Noisy neighbours?

Hi everybody,

I have a question on how to deal with noisy neighbours other than moving out. The neighbours upstairs have the habit of walking about their apartment (wooden floors) in something that sounds like high (and certainly hard) heels. They also have the habbit of banging the doors of their wardrobes, banging things on the floor, etc. It happens a lot during the day but what is worse, it also happens at night at various times (it can happen pretty much at any time of the night).

We discussed this with the landlord, who addressed the question to the condominium administration, who declined getting involved (not their job, they said). She then advised us to talk to the noisy neighbours and if doesn't work call the police. We did both eventually, but when the police came at 2 AM of course there was no noise (the noise is intermittent at night). At first they said they cannot do much since the neighbour has the right to wear whatever they want in their apartment, but then they went upstairs to talk to them anyway. Came back saying nobody opened the door.

So here we are, with 3 hours of sleep under our belt last night.

Anything else we can do, or just buy some ear plugs and look for another apartment?...
Any advice greatly welcome.
@ctomac I am SO VERY sorry for you.

We have exactl the same problem. We have contacted our neighbours about the hard shoes on wood floors because I am undergoing regular minor operations and do not sleep well. They made a difference firONE WEEK and then reverted to the same as before.

I'm afraid there is nothing you can do except stay and suffer or move. BUT wherever you move in this out of date country it will be the same. I am an interior architect and the problem lies with two factors:

1. The building does not have anti noisej insulation between the floors.

2. There was no requirement by the management for extra insulation before laying wooden floors. If none then the wood acts as a noise carrier.

The Portuguese  builders either don't care and won't pay the extra for insulation or they are just ignorant if correct building requirements.

Sorry no solution except move countries!
Ask them to buy a rug

In that case I should ask them to buy rugs for 4 bedrooms. Or, better even, I should buy the rugs for them to use. :)
@ctomac I am SO VERY sorry for you.

Sorry no solution except move countries!
- @sandybishop77

Or buy or own house (which we will, in the next 12 months or so - question is what we'll do until then).


I have the same problem. My neighbors upstairs are walking non stop in the evening and that can last for hours. Now they have their music loud. Apparently, they have no respect for their neighbors at all. I don't want to start a 'war' but it's really getting to me. It happens a lot and it's not the first time either. It bothers me to the point where I have to change rooms a lot but I can still hear them. I don't want to wear ear plugs in my own apartment. Enough with those stupid babies crying in planes bothering every passenger all the time and now at home, no way ! Parents are really stupid to bring their crying babies in planes. That's no respect either, plus babies don't even pay their fare whereas they should pay double for annoying every body all the time.  We live in a society that has less and less respect for the others. As you said, moving out is really hard to do and there is no guarantee that it won't happen in the new place ! I will wait for a few days and involve my landlord or put a note under the neighbors' door and see if they change a little, at least.

@sandybishop77 This seems to be a Portugal wide problem. The building standards and minimum requiremens are very very basic. Fortunately we are living in a top floor apartment with quite considerate neighbours, which is great. I have heard that there are sound barriers that can be installed on the ceiling of an apartment to reduce noise from above. Maybe this is an option (if it isn't a rental).

Yes you are right, it's a Portugal wide problem, and since people know that there is no proper insulation, they should mind about the neighbors ; that's not respectful and we lose sleep stupidly or are unable to concentrate so I am not sure what to do and avoid getting mad ? We cannot be constantly moving out and look for a better place since it's hard to do and not practical. I understand about the sound barriers but it's just a rental and I don't want to go over bored on spending more money than I have too. I am already spending a fortune on electric and water bills. Also, I am not even sure how long I will stay in the same area so upgrading the place is not something I want to do but thanks for the advice. This is already my 3rd place and every time I experience the same problem so I am a little scared now. If it's not one neighbor it's another one. It's great to live on the top floor but I have never found one. I am always very quiet and mindful too. I rarely make noise or talk loud non stop like most of them do. I guess it's cultural. Difficult if you love peace and quiet !


It's not a cultural issue but an educational one. Brazilians, Spaniards and Italians are much noisier than the Portuguese. If you have Brazilian neighbours, the chances of having these noise problems are considerable. They listen to loud (almost always Brazilian) music, talk loudly, have their weekly barbecues and invite half the world to the parties, and on football days of some Brazilian clubs, there are always loud parties until late in the night. They only calm down when someone calls the police.

The Portuguese who listen to louder music belong mostly to the lower class, or lower middle class. If they are older they listen to more kitschy/popular music, if they are teenagers it's the usual for these ages.

In the cities, this problem also occurs where there is local accommodation and the houses are rented out to tourists who want to party and have fun. They show no interest in respecting those who live in the building and are not there on holidays.

This problem is not unique to one country. It is rather a problem of an increasingly selfish society where a large part of the people only think about themselves and don't show any respect for their neighbors.


You may find these articles helpful, but I recommend that this problem should always be (kindly...) addressed directly with the person or the condominium management where you live. If they are teenagers, try talking to their parents...

Noisy neighbours


That's true too but sad.

@juliajonesjy Hi Julia. Is the situation much better in France, or would you encounter the same problem there as well? In Germany houses are built differently and usually there isn't such a big problem with the carry over of sound from one floor to the other. You might hear neighbours on the same floor much easier, though.

Overall I agree with JohnnyPT that this is a problem of an increasingly selfish society that doesn't want to consider others' needs. Even if you had a house in the countryside you might then have a problem with dogs that are barking 24/7. Maybe you should think about moving to a condominium that has strict rules regarding noise. That might give you a little more leverage.

That's why properties generally built for expats/tourists are so much more expensive.

I have stayed in old accommodation before but hopefully never again. I never realised what a difference sound insulation makes until I could hear the neighbour vacuum his first floor apartment from our third floor. If I could hear his vacuum then I wonder if he could hear my kids! Who knows?....The Portuguese are too polite to say....

That being said, I have to applaud the Portuguese on how considerate they are. I literally thought the neighbourhood I was staying in was deserted until I realised that there were actually people living there! They come and go so quietly and respectfully.

looks like I'm one of those guys you complain about. No loud music or heels but when I stay at my home and just go to the bathroom or open the fridge I immediately hear this angry ”knock-knock” from my neighbours who go sleep at 9. they are allways unhappy I exist.

I think the most correct answer to respect everyone - apply extra sound insulation on ceil yourself guys, or ask your landlords.  I did it and I don't hear anyone now, except knocking in the wall directly

Its not just a portugal problem i lived in a high rise apartment block in the uk many years ago & the noise from bad neighbours was horrendous i lasted three years then moved out after buying my first home. now my husband & i live in the country here in the algarve & must admit it is perfect everyone who comes out say what a brilliant nights sleep they had as it is so quiet we have Portuguese neighbours but after 21.00h there is very little noise.



We're facing the same challenge, and it seems there's not much we can do about it. Portuguese people are incredibly adaptable; they tend to endure things without complaining. So, when newcomers move to this country and begin expressing their concerns, it often takes them by surprise. Deep down, I'm confident that they also realize the value of adapting to the local way of life.

@Sk Mehedi Hasan Akash,


Sorry, but your comment doesn't make any sense. Besides that, many of your compatriots from Bangladesh cause a lot ( yes, a lot ! )  of problems on the housing blocks where they live in Portugal, due to overcrowding in homes, the noise and the disgraceful conditions in which the houses are left. Most of the times, it's just impossible to realise how many people live in a house...

@ guest 136

´Parents are really stupid to bring their crying babies in planes. That's no respect either, plus babies don't even pay their fare whereas they should pay double for annoying every body all the time. ´

I agree : only parents who have choosen quiet baby, mute kid, gagned child, should be alloud to travel. To have a living  kid is definitly no showing respect for the other… they must pay !!

(Is irony a form of disrespect ? ;)

@JohnnyPT  I do represent myself but not anyone belongs to my country. To be honest im annoyed of how they are living 10 people in a apartment. But this is not how i live neither this post is about how Bangladeshi living here. I don't know why you bring this topic all of a sudden. What i try to meant in my previous post is how portuguese people adopt everything. We are coming here as immigrant, making too much noises but still they are welcoming and adopting with us. 

@Sk Mehedi Hasan Akash,

Yes, most portuguese people are welcoming. But there are many expats who create problems in the condominiums. And they come from different countries. You're absolutely right, we can't generalise, but this issue is creating some opposition from landlords to renting to expats of certain nationalities... because of some of them, everyone from a country is affected...