Got a home renovation planned? Keep your neighbors in the loop
Editor’s Note: This post, originally published on October 30, 2016, is all about giving your neighbors a heads up on your home renovation timeline.
Letting your neighbors know that there will soon be construction happening in your apartment is a considerate thing to do. Especially if complications arise—like during Nancy’s renovation when 60-year-old pipes burst onto her downstairs neighbors, who were thankfully very understanding—you’ll want your neighbors to be aware that construction is happening nearby.
Advance notice is also helpful if your neighbors work from home or have small children and need to plan around your construction schedule, particularly when noisy work is going to happen. Plus, your neighbors are likely to be curious. Many people asked Chris and Amber about their renovation, so letting people in your building know about your plans beforehand will help cut back on questions. Being considerate of how the construction will affect your neighbors is vital in maintaining a good relationship with the people who live next door.
There are many ways to approach this often overlooked step in home renovation etiquette, depending on the tone or terms of acquaintance you already have with those in your building. Here’s a letter I sent to my building’s upstairs, downstairs, and same-floor neighbors before re-doing the floors in my small East Village apartment with a few thoughts on why it worked to preserve peace in my little corner of the building:
My letter is a good bit longer and more conversational than it may need to be. It’s possible that I was overeager, but I was genuinely concerned about how my neighbors might be affected by the noise and the presence of workers. I had met some of my neighbors in passing, but others were total strangers, so I took a formal, professional approach to outlining the dates of the work and assuring residents that I had chosen a reputable contractor.
I went further and wrote about the specifics of my project, why I was doing the work, acknowledged that there might be some unknowns on timing, and issued a friendly open invitation to future neighborly get-togethers. In short, I knew that the noise and dust might be a headache for next door neighbors and I tried to demonstrate that I had gone out of my way to be considerate about the plan.
A three-day flooring project is not the worst thing that can happen in the apartment next to you, but I found that neighbors were generally understanding and reasonable about the disruption, and enjoyed swinging by after the work was done to see the new floors and say hello.
If you’re planning your own home renovation, post your project on Sweeten and feel free to use my letter as a starting point to keep your neighbors in the know!
Be sure to download a copy of our renovation checklist so you can stay organized and on track.
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