Noisy neighbor resulting in serious lack of sleep: what to do?

I live on the top floor of an apartment block next to a mountain in New Taipei City. I’m sure others in the area appreciate you constantly have to deal with some level of noise due to how crowded New Taipei is and the unavoidable proximity of one’s neighbors.

However, I have one neighbor who lives in the first floor that wakes me up at between 5 and 6 a.m. almost every day no fail. The guy seems to have some kind of enormous scooter modded so that the engine makes rip-roaring sounds whenever it’s started up. This fact would be (barely) tolerable if he simply got on his scooter and made his way to work a 6 a.m. each morning, but prior to setting off, he seems to be “warming up the engine” for roughly 15-20 minutes, which gives off a noise that jolts me awake, even with all windows closed and earplugs in.

After deciding enough was enough about a month ago, I went downstairs as soon as I heard the noise and my boyfriend helped me communicate with the guy, offering up solutions to the problem (such as wheeling the scooter out of our compound before starting the engine) but the guy was extremely uncooperative. As my boyfriend (extremely politely) asked him if there was a way to reduce the sound, he didn’t even look up and acknowledge us, eventually simply saying “I have to go to work, nothing I can do.”

We went to the landlord to complain about the neighbor, who told us he’d has clashes with other neighbors about other issues in the past, and seemed to be a very difficult/indignant person. The landlord said he would talk to the neighbor, which it appears he did do, as the next day, a box of eggrolls previously gifted by the landlord to all tenents in our building appeared on my doorstep. It seemed to have come from our first-floor neighbor.

However, the noises didn’t stop. The landlord said no other neighbor has complained about the issues, but I think this is because they’re old and Taiwanese, so either: are not as bothered by the sound/wake up before 5:30 a.m. each day/don’t want to cause conflict. I’ve carried on living like a zombie since I can’t afford to move out right now, and I’m a light sleeper.

TLDR: A neighbor’s ridiculously noisy scooter wakes me up between 5 and 6 a.m. every day as he revs the engine for 20 minutes, and earplugs don’t solve the issue.

What should I do next? Bare in mind, I’m a little scared that my neighbor is kinda crazy.

So, getting up between 5 or 6 is good for you.

You are far more productive in the early hours when everyone else is at sleep and you can really concentrate on your thing.

But, does he wake you up in the weekends as well? I at least kind of hate getting up before 6 in the weekends

Classic. did you check the expiration date :rofl:

There’s not much you can do for assholes like this. Maybe you could try going a step up and calling your neighborhood warden, see if they can do anything about it.

1 Like

You can absolutely call the police. It may be better to go to your local precinct and explain the situation thoroughly. If the scooter has a modified exhaust, that’s illegal. I believe running the scooter parked for a certain amount of time is a violation as well, and finally there are noise ordinances if the volume is actually too loud in your apartment.

I would 100% involve the police here, especially since you already tried the friendly way and it didn’t work.


I’m getting schadenfreude already. :smiling_imp:

1 Like

Yep, Saturdays and Sundays too! Unfortunately, drinking copious amounts the night before doesn’t help stop me from waking up either.

Thank you so much for this information! I will do just that.

I just read the TL; DR, but my suggestion (if he won’t change his routine or scooter) would be get a white noise machine.

Police won’t do anything and going to them will probably make him angry. He might retaliate. I know you said you can’t afford to move, but I would start saving now

He revs up his scooter for 20 mins every morning? That’s so unnecessary lol. I would just keep bothering the landlord about it, maybe take a video to show how loud it is for proof, sucks dude



It depends. In general, the police won’t give a rat’s ass, but you will occasionally find someone who realises that this sort thing is an actual problem and that the law (theoretically) is there to stop it happening.

OTOH, as I understand it, you would have to bring a private prosecution. The police don’t have the power to actually initiate one in these cases.

I don’t buy the Taiwanese approach of ‘keep your head down because you might make someone angry, and then it’ll get worse’. This is valid reasoning in backward countries where the law doesn’t work at all and the crooks can quite literally get away with murder, but it’s been a while since Taiwan was like that. However you might need to be prepared for a confrontation. If you and/or your BF aren’t capable of going full retard on the guy if he kicks off (which he might) then the police option might backfire. Arguments in Taiwan are usually resolved on the basis of whoever can shout the loudest and make the most hyperbolic threats.

I could mention sodium silicate, but that might violate forum rules, so I won’t.


Fight fire with fire!

The Taiwanese approach would be to cut the sparkplug lead or stuff a banana up the offending exhaust thereby notifying the neighbour there is an issue with his noise without actually having to talk to him. Perhaps slash his seat while they’re at in in case he thought the banana was an accident.


This is a common accidental occurrence, is it? :slight_smile:

I agree that speaking politely to assholes rarely works. But if you can’t out-asshole the asshole, your options are limited.

Guy above us routinely renovates between 12-4am, (yes am). Mallets, dropping screwdrivers on the floor, packets of screws (one of my favourite sounds), even power tools going, gets right into it.

I hope this goes some way to making you understand it could be worse for you. Go to bed earlier until you can get out of your lease, but be careful with your next move, it could be worse… much worse. In all seriousness, the Li zhang or police are not going to help you, he is going to work after all. You would be wasting your time.

1 Like

I get into confrontations at Costco constantly. When someone takes a parking spot that I’ve clearly been waiting for, or when someone is cutting in line while I’m waiting at the checkout.

Your post is 100% correct. Whoever screams the loudest and seems the most threatening always wins.

The assault laws are strange here, so even if some dude starts shit with you, you can’t deck him. The name of the game in Taiwan is to act schizo and recreate the scene in ‘fight club’ where Edward Norton kicks the shit out of himself. Whoever gets the most hurt, wins in Taiwan.

96% of the time if you just give mean glare and a step, people will fuck right off.

Don’t let old people here say shit to you OP. Situations can be resolved with words when dealing with Taiwanese under 30-35, but older Taiwanese (especially men) you have to kick up some serious shit to take care of business.

I used to work for a tai-ke construction/concrete company in the countryside, so my views in certain issues maybe be a little different to the average expat living in Taipei.

1 Like

Go to 0:18

I give them shit, but then on the road the unavoidable baseball bat shows up sometimes or they start calling the whole team of friends, on their own they are to much of a coward.