Rocking, Stomping And Rattling In Unit 16

by admin on June 16, 2011

Allow me to preface this tale with a bit of back story, if you will. I’m 23, physically disabled, and live with my parents (of whom my mother is also physically disabled), and our current living conditions were selected with both my mother’s and my disabilities in mind. Unfortunately…those very same living conditions have ended up being hell!

The three of us moved from Colorado just under a year ago, when my father, after being unemployed for two years, found a job with IBM in Iowa. The place we’re currently living in is a two-bedroom apartment on the ground floor – the building, so you can visualize this, has three floors with two apartments each (this building is units 13-18) – we’re in unit 14 which is the very first one straight in from the front door, next door to us in unit 13 are the lovely older couple J&J, directly above us is unit 16 where a man, his wife and two young children live, next to them in unit 15 were a younger couple, B and W, and directly above them is unit 18 where D and T, friends of mine who recently moved in, are living with D’s new baby. (Unit 17 is vacant, and has been since a few months after we moved in – thank goodness, the two living there were constantly in domestic disputes that almost led to the whole building calling the police!) This building is very new – so new, in fact, that it was only just completed before we moved in and we were only the second tenants to move in, and they’re still putting up new buildings on the lot next door. Great, we thought, brand-new building, stated to be up to American Disability Association standards, soundproofed between every unit so there won’t be noise problems…

Okay. Back up a step. Look at that last sentence again. Namely, “soundproofed between every unit”.

Oh, there’s soundproofing all right…between horizontally adjacent units only! There is absolutely nothing between vertically adjacent units, which is the huge problem. The family in unit 16 aren’t so bad when you take into account they have two young children, I suppose, but those children…oy vey! They’re three and six years old, I believe, and their very favorite pasttime seems to be lead footing it around their apartment at all hours, day or night, seven days a week. This family moved in shortly after we did, and it was apparent from the very outset that there was going to be a gigantic noise problem, which was in fact acknowledged by the parents (well – the father – we have yet to ever see the mother!) a few days later; my mum and I encountered the father (who I will call F, not knowing his name) and the youngest child in the hallway, going up the stairs to their apartment, and F asked us with an exaggerated show of great concern if his children had been bothering us with all their running around and shrieking. Yes, in fact, they had, and Mum politely said as much, to which F smiled, uttered the most insincere “Sorry” I have ever heard out of a human mouth, and pointed at the child he was carrying up the stairs in explanation before beating feet back up to the apartment quick as a wink! I can’t help but wonder if that encounter is what opened this large can of worms, but I stand in full agreement of Mum’s decision to politely but firmly inform F that yes, his children WERE being a problem for us. One of the things you have to take into mind when you live in an apartment building is that there will likely be neighbors above, beneath and beside you, and do your best NOT to bother said neighbors – or am I just crazy for thinking that?

Since then – that was about two weeks after we moved in, I think, and if you’ll recall, we’ve been here very nearly a year – the problem has only gotten worse. F does nothing to corral his children and won’t even take them outside to work off the surplus of energy they constantly have (the entire family, apart from the mother – I’d almost think she doesn’t exist if not for the fact she’s been taking care of the children while the father is at work – has bikes; these bikes have taken up permanent residence in the front hallway and have only moved perhaps once or twice in an entire year, which cuts the hallway size down by more than half – how are you supposed to get a wheelchair past that?), and the end result is often that we bear the brunt of this energy being worked off by way of the loudest stomping, banging, shrieking and crying imaginable. During the daytime we can understand it and don’t really mind it so much – kids will be kids after all, the older one’s in school during the week so she’s not adding to the problem, and the mother seems to be physically unable to take them outside and keep an eye on them while they perform their wild and crazy antics in the parking lot – but in the evening, with both parents home, and stretching on into the night, and even into hours that one should never see outside of college or a sleep disorder, it gets to be extremely annoying and fatiguing. (As the resident insomniac, I’ve heard these children stomping and shrieking well up to four or five AM – when do they get any sleep??) Speaking to F has done no good, the mother won’t get involved, noise-canceling headphones can’t even hope to drown it out, and even complaints given to the landlady by B and W before they moved (because of those children – even with the soundproofing between their units, everything was clearly audible!) were of absolutely no use. The family of unit 16 “owns” the building and they are not giving up their figurative claim.

Again, I understand that kids will be kids, and the poor things get no other chance to run around but in the apartment, but this is ridiculous. Their elephantine galumphing literally vibrates our apartment; we can’t so much as hang a single thing on the walls because they’ll knock it down. They’ve utterly destroyed at least parts of unit 16; when you step outside and look up at their window blinds, they are now bent, broken, and in some places nearly nonexistent, and maintenance has been in repeatedly for broken (not blocked – BROKEN!) bathtubs and toilets, which I’m sure is partly due to the children’s unshakable tendency to drop the toilet lids so hard you can hear them hit from outside the building. They’ve also destroyed parts of the main building itself – the front door was broken for several months after we moved in because F and the children would literally slam their way in and out and damaged the closing mechanism beyond repair (it’s since been replaced with a more robust one that unfortunately makes more noise, and they have not yet learned it might be nice to close the door gently instead of just letting it close with a WHAM that shakes the building) and the railing on the staircase has more than once been loosened by the youngest child banging on and shaking it. And in the past four months, they’ve also gotten so loud that D and T – in the unit ABOVE them – can hear every bit of it as well, and they’ve even started disturbing J&J next door, who need peace and quiet due to J-the-husband’s medical condition! (D and I have joked around about buying a pair of tap-dancing shoes each and taking up dance lessons on her kitchen floor, and T – who may well be one of the most doormat-ish and agreeable people I’ve ever known – was fully on board with this plan! Naturally, we never went through with it, but it still makes us grin…) No one is quite sure what to do about them, as complaining doesn’t work, talking to them doesn’t work, being equally rude with the noise is just horribly impolite (and the place turned out to be fragile enough it would probably cost anyone who tried it their security deposit…)

Thankfully, my family has found a positively perfect house and we’re moving into it in about a week.

Unfortunately, I think F has taken our very obvious pending move, and the fact that I’m currently alone in the apartment as my parents are back in Colorado packing up the house we’re going to sell there, as an opportunity to encourage his children to go all out with their antics, and to go all out with his own.

The noise is no longer intermittent. It’s constant. They’ve started playing very crude and inappropriate music at all hours, loud enough that everyone in the building can make out the lyrics. Someone, possibly the mother (hmm – might have to rethink that she won’t get involved), will take out the vacuum, turn it on and simply leave it in one place for hours. Water has cascaded right down the inside of my bedroom wall more times than I can count in the past few months. F has taken to smoking extremely pungent and foul cigarettes in the hallway of our very obviously NON-smoking building, setting off every smoke alarm in the entire building. Toilet lids slam several times in a row – I can only assume the children are making a game of repeatedly picking them up and dropping them. The front door is constantly being slammed by F as he makes his way in and out, in and out, in and out, doing absolutely nothing but abusing the door. The younger child runs out into the hallway and shrieks and cries like she’s being beaten. (She’s not – I’ve taken to cracking the door open and peering out when I hear it just to make sure!) The older one screams with great glee out the open living room window whenever someone dares venture out on the decks below. And today, I don’t know exactly what it was they were doing, but they rattled my room hard enough to KNOCK OVER several standing objects, including my bookcase (cheap and not too stable, admittedly) and my computer monitor.

At that point, I’d had enough. I was at my wits’ end from listening to this constant cacophony, and on the verge of being horribly sick from a devastating migraine. And I was finally willing to test out exactly how fragile the walls and ceilings in this building really are.

I fetched the broom, and the next time there came a burst of noise, I delivered several very sharp, very LOUD raps to the ceiling directly beneath those stomping, shrieking hellbeasts.

A moment more of thumping, then suddenly – blessed silence – and if they do it again, well, I’m keeping the broom close at hand!

I hate retaliating in kind, and if this casts me into Etiquette Hell, so be it – but what else was supposed to be done? The family won’t listen, the landlady won’t listen, the property owner won’t listen, and everyone in a position to care seems blissfully oblivious that the hellions of unit 16 are forcing all the other tenants to find other lodgings. Thank goodness it’s only a week till we’re out of here…     0614-11

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Bint June 16, 2011 at 6:54 am

Banging on a broom in a British tenement is a pretty normal way of letting your neighbours know they’re too loud. I lived in them for years and we all did it without anyone taking offence (and it was obeyed). After that we could call the police or the council if the nouse was too bad – again, have done it on houses across the street.

So I don’t cast you into Ehell. I think you’ve put up with way too much and have done nothing wrong. Thank goodness you’re leaving. I will cast myself into Ehell for hoping that the next tenant in your apartment is a 6’5″ bouncer with a karate blackbelt. The nastiest thing about this story is the fact that Father would definitely have controlled his children when asked by the bouncer, but clearly thinks disabled people are no threat to him. Yuck.

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karma June 16, 2011 at 7:17 am

I had sympathy at first, but either you’ve gone slightly kooky, or you’ve unknowingly invested waaaaay too much time in documenting this family’s noises. I know folks can be inconsiderate in apartment homes (no doubt there), but I think you might need to get a hobby.

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Powers June 16, 2011 at 7:34 am

Good heavens, have you tried the police?

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Clair Seulement June 16, 2011 at 8:13 am

I feel your pain, OP. I’ve been in a similar situation. I’m glad to hear you’re able to move–just think of it this way, your life will only be miserable until you leave these neighbors, but the neighbors’ lives, characterized as they are by crassness and a bizarre mission to torture others, will be that miserable forever. I feel bad for the other tenants but seriously–if apt. 16′s family owns the building, they’ll be out a lot of income if all of the other tenants vacate owing to this behavior!

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Sabrina June 16, 2011 at 8:43 am

Oh my!! I would have called the cops ages ago, especially if the kids are up all hours of the night stomping around. A couple months ago I had to call the cops 3 times in one night on people who live up across the road from us. They were partying and had a drummer and a DJ there. Quiet time is after 11pm around here. I ended up giving a statement to the police at 3:30am so they could press charges. They’ve been quiet over there since then.

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LovleAnjel June 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

First, those seem to be exceptionally rude people (I have had paper-thin walls with neighbors like that). Why did it take so long for someone to bang on the ceiling/wall? That’s standard for everywhere I’ve ever lived. Does someone go speak to them at the time they are making the noise, or are they complaining at a different time? Immediate complaints may be treated differently than catching them at a non-noisy time. And if you hear a child screaming as if they are being beaten, go ahead and call the police to report possible abuse. That might help get a message across to the parents.

I have a hard time believing that the landlord is not bothered by all the physical damage they are doing. Perhaps they are treating it as a test run of building materials, and adjusting the construction of the second building with that in mind.

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beckstar June 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

The OP has been a victim of some terribly selfish neighbours. Please, please don’t feel bad about banging the ceiling with a broom – it was a perfectly acceptable course of action in the circumstances and the ‘internationally recognised’ sign for ‘shut up!’

Parents who fail to control their children is a major gripe of mine, and while I’d never expect children to be completely ‘seen and not heard’, they should be controlled and been made to act in a reasonable manner at all times. In this instance there was major parenting fail. And I do rather agree with Bint above that the Father probably didn’t think the OP and family posed any threat because of their physical disability. That is an unforgivable attitude towards disabled people.

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Jillybean June 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

This story makes me grateful that my neighbors are all relatively quiet. My building has 6 units, 2 on each floor. We are in a middle unit. Old building – no sound proofing that I know of. But overall, it’s never a problem. I had a friend who dealt with a similar issue at her “sound proof” condo – apparently the between floors soundproofing isn’t standard. She could have paid thousands of dollars to add it, but it wouldn’t have necessarily solved the problem. Crazy.

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Just Laura June 16, 2011 at 8:56 am

Did I miss where you called the police? Because if you didn’t, you should have done so; most municipalities have noise ordinances (usually taking place after 10:00pm on weekdays, but yours could be different). I have called the police on noisy upstairs neighbors before (throwing a raucous party at 3:30am on a Tuesday was grounds for police intervention, in my opinion). The police showed up within 20 minutes, and the party came to an abupt end. No, I don’t think the broom will put you in eHell. I’ve heard that’s pretty common.

American Disability Association

It’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A little surprised you didn’t know that, but could be helpful in the future.

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Tiffany June 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

My complete sympathies for everything you’ve had to put up with. Has anyone in the building actually called the police? I had a similar problem in my old building. It sounded like they were picking up furniture and dropping it, or dragging it at all hours. I let it go because I knew I wasn’t always the quietest neighbour (I was a competitive singer at the time…yeah, sorry all my former neighbours), but one evening, along with the furniture noises, it sounded like the people in the apartment above were having a very loud fight, and I became genuinely worried that someone was getting beaten up. I called the police, and they sent a pair of officers over. They didn’t come back to tell me what they found up there, obviously that’s not my business, but I heard them pass by my apartment as they left, and they were laughing and joking with each other. I presumed that meant they didn’t find anything amiss. Good!

But after that, I never heard a peep from those people upstairs.

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Wendy June 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

I can’t blame you for your feelings or reactions! I’m not sure I would have put up with it for a year.

I think you and the other tenants have cause for legal action here. Find your lease agreement and read over it…I’ve never rented myself, but I’m some agreements provide for reasonable peace and quiet from other tenants. If the landlord is (obviously) unwilling to do anything about them, your family and the other tenants jointly need to hire a lawyer. Even though you’re moving out, you probably still have a case since they’ve made it impossible for you to live there and have adversely affected your health.

You all need to document EVERYTHING and make recordings too. Best wishes to all of you!

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josie June 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

Some people are just total 100% jerks and you got blessed with one for a neighbor. Hope you enjoy your new home.

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PattyAnne June 16, 2011 at 9:42 am

Stories like this make me glad I own my home. And when we did rent, we never ran into this. What horrible people these are!! I agree with other posters…why did it take so long to grab a broom? Why didn’t you call the police?

Enjoy your new home!!

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DGS June 16, 2011 at 9:44 am

I second what everyone else has said – call the police. They are used to responding to noise complaints, and having exhausted all other avenues of reasonable behavior and attempts to regulate the cacophony, you are perfectly in your right to contact the authorities. The family seems rude, crude, and intolerant, and also completely insensitive to a family with physical disabilities, and I pity the owners of the building who are quite likely going to lose all their tenants. I wish you peace and quiet in your new home!

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gramma dishes June 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

Since the mother never seemed to materialize either indoors or out, I can’t help but wonder whether or not she may have had some sort of disability herself. Not necessarily a physical one, but (for example) she might have been an alcoholic or taking some sort of illegal or prescribed drugs that allowed her to just be oblivious to whatever was going on with her children.

I too would have called the police if I had gotten no response from the landlord. These living conditions could be overlooked if they only happened occasionally. But all day (and night) every single day? No way!

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--E June 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

Neighbors like this are why I won’t own a gun. I’d be too tempted to use it.

I’ve lived underneath a family whose teenage sons fought, with accompanying screaming at each other. I’ve lived underneath a guy who apparently didn’t realize he suffered hearing loss at a young age. (If I can identify the movie, then your TV is too loud.) And now I live above a family where the three-year-old is the least of my noise issues–it’s the loud talking friend who visits at 11pm, and the father who is from the Frankenstein school of walking. (How can my apartment shake so much from the folks downstairs?)

I’ve been wanting to buy a house, and people ask me why I’m so dead set on a freestanding house, not a row house or twin/semidetached. Stories like this are exactly why.

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LilyG June 16, 2011 at 9:58 am

You are a saint!

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Wink-n-Smile June 16, 2011 at 10:00 am

Why not call the police? There are ordinances.

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many bells down June 16, 2011 at 10:12 am

Water is running DOWN YOUR WALL? Um, that’s a good way to fill the building with toxic mold very quickly. You need to document that to the landlord in writing every time it happens, or you might end up getting hit with a huge cleaning bill when you move out.

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Hemi Halliwell June 16, 2011 at 10:21 am

Definitely need some police intervention here. Sorry you had to deal with it so long. Congratualtions and best wishes on your new home!

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AS June 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

OP, first of all, my sympathies for you and everyone else in the apartment complex. I don’t think you deserve any place in e-hell for knocking your broomstick at their apartment.
Apartment complexes can be a pain sometimes. I know a friend of mine, whose neighbor’s children do crazy things to them (vandalize the car, throw bad things at their house, etc). The mother doesn’t want to be bothered by neighbours complaining about her kits; the apartment’s landlords don’t want to get involved, and the police needs proof that it is the kids doing it (they have seen the kids do it, but didn’t have a video camera handy; where would they get the proof from?). The police has given the family several warnings, but without proof, they can do nothing.
I don’t know how much police can help (I have lost my faith in the legal systems of the world because of several things that happened). But it might be good if you can hire a lawyer, and try to sue this family. Though it is so much stress that I often don’t know if it is worth it.

BTW, is there any way you can call some children’s help bureau? Because, these children are surely not getting any good lessons from their parents, and they’ll end up being the abominable citizens of this world.

Reminds me of the story from a while ago. When I was in college, I used to live in a condo with my parents. Six out of the eight families living there owned their condos and two were tenants with the owners living elsewhere. Once, a new tenant came into one of the condos, and they turned out to be the architects of hell! This family had 2 cars, and our apartment had no parking spots, but we had to park in the long driveways at the front and back of the building (this is in place where owning cars is not too common as the public transport is wonderful). We usually had agreed well with the other apartment members about how to park the cars – until the new tenants came in. They wanted the best spots for both their cars. This meant that my parent’s car, which was used less than the other cars, had to be squeezed to the end even if we need to use it (and they’d often not move their car if we request them to so that we could take our car out to go somewhere). I was living away from home for my college, and hence I didn’t know what usually went on with the car. But every time I came home, this family, and another man (who is one of the owners and I knew him for a long time; but he took the new tenant’s side) would yell at me for things I didn’t know about. Yell meaning- really yell at the top of their voices saying I have done something horrible that I am not supposed to have done. I still have no idea what it was, but it was something to do with where my parents parked the car after discussing with everyone in the apartment. My parents are not a push over – they are cognizant and polite, but don’t take nonsense from people; and probably these people could not yell at my parents, and hence took it out on me. After my parents heard what happened, my mother went to the other man’s house, knocked at his door, called him out to the landing, and politely but very sternly told him that he is not allowed to behave that way with her daughter. BTW, this man’s wife (who knew me for my childhood, and loved me like a family) still behaved with me just the way she always used to.

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Meghan June 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

When I lived in an old brownstone, our upstairs neighbors (two guys in their 20s) were incredibly loud. One was a really heavy walker, but sometimes we would hear thumping and crashing that was way louder than just walking. It got to the point that it seemed like every night we would hear them running and crashing down the hall. We asked, politely, when we saw them in the hall to try to keep it down, but to no avail. Finally, my roommate had it. She went upstairs, and, in total deadpan, said to the guy who opened the door, “Is everyone OK up here? Do you need me to call someone? Are you injured? Is someone bleeding? Because it sounds like there has been some kind of incident up here, and I can only assume you are being attacked in some way.” Turns out the guys had regular wrestling matches that went the length of the apartment. We told them we could hear everything, and it was ridiculously loud, and to knock it off. The wrestling did seem to stop after that, though they were still really loud.

In this story, I have to wonder why the police weren’t called, especially if the noise was in the middle of the night. I have called the police when a neighbor was having a knock-down, drag-out screaming fight with her boyfriend at 2:30 on a Monday morning. We honestly couldn’t tell whether someone was getting beat up or not, so police were necessary, but I would definitely have called in this situation, even without a concern of violence.

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Ashley June 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

I would have set up a video camera so people could see that I wasn’t making the noise, and just recorded a day’s worth of it, and given copies of the tape to both the landlady and the police. Surely there must be something the police could have done if it was damaging property in YOUR apartment.

I live in an upper unit with my fiance. During the week, the most noise you will hear from us is our TVs and even then we keep it at a reasonable volume. On the weekends, once again, we try to keep it reasonable. Our neighbors across the hall however. Three kids who are basically allowed to run rampant wherever they please. Doors get propped open for them so they can run in and out of the building when they want. On the off chance one of those doors gets shut (Did I mention they are doors that are required to be shut at all times unless you are using your key to get in, per fire codes?) They stand outside and yell up at the window till their mother buzzes them in. Two of the kids are not old enough to read so on the off chance the kids decide to use the door buzzer, they don’t always hit the right one, thus scaring the bejesus out of me quite frequently. I’m across the hall, so thankfully if they are screeching IN the apartment, I don’t hear them as much. I can only imagine what it sounds like in the unit below them and next door to them

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Princess Buttercup June 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

It amazes me how few people understand communal living. What is so complicated about; you don’t want to be harassed so don’t be harassing?
We lived two years with an apartment above us and two years with an apartment below us. We had elephant dogs, kids with parents that didn’t care enough to teach them right above us and misbehaving teens and partiers that smoked the cheapest, foulest cigarettes ever. (We got the teen blaring music pretty good one day though. He always blared music every time his mom left him home alone and after getting in trouble with the apartment office multiple times, one day my husband listened to the music he was blaring, found which radio station it was and used his transmitter to break into the radio wavelength and say, “You’re music is far too loud, turn it down” till the kid freaked out, turned it down and never did it again.)

I also don’t understand why when it’s kids misbehaving like that everyone just says, well, that’s kids, can’t do anything. Yes you can, if you don’t you are doing a huge disservice to the kids and their growth. The kids we had upstairs would race through the house and jump off things creating a bang that sounded like explosions.
Still if I were you I’d have reported to the apartment office each time they were up late being a public nuisance , especially if the complex had a quiet time. and if nothing was done then call the cops everytime they are loud past midnight (that is more then late enough).

The bikes are (in most areas) a violation of fire codes and can cause fines for EVER being left there. That should have been reported also.

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Serenity June 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

Hi. I am a long time reader, but first time poster. While I feel bad for the OP and her family, I think they should have reported the problems rather than silently stewing about it. OP mentions that former neighbors B and W complained to the landlady, but never mentions once her parents or her complaining to an authority figure. I understand how irritating it would be to live below those people, but wonder why OP and her family would live like that for a year without complaining.

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Lola June 16, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Knocking a few times on a ceiling when the neighbors get loud is not retaliation – it’s communication. You’re making them aware there’s a noise problem at this time.

At the same time, I think you’re wrong in making the neighbors and their children solely responsible for the issue. It appears the structural unsoundness of the apt building itself is a huge contributing factor. By your own admission, there’s no soundproofing among vertically adjacent units, the building construction itself is fragile, and the fixtures are not attached securely – which is not this family’s fault. Inaproppriate noise (too many decibels, or at designated quiet hours, etc.) should be dealt with by apt management – if the managers were made aware and did nothing, again – it’s their fault, not the tenants’. For all we know, the tenants may not have even been contacted by the management.

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Elsewhere June 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Well, my ex-neighbor in the adjacent apartment wasn’t noisy… the building is laid out that our long living room wall, where the sofa is, abuts the rear wall of the bedroom closet of the next unit. That closet has a pair of sliding doors and most tenants use their closet for storage of all sorts of stuff besides clothes because it’s quite spacious.

The ex-neighbor stopped paying rent at some point and eviction proceedings started, but before the eviction was finalized she abandoned the apartment and all her belongings.

When the clean-up crew entered the unit and started to clean out the bedroom closet (the one whose back wall abuts our living room, right where our sofa is located) they found her hand grenade.

A live hand grenade. With the spin still in it, yes, but live.

Bomb squad. Police. Evacuation. The whole nine yards. All those years I was laying on the couch, I was resting about six feet away from a live hand grenade.

But like I said, we never heard a sound. Noise-wise, she was a model tenant.

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Maitri June 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Call the cops.

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A.J. June 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

That’s terrible. And for everyone saying “call the police,” sometimes that only escalates the problem. I had a friend whose noisy neighbor was allowing their son to throw wild parties into the wee hours in their garage – which was right next to my friend’s house. Her husband mentioned something to the neighbor about having young kids, can you keep the noise down and the neighbor blew him off. They finally called the police one night and the neighbor began to harass them – blowing car horns right by their bedroom window at all hours, egging cars, etc. It only ended when the neighbor moved away.

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Sarah June 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

This sounds like a time to take out the video camera, or digital camera with recording feature, and start recording the volume of noise, the shaking/rattling of your apartment, etc. Then call the police. If they aren’t able to observe the volume of noise, show them your recording.

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Celeste June 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Our lease agreement in for our apartments gives you a certain number of times the police can be called for noise (three or less im sure) before you are evicted. Of course when we moved in we spoke to our neighbors and we all agreed that if any of us are too loud to just please let us know and we would stop right away..and luckily for us we have had no problems. But if I were in your situation I would be taking advantage of the rule for sure!! Its shocking that they would be so inconsiderate!

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Angel June 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I had neighbors who repeatedly played music so loud that it shook our walls. Knocking on the wall had no effect. I went over several times to ask them to turn it down, and the woman would just open the door and stare at me. Literally never said a word. (They were a Hispanic family, so it’s possible she didn’t speak English, but if you’re playing music that loud and your neighbor knocks on the door, you can probably guess why.)

We finally did retaliate in kind, and we had a better stereo. It wasn’t the polite thing to do, but it was my last resort before calling the police. However, even they weren’t as bad as what this post describes; I think it is high time the authorities got involved. (And I’m honestly surprised the broom worked.)

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Phyllis June 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I agree with A.J., many times calling the police simply escalates the problem, particularly if the individuals won’t respond to polite requests to lower the volume. Also, oftentimes in larger cities the police will not respond to simple noise violations. I had extremely loud neighbors to a similar level of OP’s, and when I called the police once about a noise violation they failed to respond. The police did respond however when I called saying that 2 individuals were breaking down the door to the upstairs unit, but by the time they arrived the door was already already broken in. It does not inspire confidence in the police solving the problem so I can understand why OP did not call.

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Kitty Lizard June 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

In regards to Angel’s superior stereo:

When my daughter and son in law were in college (married) they were living in a mobile home park in Orlando. In my son in law’s last year in school the park had deteriorated badly and Mexican and Puerto Rican gangs had pretty much taken over, with the exception of the KKK/Hell’s Angel’s section where they lived. (I SWEAR I am not making this up!) And did I mention my they had a toddler?

The house next to them was rented to a passel of Mexicans. They weren’t really sure how many there were, but there were a lot of them. Every Sunday, some of them would pull one vehicle or another next to the kids’ bedroom window and do vehicle repair work early (say 7;00 or 7:30 a.m. start time) with Latin music cranked up max volume.) This enraged my son-in-law, who went to school at night, and who got home at 1:00 a.m. from school. Finally he had enough. My daughter’s birthday rolled around and they had a small party. The baby was at a sitter’s so they could party without disturbing her. They stayed up late, got considerably trashed, which was a rare treat for them, and, of course, Sunday morning rolled around, and the auto repair shop opened up.

My son in law got blasted awake and decided that this was going to stop once and for all. They didn’t have much, but, by God, they had the stereo system from HELL. He found a Hank Williams CD,
turned those speakers on, opened the windows, maxed out the volume and let ‘em have it.

Never got awakened early on Sunday morning again.

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Clair Seulement June 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

@Princess Buttercup ” …one day my husband listened to the music he was blaring, found which radio station it was and used his transmitter to break into the radio wavelength and say, ‘You’re music is far too loud, turn it down’ till the kid freaked out, turned it down and never did it again.”

This. Is. Awesome!!

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KitKat June 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm

There’s actually a decibel limit for music and you can be busted for it. I called the cops on my downstairs neighbors last year because they were playing music so loud at all hours of the day that it was affecting mine and my roommate’s sleep schedules (she was up by 6 AM most days and I was up around 8/9 but neither one of us could sleep until 1/2 AM). I googled “decibel level in (my town)” and found the limit which the people were above. And record it all (even if it’s just a voice recorder).

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A.H. June 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm

OP here – thank you, Admin, for posting this, I was afraid it’d be too long!

@Just Laura: Part of one of my mental disabilities is that I’ll say one thing and mean another. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I did in fact mean Americans with Disabilities Act – thank you for the correction, I’d not have noticed otherwise!

@Serenity: We did report the problem – numerous times! The landlady refuses to do anything about it! I believe (I didn’t hear this directly, so I don’t know if this is exactly what was said) that she told us “They have just as much of a right to live here as you. Get over it.”

And @ everyone saying to call the police: All of us in the building have tried. They won’t come out for something this “trivial”. They came out once when unit 17 was still occupied, due to a domestic dispute, and afterward they dragged everyone in the building out front and told us flat out to never call them out here again unless we had proof someone was dying or dead. And then the landlady got wind we’d called the cops and called up every single tenant to screech at them for DARING to call the cops on HER tenants. (She’s not a very good landlady, in my opinion…)

There’s just nothing left to DO but move out, and I can’t wait! Thanks for all the well-wishes with the new home, everyone!

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Leslie Holman-Anderson June 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Several others have recommended ti-for-tat in the noise department, which is lousy etiquette but often gets the point across like nothing else will. I recommend bagpipe music. It will even overpower ‘gangsta rap.’ And you needn’t spend much — trust me, there are LOTS of second-hand bagpipe records in your local thrift store.

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Nashvillegirl June 16, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I am currently dealing with this and I am at my wit’s end. I have lived in apartments for way too many years. I had one neighbor who kindly blasted his music around 1am, it managed to wake me up from a dead sleep, with my tv on, air going and a fan. When I can sing along to the music, we have a problem. I was lucky, after a couple of visits from our courtesy officer (after getting in from his long shift on the force) he was pissed that he had to tell them that most people were trying to sleep.

Now I am dealing with a single woman above me who has had guests for three weeks now. There are seven people living in the apartment and they shake my apartment at all times of the day and night. Calls to the office (in turn them calling the tenant) does nothing. I have even done my version of the broom knocking. I guess another call to the office in the morning is going to happen. My parents came over the other week for dinner and couldn’t believe all the rattling. Should I offer them some tea when they drop in? Cause I am thinking they will only stop when they drop through the ceiling.

I feel your pain and congrats on the house.

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JoW June 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm

It doesn’t have to be bagpipes. It doesn’t even have to be all that loud. Any music your pest doesn’t like will work. I’ve read about convenience stores driving away the gangstas with Barry Manilow (sp) recordings or opera played moderatly loud.

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ashley June 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Hi A.H.^^ Thanks for sharing this story and I just wanted to start off saying WHAT THE HORSE’S GRAND BACKSIDE IS WRONG WITH YOUR LANDLADY!? Excuse the caps, but I have a hard time imagining a landlady who wouldn’t care about damage being done to her property and causing trouble for her tenents. Thats a whole new level of low right there and you’re a saint for putting up with all of that. I just can’t imagine….this whole story has left me utterly speechless IRL! XD Good luck with your new place hope everything goes ten times better for you guys when you move out^^

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Tonja June 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Op, honestly, I do not feel sorry for you. Your family CHOSE to move into a THREE floor apartment building. Guess what? When people are living above you, this happens. I lived above someone just like you 2 years ago. I was constantly all over my kids to be quiet- to the point we were miserable living there- yet the neighbors constantly whined we were so loud. Maybe F IS trying to control the kids. Maybe you need a reality check and some common sense.

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Nicole June 17, 2011 at 1:30 am

The neighbors sound like jerks, but I’m not sure what it has to do with your being physically handicapped?

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Hollanda, UK June 17, 2011 at 2:54 am

OP, I am so sorry you had to put up with that!!!

DF and I have lived in flats before and personally would never do so again. We had very noisy neighbours on one side, who just gave no consideration to anyone, whereas me and DF did everything we could to make sure we were quiet. We limited nights out to weekends only and were rarely back late (after midnight). When we knew we’d be having a late night we explained to our above tenant so she wasn’t shocked when she heard us come in. The main door was very heavy and had a tendancy to bang if you weren’t careful. We were as considerate as we could possibly be. However, our upstairs neighbour appeared very sensitive to noise and would complain to us about every little sound (including closing the bedroom door inside the flat). We found out later that we were not the only tenants she complained about – this girl complained about EVERYONE. We started to dread getting a knock on our flat door, and after a year of being made to feel terrible about everything, we moved out. We met up with our upstairs neighbour’s ex BF a short while ago and he said she has moved, and she is still (in his words) “neurotic” about noise and has been asked to leave her current flats because she is angering the residents by constantly complaining to them that they are too noisy. The landlord is fed up of people complaining to HIM!!!!!!!!!! Troublesome neighbours are troublesome neighbours!! :(

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Kry June 17, 2011 at 5:17 am

Amen Leslie Holman-Anderson! I have actualy used that on a neighbour (in free standing houses mind you) that was shaking my walls with death metal music at 2am. A repeated loop of “Scotland the brave” got them to turn it down and I have not had a problem since. My quiet scottish neighbours on the other side loved it.

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Enna June 17, 2011 at 6:05 am

This is shocking – so the landlady LIKES her tennats smashing the place up and costing her money? It’s not cheap to have tenants like that I’m amazed that she doesn’t have them evicted and proscutes them for criminal damage. As for the landowner that kind of behaviour devalues the land and makes it harder to get tennants. This kind of bad behaviour is a form of harrasement and is distrubing the peace. It’s not safe either one of the children could get hurt if they aren’t controlled and parented in a responsible way. Have you tired contacting the police? Are the flats owned by different landlords/ladies? Might be an idea for each tennat to contact their landlady/lord about this as they are less likely to get tennants for long or new tennants or even sell the properlty on. There is nothing worse for a property owner when showing new tennats/potential buyers around to have the neighbours be anti-socail. Costs them money as potentail tennants are scared off and they have a devalued property.

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1st-Time Mommy June 17, 2011 at 7:26 am

Maybe it’s my Mommy-instincts kicking in, but (in addition to feeling sorry for the OP, of course) I feel very sorry for these kids. They sound, at the very least, severely neglected. If such young children are staying up that late, their parents are obviously not giving them the structure and attention that is requisite at that age.

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kelly June 17, 2011 at 8:15 am

Are this family aggressive to people who complain, or paying a much greater rent? because I do not understand why they get away with this. They are lucky they do not live in Geneva, flush the loo after eleven there in a communal building and you are in big trouble as this is illegal!
In England we have environmental officers at the council and you can cvall them to monitor the noixe. Also our landlords are responsible for their tennants, and will be held responsible if they allow tennants to ruin other peoples use of the flats.

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Auryn Grigori June 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

One of my favorite song is from an artist named Voltaire. It’s called “The Man Upstairs” and it is about obnoxious upstairs neighbors.

And I don’t feel sorry for you Tonja. You choose to live with kids in an above stairs apartment. Whereas the OP and her mother are physically disabled. Somehow, I don’t think that the, ahem, gentleman tried very hard. Maybe you are right and your kids were perfect angels and YOUR downstairs neighbor was a holy terror. But while there is the chance that while your kids were angels, that does not mean that this man’s kids were, and they might have been the perfect terrors.

I am actually willing to give the OP the benefit of the doubt on this one.

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Hollanda, UK June 17, 2011 at 8:52 am

Tonja, some people actually don’t have much of a choice as to where they live. To slate the OP in this situation is IMO wrong here. She lived there. She had the right to expect adequate living conditions. neighbours who cause noise violate those adequate living conditions. By three years old, I had worked out that when my mother told me to “Be quiet”, then it was in my best interests to “be quiet” and by the time I was 6 years old, I knew there were reasons why we should be quiet in certain situations. In addition, if these children were given the opportunity to vent some of their excess energy by running around outside and doing stuff kids should do, maybe they wouldn’t feel the need to cause noise inside. Neither my younger brother nor I made a huge racket in the house when we were children – we knew the house was for being quiet and outdoors in the playground was where we could choose to be loud if we wanted. So yes, I blame the parents of these kids for inadequate parental control of their offspring.

Tonja, if you moved into an apartment and your neighbours made sufficient noise to make your life feel unbearable, would you like it if somseone told YOU that it was YOU who chose to live there so just suck it up or get some common sense? No? I didn’t think so. I feel your response there was quite harsh and unjustifiably so against the OP.

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