Note found in a condo lift complains about noise, but what if it’s not from the neighbour upstairs?

The sad thing about living in a flat or condo is that sometimes we have to deal with a lot of noise coming from our neighbours. It could be sounds produced by drilling, drums or the common marble rolling and furniture dragging. 

And it can get very irritating, especially when the noise is heard in the morning on the weekend or at 4am. Which is what happened to a condo resident for some time, who couldn’t tahan the noise anymore and resorted to putting up this notice in the condo lift. 

A note found in a condo lift
Click/tap to enlarge. Source: Reddit 

Passive-aggressive note about noise 

According to the note shared on Reddit on Sunday, the supposed neighbour upstairs had been drilling every morning during the weekends. 

The writer of the note even claimed that the neighbour had lied to them about having a permit, before lying to the condo management about not knowing they needed one. Depending on the condo, residents may need to get approval from the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) before starting work. 

On top of drilling, the neighbour had apparently been moving furniture every five to 10 minutes from midnight to 4 am every day. 

Perhaps to show their frustration, the note contained rhetorical questions like “By the way, do you know that your tables and chairs can actually be picked up off the ground instead of being dragged across the floor?” 

The note even had a second page, although the friend who shared it with the OP didn’t manage to take a full picture of it. So the only visible part of it was “Are you in need of a gym?” 

The OP has since updated that the note has been taken down. 

Noise coming from upstairs is a common problem

Since its posting, the note has stirred up a lot of discussions on the forum, with many saying they’ve faced similar problems of hearing noises in the middle of the night or early morning. The most common noises were of furniture dragging across the floor, as well as marbles dropping and rolling. 

Other types of noises heard include drilling, loud walking, slamming of doors and washing machines. 

How people have been dealing with the noise

As of writing, we don’t know if putting up a note on the lift can help solve the noise problem. But when it comes to noisy neighbours, the usual advice would be to go for mediation or approach the MP when talking to them doesn’t resolve the issue

One Redditor shared that writing to the MP with all the details could work, as it made the HDB check if the people in the unit had the legal rights to stay in the flat. While this led to almost all of them getting evicted, giving the commenter some peace, the owner later came down to confront the issue. 

In contrast, approaching the MP didn’t work for another Redditor. They shared that mediation, police reports and installing CCTV with sound for proof didn’t help either. Instead, they got a waiver of the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) for the flat. 

Screenshot of Reddit comment on how mediation doesn't work
Source: Reddit

There have also been instances where recording the sound for proof is difficult, since they could never predict when the sound is produced. This makes it harder to gather evidence about the noise. 

On the other hand, there may be times when the noise is not actually caused by the neighbour upstairs. A Redditor shared that they’ve been approached by their neighbours downstairs before, who were confused as the former’s family had been sleeping. 

Screenshot of Reddit comment on how the noise may not be caused by the neighbour upstairs
Source: Reddit

The noise may actually be due to structural issues, not caused by the neighbours upstairs

Given how HDB blocks and condos are built, the noise we hear coming from upstairs may not be caused by the unit above us. Instead, it may originate from another part of the block or condo. 

According to a Straits Times article, sound can travel through structures from a number of units above, below or beside a unit. So the noise may not have come from the flat directly upstairs, especially if it’s actually empty. 

It doesn’t help that reinforced concrete is used in these structures either, as they’re very effective in transmitting sound. 

The noise may even come from opposite blocks, as it gets transmitted through the air, which then travels via openings like windows and doors. 

Other causes include contraction and expansion of the building’s structures, as well as movement of connected materials such as pipes. 

So if you’ve been hearing noises of furniture dragging like many commenters on the thread, it’s best to not jump to conclusions just yet. Consider approaching your neighbour to check if they’re really the ones causing the noise, because there’s a possibility that it’s due to structural issues. 

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