Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

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Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

Post by cupcake » 25 Apr 2010, 19:08


I am not fortunate enough to be able to play the piano myself - and know very little about the instrument - but I am looking for some advice because I am at the end of my tether and really don't know what to do. I am hoping that someone here might be able to give some advice.

We (being myself, my husband and our 8 year old daughter) have owned and lived in our small, 3 bed mid-terraced Edwardian house for 15 years. It's a lovely area and we have always found people living in our neighbourhood to generally be very considerate and respectful to one another. We know pretty much all the people in the street and consider most to be our friends as well as neighbours. Then, 2 months ago, new people bought the house next door and this has all changed. As soon as they moved in, the new neighbours ripped out the fireplaces and chimney breasts at the back of the house, both downstairs and upstairs. We discovered that the downstairs chimney breast was removed in order to place their piano against the adjoining wall.

Whilst they appear to be very accomplished piano players (not so sure about the constant showtunes and incredibly loud singing that goes with it, though . . .) we are now subject to frequent loud sessions of enthusiastic piano playing and this has, in short, made our lives rather miserable. When they are playing, it is as if they are in the room with us - we cannot sit in our own living room to read or relax - and watching the television is out of the question as we have to turn the volume up so much, to drown out the noise of them playing, that it's uncomfortable for us to listen to.

But the worst problem is that it is *very* audible in our daughter's bedroom. Her room is above the back living room portion of our house (the part of our house that has their piano against our wall) and it is seems just as loud as it does downstairs - possibly due to there being a fireplace in her room (and maybe them not having fireplaces/chimneys at all, now?) When we first realised this, the next time we saw them in the street and in the course of a general "how are you settling in, etc" sort of conversation, we asked humbly and politely if it might be possible for them not to play past 8pm at night (our daughter's bedtime) - and they agreed.

However, since then, they've thrown a housewarming party where they had a fully amplified band, plus the piano, playing in their living room and, with an exhausted child unable to sleep and in tears, we finally asked them at 11.30pm if they could turn it down a bit. They flatly said no and then proceeded to thump on the walls in time to the music - an horrendous experience.

Since then, the piano playing has increased in both length of time that it's being played and later at night - sometimes past 9.30pm. Given the fact that we have no choice but to live here (can't afford to move) and that we have always kept at the very least an amicable relationship with our neighbours and been considerate of the fact that we are all living in close proximity to one another, we don't know what we can do that won't escalate into any dispute.

The crux of the matter is - my husband and I work incredibly hard and our home has always been our sanctuary - away from work, a place to relax and spend quality time with each other. But now, we both *dread* coming home to a place where we can't relax, where we can't sit and enjoy our own living spaces without the noise from next door and where we have to try to ease an overtired, overwrought child into bed just about every evening with earplugs in. Every weekend we trail round parks or sit at the allotment just to get away from it - the place is starting to become a nightmare environment where we can't relax because either the piano is being played or we fear that it's about to be.

I cannot emphasise just what a detrimental affect this is having on us as a family. We feel unable to go round to speak to them about it - the chap is a very arrogant man, certain that he is right, that we are the ones with a problem and just shouts us down. We are unable to move. We are stuck in this nightmare.

We've always been considerate because we appreciate that you are going to hear noise in these little terraces. Most of the families around here have young children so it's taken as given that you'll hear the occasional argument, the sound of kids playing, musical instrument practice. My daughter has just taken her Grade One cello and although she practises every day, it's never for more than half an hour and no later than 6pm as I know that my neighbours will mostly be returning home from work. Another neighbour plays the flute and it's a joy to open the window and hear her play.

I am so sorry to have rambled on and on.

I just need some advice. They've already said they won't reposition the piano on the other wall (their internal wall). I don't know if the fact that the piano sits on polished floorboards makes a difference to the sound carrying through to us. But I just need to know what can potentially be done without it becoming a full blown dispute - we just want to live happily and quietly and considerately as we used to.

Apologies again for the long long post. I am not anti piano - I just want my house to be a relaxing place once again. I hate it at the moment.

Thank you for reading.

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Re: Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

Post by mdw » 25 Apr 2010, 20:54

Speak to your local council re the noise. Sadly some people are just b*****ds. Start to keep a diary, dates, times, how it affects you etc. Yould also point out to them that if they want to move on in a few years time it will be difficult to sell if they have to tick the box on the contract saying there is agro with the neighbours.

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Re: Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

Post by NewAge » 25 Apr 2010, 23:07

This is a bad situation to be in, and I feel sorry for you.
This link ... /index.php may be of some help.
Note that's it's in 8 parts, and you would appear to have already arrived at Part 2 - 'My neighbour won't listen'.
You'll notice that's there's a help sheet for ASBO/ABC - Anti Social Behaviour Orders & Acceptable Behaviour Contracts.
And you may wish to join the special forum for more help and information. If it's of any consolation, your noise problem unfortunately appears to be a common one with 25000 other 'sufferers' judging by the number of forum members!
I trust this may be of some assistance. Good luck.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

Post by D.J.Smith » 27 Apr 2010, 08:03

I hope the removal of the chimney breasts was properly done, with adequate support put in for the chimney stack which remains. This work probably required building reg approval too. I suggest you check with your local planning department. If the work wasn't correctly done you could have a problem with the structure of your own house.

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Re: Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

Post by Pianomate » 05 May 2010, 00:14

The removal of chimney breasts could be a serious issue and affect your house as well. Check with your local authority Building Control Dept.

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Re: Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

Post by andyaeola » 13 May 2010, 15:27

Three things came to mind:

What about the people the other side of your neighbours, do they have the same/similar noise problem? You could team up?

Building work like that would probably require a party-wall agreement etc ... 133214.pdf

Take up nocturnal trombone lessons, some people respond to nothing less.

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Re: Help, please, re noise from neighbour's piano :-(

Post by joseph » 16 May 2010, 16:28

It sounds like they'd be inconsiderate noisy pigs with or without a piano. I always ask my neighbours if they have a problem with me playing, I have said to them not to hesitate if they need me to stop if they are ill or need some head-space and I'll do my best to make alternative practice arrangements. I have a good relationship with my neighbours but it would appear that some people only care about themselves.

Contact your council re the noise. This is Anti-Social behaviour and there are measures in place to prevent it!

Good Luck!

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