Monday, August 02, 2010

How close is the jackhammering to my apartment?

(Photo removed, but trust me, IT'S CLOSE)

Guys, I can't take it any more. The guy in the red shorts is jackhammering, and the photo is from inside my living room.

This has been going on for months. They start around 7am Monday through Saturday. It goes until around 5pm (I think they quit earlier on Saturday). The only day of peace is Sunday. Sundays have seriously become a holy day around here. They are glorious. Imagine, we used to have that kind of peace EVERY SINGLE DAY!! I can't imagine it anymore. Jackhammering is just part of it, but it seems to be a project where jackhammering is the biggest part of the job right now. There's also hammering, scraping, drilling/buzzing, you name it. Nothing can cover up the noise - not closing the windows (and baking in our hot apartment), not putting on white noise, not wearing noise-cancelling headphones, not cranking the music. I can only escape by going in the bathroom, closing the door, and running the fan in there. For whatever reason we have a really sturdy bathroom door. And it looks like it will be continuing for months, as the progress on the building, which is being completely gutted and renovated, is moving at a snail's pace.

On top of this, our road has been closed since we returned from the US in May and is intermittently another source of jackhammering and other construction noise. That's going to be another long-ass project.

Since we don't even know how much longer we'll be in Heidelberg - it could be anything from a couple of months to a couple of years - putting a lot of money into moving across town (and then having none left to move again right after) doesn't seem feasible. You know, unless we can get the construction company to pay for it. Oh, I'm sure our landlord would be thrilled at trying to find a new renter with all this shit going on.



  1. Try moving in across the street from a park full of drug dealers and drunks who go home at 4:30, 5, or 5:30... or as today, closer to 6am.

    Or take more photos of the hottie with the jack hammer....

    That last idea is just for me though...

  2. Oh wow, that sucks. Guess I should be glad that the upstairs neighbor's renovation project only involves a couple hours of jack hammering per week.

    I suggest you find a cozy nearby cafe (far enough away to be construction-noise-free) and make that into your new living room.

  3. Are there quiet times during the day that they have to conform to? Are they doing that?

    Are there noise ordinances w/r/t how loud the noise they can make can be?

  4. I will also ask on the "German Way" yahoo group discussion board. They are very good with practical questions.

  5. Oh, I am sorry. We lived next to a construction site for almost 2 years. (They put up an apartment complex next to our place.) There wasn't generally much jackahmmering, though. The noise so early on Saturdays was doubly awful. I have no suggestions other than going to the meiterverein. You might be able to get a Mietminderung.
    ps - saw the other day that the expansion you wrote about was voted down

  6. We have the same deal over here -- it's a fabulous alarm clock, that construction site, and I do so love the cement trucks that arrive exactly when my daughter lays down for her afternoon nap.

    Join the Mieterverein to find out your exact rights but if you rent, you're entitled to a rent reduction. Not that it'll help but maybe you can spend the extra dough on earplugs. You could also use it to get out of your lease early... just sayin'.

  7. Ooo.... Sorry to hear that. I hope they finish soon.

  8. Ah, that project. If it's the one i think it is, the company managing it hasn't even publicized yet when they'll be done. Despite already selling the flats.

    If you can't hold a conversation in your flat with open windows, you're entitled to a 25% rent reduction.

  9. Adam - if you dig construction guys, come on over. We have a table and chairs on the terrace where you can watch them all day - we're definitely not using them because of the noise!!

    Blopper - We're trying to find out from the building association (we don't attend meetings, the landlord does as he is the condo owner) if they know anything about any agreed noise hours. I thought normal Heidelberg quiet hours ended at 8am but I must be wrong about that. We're contacting the Mieterverein (we are members already) too and maybe they will know if there are noise ordinances. Still, not sure what could be done, if they have to jackhammer the building to do what they need to do, can it be made quieter?

    Thanks everybody for the info on compensation! We are definitely going to try to find out if we qualify (and if we can get it refunded from back when it started).

  10. I don't really see what you could do. If this happened here in the states you would have no recourse. Now if you had just moved into a building, and they were working in the same building, then I think you could demand a rend reduction. However this construction work has nothing to do with your landlord. So I see no reason why he or she should be held responsible. You will just have to bear with it. It's no different than if they decided to build a new building next door. You would just have to get used to the noise. I know, I have been there before!

  11. It's actually complicated in Germany - about every court has a different opinion on it. 2nd-instance court (Landgericht) verdicts usually result in higher compensations btw. A rather safe initial number would be in the region of 5-10%, which could be raised (backdated to start of construction) if the extreme Beeintr├Ąchtigung persists for longer than certain times (3 months, 6 months). Wouldn't do it without legal insurance though.

  12. I can strongly recommend earplugs.


    My favorites are Ohropax Wax Balls, ColorPlux, Ohropax Soft and Sonic Matrix Blue (in combination with noise-cancelling headphones.

  13. YIKES! I can't imagine anything more unpleasant than listening to jackhammering in the place-formerly-known-as-your-quiet-home.

  14. We dealt with jackhammering for about 6 months in our old place, but not as close as what you're coping with.

    Do you have noise cancelling headphones? They can somewhat drown out constant noises, while letting through intermittent sounds, like conversation.

  15. Write to your landlord demanding a reduction in the rent (Mietminderung). You should be entitled to one... he in turn will sue the contractors, or the owner of the property that's creating the noise, to recoup his loss.

    You should be entitled to a reduction of 5-20%. Pitch for 20% - 25% and see where you end up!


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