniture in the wee hours of the morning
One of the things that every Singaporean often does is complain – about their day, the weather, or in this particular case, their noisy neighbours. And sometimes, that’s exactly what it takes to effectively solve the problem at hand.
Image for illustration only.
Image credits: @magerusagi
“Although I have lived in my condominium for over a decade, I still vividly remember when someone moved into the upstairs unit. They always seemed to be shifting their furniture – regardless of whether it was early in the morning, mid-day, or the middle of the night.
At first, I tried to be understanding. They had just moved in after all, and their furniture definitely needed rearranging. However, when the screeching and banging went on for months, I had to go upstairs to make a complaint.
My neighbours were apologetic and promised that it wouldn’t happen again. They even gave me their number and told me to contact them if they disrupted me again! After my visit, while there was the occasional screeching, they were definitely being more careful as it occurred less often at night.”
– Vince Tan, Banker, 51
“The unit above ours has been making loud noises which can be described as dragging and dropping things on the floor, regardless of whether it is day or night. Sometimes, we even hear screaming, shouting, and loud music.
We have been requesting that they stop making the noise, and despite their agreement, they continue to make a ruckus. When we reported it to the police, they got back to me and informed me that the household has a child with Autism. I tried being empathetic and offering solutions, but the parents continued to do nothing to curb the disturbance.
As our units have two stories each, I suggested that the family move their activities upstairs to their second floor so that less noise would travel to my unit. However, they did not do so.
While I have contacted HDB and bought earplugs to help me sleep, I will be moving out within the year.”
Image for illustration only.
Image credits: TheSmartLocal
“My neighbour’s children are quite disruptive from time to time. They spend the day playing and screaming, which causes some disruption to my daily life.
However, I usually just choose to suffer in silence until they tire out for the day. After all, they’re just kids having fun, and their yelling is just part and parcel of being children and growing up. And my patience has paid off, as the noise has eased over the years as they grow older.”
– Ginelle Lee, Housewife, 52
Image for illustration only.
Image credit: DE51GN
“I have never had a moment of peace since the day that an occupant moved into the apartment above my unit. Their two children seemed to be perpetually running about the house, creating thumping noises regardless of the time of the day. Having children myself, I tried to be understanding of the noise.
However, as it has happened too often, I decided that enough was enough. As such, I made a visit upstairs. The neighbours were really nice and said that they were unaware that the noise could reach us so easily. They apologised for it, and from then on, were more careful about creating any disturbance.”
– Laura Kim, Housewife, 50
Partying & blasting music daily
Image credit: @monotoneokay
“I live in a condominium where my upstairs neighbour seems to be partying nearly every day until 8 or 9pm. With music blasting from speakers, as well as loud chattering and banging, there was seldom a moment of peace.
Hence, I approached the condominium’s security guard in hopes that the racket would be let up if they intervened. While the matter was not completely resolved, it is still a relief that the partying noises seem to have become less frequent.”
– Tang Xin En, Student, 19
“Our neighbours constantly make a lot of noise during their late-night drinking sessions. By posting updates on a private Instagram account as well as communicating through a Telegram channel, we have coordinated efforts to discuss countermeasures and called the police.
After our warnings, they have toned down their sessions – but only for a few weeks. Upon which, they started their loud partying once more. Luckily for us, however, they finally moved out after some time.”
– 🇪 on Telegram
Image credit: Eliza McNamara
“Throughout the day, my neighbours are always playing music. I approached them to notify them of the noise and even put up a notice warning them of the ‘No Party Policy’ on their door. This helped only for around 2 weeks, upon which they promptly went back to their usual routine.
However, after calling the strata, they have been quieter and stopped playing as much music, which even allowed me to get to bed at 11pm!”
– Eliza McNamara on Telegram
Image credit: The Fence Authority
“Although I have been staying in my landed property for over a decade now, the noise from the various dog owners living in the vicinity never seems to cease. Hence, these dogs can sometimes be a bother due to their incessant barking.
However, I have my very own weapon – my dog also gets triggered by the barking she hears. I try to shush my dog so that my household wouldn’t contribute to the problem, but for the nearby dog owners in the neighbourhood – we probably gave as much as we got.”
– Colyn Oon, Student, 19
HDB’s last resort if the dog is reported.
Image credit: KP Lau
“I have been living in my HDB (Housing and Development Board) for over 5 years. A dog living on the same floor as me has the tendency to bark whenever someone walks by in the corridor. At first, I found the dog’s loud barking extremely disruptive.
However, I decided to remain positive and did not complain. After all, the dog’s barking couldn’t be helped by its owner. I got used to the noise over time. Besides, if I look on the bright side, the dog is our HDB’s very own alarm system – at least I know when someone’s at the door.”
– Nicholas Toh, Student, 19
Accidental HDB corridor symphony
This Singaporean struck her gong in response to her neighbour’s Hindu prayers. Livanesh Ramu had posted a video on Facebook of his family’s exchange with the person living in the adjacent unit, where he is seen ringing a prayer bell. In response, his neighbour started banging on her gong, as if mocking him.
This sparked a debate. While some have felt that the woman’s actions were justified as the man had disrupted the flat’s silence first by ringing his bell daily, it is still a part of Hindu tradition and culture, and a little consideration from the neighbour might have gone a long way.
Image credit: Livanesh Ramu
“Like many other Hindus, this has been a part of our family’s 5-minute, twice-a-week prayer routine. Having lived in this home for more than 20 years, we have never had any issues. COVID-19 may have created a new norm…
The Singapore Police Force has reached out to us. We have given our statements to the authorities, and they are investigating the matter.”
– Livanesh Ramu on Facebook
What do I do if I have a noisy neighbour?
You might have seen some of the news articles floating around about how some Singaporeans have resorted to legal means to fight back against inconsiderate neighbours. These range from filing Exclusion Orders and seeking legal action through the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT), but there’s no need to go this far most of the time.
Interestingly, there have been many creative solutions available on the internet. Some residents have even gone as far as to purchase automatic ceiling thumpers online to make their neighbour’s life hell, but it’s something that can get you in serious trouble.
If you have an insufferable neighbour who makes a ruckus daily, the first thing you might want to do is pay them a visit, and respectfully ask them to lower their volume. If your neighbours were unaware of the noise they were previously making, this will be effective in making your more considerate neighbours quieten down.
However, if even multiple visits don’t rectify the issue, maybe it’s time to call in reinforcements. It could be HDB, your neighbourhood MP , your condominium’s management, a fellow neighbour suffering through the same disturbance – or, in extreme cases, the police.
Alternatively, if you do not wish to escalate the matter and are willing to fork out some cash to resolve the issue, there is always the option of soundproof windows or soundproof rubber strips to seal the bottom of your door to reduce the noise pollution affecting you.
Dealing with noisy neighbours in Singapore
Inconsiderate neighbours are a pain to deal with, but not every single one of them is a complete menace.
Remember, a little consideration and empathy goes a long way. By giving them the benefit of the doubt, we could confront them directly about the noise before escalating the matter, and who knows, it might all work out. And if all else fails, try consulting with your property’s management staff, HDB, or your neighbourhood’s MP or GRC.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length, while names have been changed for privacy reasons.
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