Dear Urban Diplomat: My neighbours’ reno project is driving me crazy. How can I shut them up?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
Our neighbours purchased a fixer-upper three years ago and have been working on it almost every evening and weekend since. We can’t stay out late on Friday because we know the hammering will start early Saturday, and friends refused all summer to come over for drinks on our patio. Now the neighbours tell us scaffolding will block the path in between our houses for a week, but we’re certain it will be much longer. Can we ask them to hire help? Are there time and noise limits on DIYs?
—Reno 911, Don Mills
Technically, construction noise isn’t allowed on Sundays. For the other six days, assuming they aren’t starting before 7 a.m. or continuing past 7 p.m., there is no municipal recourse to stop them from Sawzalling until Prime Minister Rob Ford’s second term. If that blocked path is partially your property, however, they need your permission or a permit to access it. Your options (in ascending order of hostility) are as follows: offer to help (if you’re handy that way), suggest they pay for hired help, insist they pay for hired help, or withhold permission until they either acquiesce or apply for a permit. When selecting your tactic, keep in mind that a temporary nuisance next door is almost always preferable to an enemy for life.