Children's noise: what the law says.

Children's noise in apartments: what's allowed? What are the consequences?

Football on Sunday mornings or a crying baby at night: noisy children can make for bad blood. What does Swiss tenancy law say, and what do you as a parent or affected party need to know? Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Children’s noise and tenancy law: 6 key FAQs

Laundry schedules, shoes outside front doors or noise made by children: living together in a multi-family house requires consideration and tolerance. It is easy to get annoyed when children make loud noises both in- and outdoors. In fact, noisy children and playgrounds are the cause of every third dispute with neighbours, according to a survey by “Verein Nachbarschaftsmediation”. In these situations, there are some things that are good to know: 

1. Do I have to tolerate children’s noise in the building or outside?  

Nobody in Switzerland has a right to a complete silence. In general, you have to accept children making noise in the apartment next door or on the playground. A child is allowed to play, cry, have a birthday party or practice an instrument – the latter for a maximum of three hours each day, provided that no other rules are set out in the rental contract or house rules. However, quiet hours should be respected if possible. The quiet hours are listed in the house rules and are usually around midday and from 10 pm to 6 or 7 am. During this time, other tenants can request that parents make sure their children are not making too much noise while playing.

2. How much noise are children allowed to make on a playground?

Children are allowed to play and make as much noise as they like on public or private playgrounds outside of quiet hours, even if this lasts for several hours. The Federal Supreme Court confirmed this in a ruling made in 2005: “A playground offers children the chance to meet outside to play, which often involves noise.” However, this does not apply to teenagers who meet at a playground in the evening to drink beer while playing loud music. In this case, the police can issue a warning for causing a noise complaint after 10 pm. 

3. Do you have anything to worry about if your baby cries at night? 

A crying baby also requires tolerance from neighbours. In most cases, parents have no way to stop their baby screaming at night. The other residents of the building simply have to put up with the situation temporarily. Please note: if your tenancy agreement contains a clause stating that your rental contract will be cancelled if you are expecting a baby, then you can simply ignore it. This clause violates personal rights and is not valid. 


Legal protection insurance

Legal support and advice for you as a tenant.

4. What should I do if the noise my children make is disturbing others?

There is no limit to the volume or length of the noise children are allowed to make. So you are unlikely to face legal problems. Of course, complaints and disputes in your building can still cost you a lot of energy. Take complaints seriously, try to talk to your neighbours and be prepared to compromise. If that does not help, then mediation can help you to find a solution. 

5. What should I do if I am bothered by loud children in my building?

Breathe deeply and don’t get so annoyed that you start a dispute or make threats. The law does not prohibit children from making noise. Try and talk to the family in question: explain plainly and specifically what is bothering you. Many problems can be solved in this way. Both sides should focus on setting out rules for the future. Only complain to building management if the noise has become so loud that you can no longer stand it, or if both sides of the dispute have dug in.

6. Can a family’s tenancy agreement be cancelled because their children are noisy?

If your tenancy agreement is cancelled due to children’s noise, you can lodge an appeal. This can be done within 30 days after receipt of the cancellation by contacting the responsible arbitration authority. Your landlord must prove, among other things, that you have violated your duty to be considerate, and provide you with a written warning in advance. The arbitration authority will then check if the cancellation is justified. Normally, however, they will start by attempting to negotiate an agreement between both parties.

Suitable insurance products