How to Be a Good Apartment Neighbor

Edited by Maluniu, Jordan, Flickety, Dleon and 12 others

Residing in an apartment may be a step down from owning a house, but everything comes with responsibilities. An apartment lifestyle might be more complicated when it comes to etiquette issues because of the limited space between other people, yet a little courtesy can certainly make apartment life much easier. This article offers a few helpful tips on maintaining a courteous relationship with your fellow apartment neighbors, so that living in close proximity with others proceeds well.

Be friendly towards others. You don’t necessarily need to know them, especially if you live in a crowded high-rise building, but a simple hello or greeting goes a long way. In smaller complexes, it’s easier to know names, faces, and parking stalls. Creating friendly relationships also makes it easier to interact in the future if anyone has questions or concerns.

  • Get to know the property management and employees. Be sure to keep a contact list in case you need a maintenance fix or for emergency purposes.
  • Participate in your apartment’s discussion board or tenant portal. Letting other people know who you are is the first step towards a more rewarding relationship.

Be soft-spoken when entering and exiting

Be soft-spoken when entering and exiting. It may be normal to walk from the parking lot to your front door and vice versa, but you’ll need to consider how loud a person is. Avoid stomping onstairwells, especially when leaving before sunrise or coming back late at night. Try not to walk around apartment with wood floors in your shoes (put them on just prior to leaving your apartment and remove upon entering your apartment) not all tenants work a “9-5” job and may be trying to sleep during “regular” daylight hours. Keep the noise at whisper-level in hallways. Loud laughter and conversations while people are relaxing or sleeping are a nuisance. Close doors behind you with ease. Main building and apartment doors create a lot of noise. Don’t let them slam or shut by themselves.

Be considerate of the noise level inside the apartment. This is one of the most common complaints reported to managers. More noise etiquette is needed if you live above another person. Soft footwear makes less noise than heavy duty items such as boots or high heels. It’s not necessary to thump your feet around the kitchen in the middle of the night. If a neighbor requests for you to keep the noise level down, try to negotiate on a solution.

  • Try to vacuum or use exercise machines on the weekends or when you know people are at work. Noise and vibrations goes through floorboards and can be an annoyance.
  • Practice “quiet time” rules with children. Allow them to jump and run around during the day, but instruct them that they need to stop doing so when the sun goes down. Instead of having them create havoc indoors, spend quality time outside, such as in a small community playground. If you don’t have carpet, have plenty of rugs down on the floor to muffle the noise of children.
  • Turn the volume down on electronics, such as radios and televisions. For wall-to-wall neighbors, you may want to move them away from those specific walls. Set a specific time to stop playing video games at a loud volume.

Have on-site laundry etiquette.

Have on-site laundry etiquette. An on-site laundry may be an amenity for some apartment buildings or complexes. Always respect the property manager’s rules on hours of operation, know how much each coin machine is, and anydetergent amount rules. A list should be provided by the property management and posted near the machines. It’s advisable to time each machine and avoid leaving clothes abandoned for a prolonged period. A typical washer operates for about 30 minutes on average, while a dryer can take between 45 to 60 minutes.

  • Never stop another person’s laundry in mid-wash or dry to use it. It’s not only considered rude, but you never know what is inside the machine, whether it’s regular clothes or a heavy duty blanket.
  • Never insert another person’s wet clothes into a dryer. Every person has their own specific way of drying clothes, whether it’s air drying or using a particular machine dial/setting. And then there are the delicates that shouldn’t be placed in the dryer at all!
  • Avoid using scented washer detergent. If necessary, use fabric sheets with your load[1].
  • f there’s a limited amount of washers and dryers available and another person’s clothes have been in there for a long time, it is considerate to lay their clothes on a clean plastic or garbage bag on a counter or somewhere off the floor. Each person is responsible for their own belongings, but it is also a two-way street way of using shared amenities.
  • Always clean out lint screens and any spills before leaving the area. Just think of you wanted to do a weekly load of laundry: would you like to clean up after another person that did a load before you?
  • Even if smoking is allowed in your apartment complex, don’t smoke in the laundry room. The smoke can get stuck in the dryer and make everyone’s clothes smell like smoke. You might not notice, but people who are sensitive to smoke definitely will.

Know the rules for different kinds of apartment parking. Respect all parking spaces and don’t double park. It’s a headache for people at the local supermarket or any public parking lot, so please make sure that you’re within your own space lines. Depending on the property, a small guest parking area may be available. If there are none, kindly suggest to your guests where they can find any nearby city street parking or convenient areas off the premises.

  • For assigned parking lots, each tenant is allowed a specific amount of stalls, usually one or two. The property manager may require you to leave a parking badge or sticker on the vehicle dashboard while it’s on the premises for identification purposes. In assigned lots, parking stalls are included in contracts. Other tenants have the right to report parking violations to the property management, which could lead to inquiries or possible towing. Just because a person never uses their stall(s), (for example he/she doesn’t drive), it is never okay to assume that you can use it.
  • First come, first served basis parking is a challenge to all if there are less spaces than tenants. If you arrive home late at night, the odds of getting a “free” parking stall are slimmer as opposed to coming back in the early afternoon. Be considerate towards others and don’t treat the stalls as a car yard just to reserve places. If you’re stuck in a city parking meter area and have the next day off, wait for someone to leave in the morning and take their spot.

Offer any positive assistance or convenience to your elderly neighbors

Offer any positive assistance or convenience to your elderly neighbors. If you see them in the parking lot with groceries, ask them if they need help carrying them inside the building or hold any doors open. If you see their mail piling up or you don’t notice their lights on at night for some time, knock on their door and see if they’re doing okay.

Ask any questions regarding smoking with the property management

Ask any questions regarding smoking with the property management. Even if it’s allowed inside the apartment, make sure that the area is completely ventilated with the windows and vents open. Properly discard cigarette butts in your own trash; do not fling them out the window. You still need to obey rules with a non-smoking apartment, so light up outside the building or on the street.

Choose small pets for a pet-friendly apartment

Choose small pets for a pet-friendly apartment. Cats and small dogs hardly make noise while walking on floors and they are less likely to threaten other neighbors[2]. Always keep any four-legged animal on a leash while walking outside of your apartment and bring a plastic bag with you at all times. Inform your neighbors about a new pet if you’re uncertain about their feelings.

Have apartment dumpster etiquette.

Have apartment dumpster etiquette. Dumpsters may be located around complexes for the ease of tenants. Make a note of what day of the week garbage trucks come around the area. If you’re moving in with a lot of boxes, don’t solely depend on one place for your garbage. Check other city places, such as a town dump, recycling facilities, or spread out your items throughout a few weeks. An empty dumpster doesn’t necessary mean that it is “free game”; allow other residents to throw their garbage out. Always fold up or smash boxes and other compact items. As things start to pile up throughout the week, the dumpster bin acts like a Tetris game.

  • Be sure to securely fasten your garbage bags before hauling in bins. Open garbage bags not only spreads rubbish to the ground when a truck flings it back, but also attracts wild animals, such as possums and squirrels.
  • Leave the bin sides closed at all times. It’s convenient to use them during the winter when a few inches of snow is piled on the top, but you’ll need to be careful and observant of how much trash is in the bin. Open sides may lead to rubbish falling out onto the sidewalk or ground.

Be very cautious when having guests over. Most contracts forbid guests or any person not under the lease to be left alone in the apartment. Reckless behavior or any disputes between the guest(s) and another tenant may become the leaseholder’s responsibility. However, some apartment properties don’t mind guest accommodation. In such cases, it is a good idea to give your neighbors a heads-up about any potential noise, etc.

  • If holding a party, let those neighbors likely to be inconvenienced know about the occasion. If you think the neighbors will enjoy themselves too, consider inviting them.
  • Avoid having big parties or loud get-togethers on weeknights.
  • Turn down party music by 10:00pm.[3]


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