How to Record Upstairs Neighbor Stomping

Having an upstairs neighbor that stomps around their apartment at all hours can be incredibly disruptive and frustrating. The loud, jarring noises make it hard to relax, work, or sleep. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to document the stomping sounds coming from above and build your case for seeking relief.

Determine If It Qualifies As A Noise Nuisance

Before taking action, you’ll first want to check if the noise levels exceed local guidelines on what is considered excessive and a nuisance. Most municipal codes have limits on decibel levels, especially during overnight hours.

For example, Los Angeles County’s noise ordinance states that any persistent noise over 45 decibels from 10 pm to 7 am is prohibited. New York City forbids residential noise over 42 decibels during the night.

You can use a decibel meter app on your smartphone to take initial readings and see if the stomping is surpassing these decibel thresholds. Apps like Sound Meter and Decibel X provide free ways to measure sound. Consistently high readings will help confirm you’re dealing with a genuine noise issue.

Try Speaking With The Upstairs Neighbor First

Before going directly to recording, you may want to kindly bring up the stomping noises to your upstairs neighbor. Avoid angry demands or accusations. Frame it in a constructive way – that you want to work together to find a solution so you can comfortably co-exist.

Suggest putting down area rugs or taking off hard-sole shoes when at home. If they are receptive and make an effort to adjust their walking habits, the problem may be resolved amicably without needing formal complaints or further documentation.

However, if they are uncooperative or deny making excessive noise, move forward with recording as a next step.

Purchase a Decibel Meter

To obtain accurate noise measurements, invest in a reliable decibel meter. They range from $30 for basic sound level meters up to $100 or more for professional-grade devices. Consider models from Galaxy Audio, Tacklife, and Extech.

Having concrete decibel data will give your claim solid backing compared to relying just on anecdotes about the bothersome noises. Take readings at different times of day to determine when peak noise levels occur.

For instance, you may find the early morning hours of 2 am to 5 am produce the highest decibel spikes as they stomp around getting ready for work. Possessing quantitative proof strengthens your position when asking your landlord or authorities to intervene.

Here is a table comparing some top-rated decibel meters priced under $100:

| Device | Price | Rating | Key Features |
| Galaxy Audio CM-130 | $35 | 4.6 / 5 | 30-130 db range, battery powered, digital display |
| Tacklife BMC04B | $45 | 4.4 / 5 | 30-130 db range, MAX/MIN mode, data hold |
| Extech 407730 | $90 | 4.7 / 5 | 30-130 db range, octave band filter, PC interface |

Choose an Audio Recording Device

In addition to decibel readings, having audio recordings of the actual stomping noises will bolster your case. There are several recording options to consider:

Voice Recorders

Small voice recorders are an affordable way to capture stomping sounds. Models under $50 like Sony’s ICD-PX470 provide up to 576 hours of battery life and allow you to save recordings as MP3 files.


Most smartphones have built-in voice recorder apps that can document noise disturbances. The downside is you must keep your phone stationary to record.

Home Security Cameras

WiFi home cameras like Nest Cam or Ring Stick Up Cam ($100 – $200) enable remote 24/7 audio recording. Their motion detection features automatically start recording when noises occur.

Evaluate each option based on your budget and how adept you are with technology. Test potential placements around your ceiling to determine which spots best detect the stomping.

Select Locations to Place Recording Device

Strategically placing the audio recording device is key to producing clear documentation.

Experiment with locations on your ceiling, ideally in an upstairs room directly below the noisy neighbor’s floor. This provides the closest vantage point.

Stabilize the recorder so it does not move or vibrate. This avoids distortion. Some options are mounting it or weighing it down with books.

Adjusting settings like record volume and microphone sensitivity may help isolate the stomping sounds and reduce peripheral noise. Taking time to test different set-ups will pay off in quality recordings.

Record During Common Stomping Times

To accumulate useful evidence, focus your recording efforts during time frames when the stomping frequently happens and is most disruptive.

If the upstairs neighbor tends to stomp around in the early mornings, be sure to record during those hours. Capture stomping on both weekdays and weekends to demonstrate an ongoing pattern.

Obtain recordings over an extended timeframe – at least several weeks to a month. This establishes that the excessive noise is recurring, not just a one-off incident.

Analyze and Save Your Recordings

Once you have stomping recordings, use audio software to analyze the extent of the noise. Apps like Audacity let you view decibel levels over time and isolate the spikes coinciding with loud footsteps.

Save copies of the recordings in multiple places like external hard drives and cloud storage. Keep the original recordings intact without edits. Having redundant backups prevents losing this key evidence.

Contact Your Landlord or Property Manager

Armed with documentation of consistent stomping noises above legal limits, formally contact your landlord, property manager, or homeowners association.

Cite relevant noise ordinances and laws when submitting recordings. For example, California state law requires landlords to address noise complaints from tenants.

If they refuse to warn or evict the noisy upstairs tenant, consult an attorney about taking your landlord to small claims court for failing to provide the peaceful residence guaranteed in your lease.

With diligent recording and measurement of excessive stomping noises, you can compel action to be taken to restore your right to a tranquil home. Just be sure to document the disturbances consistently over time before pursuing legal remedies. Let me know if you would like me to expand on any part of the process further!

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