How much noise should children be able to make?

As if your child screaming their head off at night wasn’t enough, now your neighbours are knocking on your door to complain. How much noise should people be expected to tolerate? Read on to find out.

Children are allowed to do everything that comes with being a kid: stomping around, shouting, throwing things in the air, riding a push-car, etc. They’re also allowed to enjoy a play date with a loud friend or two and celebrate birthdays. After all, there’s no law stating that residents have to be totally quiet. That said, tenancy law does call for all residents – with or without children – to be considerate of each other. In principle, neighbours should tolerate the noise made by children. Even so, parents should take the needs of their neighbours into account when it comes to quiet time.

A crying unicorn: guaranteed trouble with your neighbours. (Freepik.com)

Quiet time is mandatory

The period around noon and the hours starting from 10 pm are considered to be ‘quiet periods’. However, your rental agreement may prescribe different quiet times depending on the local situation. It’s a good idea to check your rental agreement for the exact details. You should avoid making noise as much as you can in these quiet periods. Of course, it’s not always possible to stop children from making a din during these hours, and this doesn’t count as contravening the rules on quiet periods. By the way: if you find a clause in the rental agreement stating that you will be evicted if there are issues with your little ones, you can ignore it. This would constitute a major infringement of your personal rights and is therefore null and void (under Article 271a of the Swiss Code of Obligations).

Getting out in the fresh air

Although children are permitted to do all the usual kids’ things indoors, it’s not a bad idea to exercise common sense in certain situations. Football matches, for example, are better held outside. As well as sparing your furniture and the rest of your home, your little ones will be able to meeting other kids their own age and enjoy some fresh air. And if you do have to stage a push-car rally indoors because it’s raining: attach softer wheels that don’t make too much noise when they roll across the floor.

Loud and not interested in listening: a typical kid (Freepik.com)

Music is on the OK list too

Children are also permitted to learn a musical instrument at home. It would be okay to raise an objection only in the case of a trumpet or set of drums. Even so, you should strictly observe the quiet periods and keep the practice to a maximum of three hours per day.

What should you do if your neighbours’ kids are bothering you?

If your neighbours’ children are being loud, it is a good idea to speak to the family about it. You’d be amazed how many problems can be settled through a simple face-to-face conversation. Explain to them what’s bothering you in a calm, sober manner. It will not help matters if you simply stand there getting upset. Instead, try to explain exactly what it is that is troubling you. It is worth trying to come to an agreement on matters and to decide what can be changed in future. Give your neighbour time to do something about the issue. If the conversation doesn’t lead to any improvements, you can contact your building manager. However, this should only be considered as a last resort.

Can noisy families be evicted?

A family may not be evicted if their children are noisy within reasonable limits. In very complicated cases where the tenant is not willing to abide by the rules and the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the landlord may see no other option but eviction. However, if a family is issued with notice of termination of contract due to their child making too much noise, they can take this to the arbitration authority, which will then seek to reach a settlement between the parties.