Laws regarding residential area noise pollution

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what are the actual laws on volume levels and bothering your neighbors in germany? i have heard from countless people that under a certain dB level (ie reasonable volume) you are allowed to make noise between 10am and 10pm. is this true? and does it change on sundays or official holidays (aka the beloved ruhetage)? i know a lot of contracts include a clause saying you are not allowed to disturb your neighbors with music, tv, loud parties, etc. but does this not conflict with the actual law on the books?

 

perceived loudness is different than volume, technically. and low level frequencies travel much easier and tend to bug people more. i work from home, i have to, and the music i make includes lots of bass and kick drums. i didnt work at home for 4 months because my first month here i got complaints even though i had gone to all my neighbors to tell them i was moving in, am a musician, must work from home, but dont want to bother anyone (so just come talk to me if there is a problem). i got one nice response and several acerbic "well, we will see wont we"s. im injured and have spent the last 5 weeks at home being productive and i havent had any complaints at all. i tried to work at low volume except when i really needed to check a small thing louder. until 15 minutes ago

 

today a neighbor, i dont know who, rang my bell twice (note did not come to me as i had asked). the first time asking to turn it down, which i immediately did, the second time to yell at me and demand i turn it off. she said i had no right to work on a holiday and that since there is this clause in our contract i must stop. she told me if i have to work i should use headphones, and when i tried to explain to her that they do not function the same with sound/frequncy response and that i have to work PROFESSIONALLY with music/sound she cut me off and told me "then you better rent a studio". i would gladly do that if i could afford it, but i cant and im sure she isnt going to pay for one for me, so i feel she has no say. i have been a member of the berlinermieterverein for several years, but only to deal with landlords. would rather not have sour relations with my neighbors, but i cannot allow other peoples selfishness to take away my income.

 

any advice or concrete law?

thank you very much

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today a neighbor, i dont know who, rang my bell twice...

... any advice or concrete law?

Today is Good Friday, the most solemn holy day in the Christian calendar, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. My advice to you is to try and be a bit more sensitive about the customs and traditions of the country you have chosen to live in. I'm not even letting my dogs bark outside for more than the few seconds it takes me to run outside and hush them up. Didn't do any dog training in my yard either, since I simply expected that my neighbours might get a little upset about noise today.

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That's assuming that everyone observes Good Friday.

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Mere... stop thinking like a North American. Gotta think like a German. This is the way it has been for hundreds of years, this is how it is now, and this is how it shall continue to be forever and ever, amen :P

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Ahhh... got it. Silly me. Thanks Bipa!

Of course... it has always been a quiet and somber day so it must remain so now even if we do not observe/celebrate and it means nothing to us.

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I have no suggestions for the noise problem. Noise is now a form of "pollution". So, as far as I can tell, headphones it will have to be. Tough.

 

Have a nice Easter and go easy on the chocolate eggs. (This is addressed to anybody in need of motherly advice today).

Cheers

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There's mountains of individual legal judgements about household matters like noise.

 

If my neighbour was making noise that disturbed me today, I'd have asked them to stop it. It's a public holiday. I've put some basic stuff off until tomorrow (running the washing machine etc).

 

Also (as one who works from home myself) I would not be impressed by the "but I work from home" card. In a residential block / area, your choice to do that is not always going to please everyone if it impacts their home life (peace and quiet, privacy etc). That's a given. If that work was interrupting my right to live in and enjoy my own home, then, yes, it is of course your work would be of interest to me. I wouldn't care about your lack of money, that's for you to deal with, no reason to transfer the adverse consequences / limits of your life on to me. And if you seriously suggested I might pay for a studio, I'd laugh in your face.

 

Suggestions - find a smaller / cheaper flat (thus freeing up cash for a studio), find someone to share short period rental space with (this has been discussed before here), find some extra work to pay for headphones / studio etc.

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In response to my total disregard for capitalization and apostrophes: I choose not to use them when writing on the internet normally. An online forum strikes me as being non-formal and I favor the aesthetics of no capitals (the apostrophes missing were probably actual mistakes). When writing for something being published or official paperwork I try to adhere to rules of grammar and punctuation. I'm sorry I burned your retinas with my ee cummings-ism.

 

As to the comment about my lack of respect for others culture: I understand that today is an important holiday for some people. I'm not trying to take that away from anyone or stop them from observing it the way they choose to. Germany is a country that subscribes to the law of seperation between Church and State, though. Consequently, Ones personal religious observance is just that, personal. Use of religion to curtail others freedoms is not something that inspires understanding in me. Berlin has a Non-Religious majority. My neighborhood has a Muslim majority. I do not believe my neighbor was even complaining because of the day (I'm pretty sure it's the same neighbor who complained to me in the past because my music "wasn't her thing". Though I'm not religious, music comes about as close to being a religion for me as anything, but i would never demand my neighbors shut their 3 stomping kids up or unplug their phones which ring incessantly throughout the day because i was listening to some piano and viola concertos.

 

the difference between freedom from and freedom to: Freedom from others doing things you don't like (selfish)/ Freedom to do the things you care about within reason (not selfish).

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I strongly suggest that you read the following article about Good Friday observance in Germany. Your US ideas about separation of Church and State have a very different meaning and application here in Germany. You can get fined up to 1000 euros for being too loud on Good Friday. The quiet period runs from 5am until 6am the next day. And this isn't just a custom or tradition, but is written into the "Feiertagsschutzgesetz".

 

Ruhe am Karfreitag

 

Am Karfreitag wird es still im Land. Im Radio wird zumeist beschauliche Musik gespielt, in Kneipen ganz darauf verzichtet und Tanzen ist verboten. Warum ist das so? WDR.de beantwortet die wichtigsten Fragen zum stillen Feiertag.

rough transl: On Good Friday the country goes still. The radio plays mostly contemplative music, and playing music in pubs throughout the land is waived and dancing is prohibited. Why is this so? WDR.de answered the main questions about the quiet holiday.

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i didnt seriously suggest anyone pay for a studio for me. i wouldnt ask for that. as i said, when moving in it was my intention to establish a good relationship with my neighbors so as to not make them unable to enjoy their homes. i have gone as far as suggesting to another neighbor that since she also works from home and my working makes it harder for her to do so, that we write up a schedule for both of us so that no one would be disturbed. she refused, opting instead for a "ill just tell you whenever you are bothering me", which just seemed like a passive aggressive way of saying "i want to reserve the right to not allow you to have the same enjoyment of your home as i do".

 

the woman today rang my bell and asked me to turn it down. which i immediately did. the volume level from then on was very low. equal to that of listening to the television. she responded by yelling at me. i would just like to know if im being harrassed because aesthetically what i do doesnt sit well with her, what are my rights?

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Ahhh déjà vu and this time I will try to refrain from too much noise here. However, when I read what the OP thinks .. I feel my blood beginning to boil.

All about me me me, to hell with the others who have to suffer. What is it with these musicians?

 

she said i had no right to work on a holiday and that since there is this clause in our contract i must stop. she told me if i have to work i should use headphones, and when i tried to explain to her that they do not function the same with sound/frequncy response and that i have to work PROFESSIONALLY with music/sound she cut me off and told me "then you better rent a studio". i would gladly do that if i could afford it, but i cant and im sure she isnt going to pay for one for me, so i feel she has no say.

YOU FEEL SHE HAS NO SAY??? Check this thread out. Maybe you might learn to "feel" for others and not just yourself.

 

You could also check this out.

 

I know Noisy in Friedrichshain has some. You can rent the rooms at http://www.noisy-musicworld.com/rooms/ - they're not too pricey either.

For me, making noise should not be a question of the law but rather a question of common decency and thought for those living around you.

I can just see where this is leading to.

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@bipa: thanks! im reading it now. i was unaware it was even good friday, being raised in a godless communal househould can do that to you. from now on i will take religious holidays into account when working.

 

i would still like to know the normal law covering noise (vs on sundays or holidays), which was my original question.

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General rule of thumb is no noise at all on Sundays or holidays (holy days), New Year's Eve being the only exception that springs to mind. ;)

 

During normal work days, avoid making noise early in the morning, after 10pm (8pm in some areas), and also you must often keep quiet during the midday break which is usually 12-14:00 or 12-15:00 depending on local laws or house rules for apartment buildings. There have been lots of threads about quiet times already, so go ahead and do a bit of searching on TT for more details.

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@orla_inka: i agree. when i said i feel she has no say, i was really angry and frustrated at being yelled at through the intercom and not even allowed to respond to anything the woman said to me. of course she has a say if i am disturbing her in her own home.

 

as ive stated, ive tried to make schedules with neighbors, ive approached them, and im open to dialouge. the woman today wouldnt even come to talk to me in person (she obviously knows which apartment is mine if she knew to ring my bell). ive lived in berlin for over 5 years and have never had problems with neighbors complaining about noise before this particular house. ive shared walls, floors and ceilings with families with small children and 60/70something year old couples. no complaints. ive only gotten complaints from middle aged single women tenants in THIS building. my upstairs neighbors whose 3 children bang around incessantly have only come to my door once, to check if something was wrong because a friend who had stayed with me neglected to shut off the alarm i set for him and it went off when i wasnt home. i apologized profusely.

 

i totally agree noise should be an issue of common decency, not law. but when people are unwilling to communicate civilly and find a solution for both parties, thats not a common decency issue.

 

being a musician does not make you selfish, but since living in this house it has made me paranoid and uncomfortable about doing the thing thats most important to me.

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General rule of thumb is no noise at all on Sundays or holidays, New Year's Eve being the only exception that springs to mind.

General rule of thumb should be - do not inflict your noise on others. I mean this says it all.

 

perceived loudness is different than volume, technically. and low level frequencies travel much easier and tend to bug people more. i work from home, i have to, and i got one nice response and several acerbic "well, we will see wont we"s. im injured and have spent the last 5 weeks at home being productive and i havent had any complaints at all. i tried to work at low volume except when i really needed to check a small thing louder. until 15 minutes ago

WtF is "perceived loudness is different than volume"???

5 weeks without complaint? Lucky you. And now, because someone has complained about your pollution you come here asking about your rights?

 

 

she told me if i have to work i should use headphones, and when i tried to explain to her that they do not function the same with sound/frequncy response and that i have to work PROFESSIONALLY with music/sound

In other words: "Up yours, if it bothers you" .

 

 

but i cannot allow other peoples selfishness to take away my income.

OTHER PEOPLE'S???

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thanks everyone for your help. i can act accordingly now (have always waited until after 11am to start and ended by 8pm or so, but will cut out the afternoon hours too).

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Whether or not they observe the holiday, people will be home today and looking forward to a little relaxation and quiet. Even people who work from home want some peace and quiet whenever they can get it. What for you may be a reasonable and small amount of noise may in fact be the absolute limit in a less-insulated building for a lot of other people who generally don't invite a lot of noise into their lives, eg the people you say tend to complain-- those with good hearing (not in their 60s and 70s) and without noisy children. They do not care that you are a professional, and why should they?

 

Just stick to the rules about noise.

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ive only gotten complaints from middle aged single women tenants in THIS building.

Ahh the problem is not your pollution but the ones who cannot stand it. Somewhat sexist and ageist I think.

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General rule of thumb should be - do not inflict your noise on others. I mean this says it all.

Sorry, but the grass needs to be cut once in a while, and the hedge trimmed, or else the neighbours will complain about that. <_<

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General rule of thumb should be - do not inflict your noise on others. I mean this says it all.

Orla is an example of someone who is perfect in every way and probably never offends anyone by inflicting her livelihood, noise, appearance, opinion, or personality on anyone in any way. She is not even ever mildly irritating to people on an online forum. Which is nice for all the people she comes into contact with, as that means they don't even have to come into contact with her at all.

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