How to Handle Noisy Neighbours in Toronto

You don’t have to like Toronto’s transformation into a jungle ruled by monolithic condo towers. You just have to live in it.

Privacy is no longer a right but the conceit of things that go bump in the night. You should just be happy your neighbours have only reported six of your conversations to the Shield and Sword this week.

OK, maybe the situation isn’t that bad yet, but we’re getting there. Stacked living and the pressure of constant close-quarter contact has diminished quality of life in many big cities. Toronto may not yet be at a Hong Kong circa In the Mood for Love-level of overcrowding, but anyone who lives in an apartment or condo has probably been privy to more glimpses into (and noises and smells from) their neighbour’s personal lives than they would like.

Whether you want to play music at a level above what would be considered acceptable for a funeral home or your neighbour has decided that 8 a.m. Saturday morning is the perfect time to nail, like, twelve pictures to the wall, you’re likely to experience conflict.

Some things you can live with. Noises made by those Swedish exchange students who are definitely not sisters? Consider it ambiance. Cooking fish at any time? Unacceptable.

But what can be done about it? Unfortunately, unless the offense is really egregious and/or criminal, not a whole lot. Toronto has your standard noise bylaws which you can invoke for pretty much any “sustained noise” above and beyond normal conversation levels. This includes everything from music to power tools, to annoying animals and ardent lovers. You can put the kibosh on all of that.

The question is do you want to? If you never make a peep and get off on spoiling the fun of others, go for it. Normal people, however, should think twice before waging a war of pedantry with someone who knows where you sleep.

Your best bet in a GTA that’s projected to approach 8 million people by 2025 is tolerance. As much as we may want to exercise our perceived right to peace and quiet, live and let live will most likely net the least stressful life.

Unless you live next to a bordello (which you probably do). Then feel free to drop the dime.

Image courtesy of Peter Fuchs.

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