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The Neighborly Note

I live on the second floor of a three-plex. My roommates and I had the following letter placed in our mailbox (one of them threw it out before I got to it to make this post, so this is transcribed as best I can remember):

Dear Residents of [Our Address]:
We have a concern we want to raise with you. We are asking you to please be aware of when and how much you walk around in your apartment, especially at night when the noise makes it hard for us to study and sleep, and especially on the right side of the building.

Thank you,
Your Downstairs Neighbors

Now, I would understand if we were stomping around or blasting music, but all we were doing was walking! Now, this apartment is rather old and creaky (and believe me, it’s as annoying for us, since we’re still below another apartment, as it is for them), but we weren’t doing anything particularly out of the ordinary, the floors were carpeted, and none of us were even in the habit of wearing shoes in the apartment. The right side of the building was also where all of our bedrooms were, and the only hallway leading to the bathroom, so it wasn’t like we could stay out of that part of the unit.

To her credit, my roommate replied with a very courteous note that was basically a longer version of the Ehell-approved “I cannot accommodate your request” (detailing briefly the fact that one roommate had a very early class, two of us worked until after 10pm, and one roommate’s dog occasionally needed to go out in the middle of the night, and also saying that we were sorry for the problem and see what we could do), but I was shocked by the person or people who would send a request like that. What do you think? 1216-13

I think it’s always better to communicate rather than have neighbors who say nothing but instead retaliate with amplified noise making of their own or who complain continually to the landlord.

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • flora October 16, 2017, 6:14 am

    I used to have a downstairs neighbor who complained about us “stomping around like elephants” It was a similar situation to yours, only it was an old building, no carpeting and ours was a studio apartment with only my husband and I living there. And, like you we weren’t blasting music, just walking around normally.
    We even called the land lord to complain about her complaining about us! For us, the problem was solved when she moved into an apartment on the other side of the building, so she wasn’t under us anymore.

    • LRS October 16, 2017, 5:50 pm

      Not sure where you lived but several apartments I have had in the US have had requirements on how much of my floor had to be carpeted. People really do not know how heavy-footed they can be.

      • mark October 17, 2017, 3:23 pm

        My brother and I in college went upstairs and talked to our neighbors there, they were wrestling/horse playing all the time and it was shaking the ceiling so badly that it actually was causing the light bulbs to fail. Fortunately that worked.

  • Aleko October 16, 2017, 6:17 am

    I think a better response would have been to ask to come downstairs and listen to how much noise was actually created by one of you walking around on the floor above. It might have surprised you.

    Some years ago my husband and I had rented a holiday apartment, and were driven crazy by the volume at which the people in the apartment upstairs continually played their radio. Eventually we could stand it no longer, and braced ourselves to knock on the upstairs door and explain to these inconsiderate boors that they needed to turn the racket down. We were amazed – and thoroughly embarrassed – when a polite young couple opened their door to us; their radio was set very low, and only gave out a trickle of sound in their apartment. By some freak of physics the sound was actually being amplified through their floor and our ceiling.

    If something like that is happening in your building, of course it is probably impossible for you not to move around your apartment at night; but you might well be able to get the landlord to improve the situation with insulation or muffling devices of some kind. It would be worth asking. Even if nothing could be done, you would at least have responded constructively to your downstairs neighbours’ perfectly civil communication of the inconvenience caused to them, which would be much better than simply refusing outright to engage with it, as you did.

    • Rinme October 19, 2017, 1:33 am

      It’s pretty clear from the note that the neighbor understands the noise is caused by regular walking.

  • clairedelune October 16, 2017, 6:28 am

    It sounds like your neighbors may have all grown up in freestanding houses and this is their first experience in a multi-unit building. Reasonable noise of the sort you’re describing is just part of apartment living; hopefully they figure this out before moving to their next apartment.

    • Liz October 16, 2017, 7:19 am

      This could very well be the case. I know I was lucky in my current apt. I live in garden apts, but am on the second floor, on the end. I chose that location deliberately to cut down on noise, plus for various reasons, I dont’ feel safe on the first floor.

      My first neighbor was an elderly woman, who made no noise whatsoever. she went out only in the day, when i wasn’t home. She sadly passed away at the ripe old age of 90, and my next set of neighbors were two young girls, flight attendants, so they worked crazy hours and schedules. While they were not at all loud, they did have a habit of slamming the doors, but I was amazed at just how much other “normal apt noise” i could hear, since I was used to my former neighbor. Nothing that bothered me, or would require any letting them know. And because my couch is right inside the door, and sound carries up the stairs i could sometimes hear them laughing or conversation.

      They moved out, and my next set moved in. Same thing, while I hear “normal apt noise” more than I did in the past, they are not loud. In fact, one Friday night, they let me know they were having people over, bad apologized in advance for any noise they might make. The noise in question? Again, normal conversation that drifted up the stairs, and some laughing. No loud music or anything else like that.

      Some people just aren’t cut out for communal living as every little sound bothers them.

  • Just4kicks October 16, 2017, 6:30 am

    In my opinion, while yes, you are doing your best to keep the noise to a minimum,
    I think it was a kind and thoughtful note.
    I’ve seen many notes which are downright nasty and obscene.
    If you would like to, maybe invite these folks up for a cup of tea or glass of wine
    and try to broker some kind of friendship.
    We live in an old renovated farmhouse and our pup sleeps down in the basement, which our oldest son has turned into a very nice room.
    Unfortunately, I happen to get up weekdays at 5am to get 3 kids and my husband up and moving.
    No matter how quietly I tip toe around our kitchen making coffee and packing lunches, our dog begins barking…..every morning.
    Some noises just can’t be helped, which you can explain to your neighbors, if you’d like to.
    Good Luck!

    • Dee October 16, 2017, 11:13 am

      I agree, Just4kicks. The note couldn’t have been any nicer. There may be nothing that can be done to mitigate the situation or there may be quite a few options, including more carpet/runners in the rooms above the downstairs suite. But to be snide about the note suggests OP and her roommates aren’t all that considerate at all.

      My in-laws are stompers; my husband is not, and one of my kids is. My mom complained that ALL of us kids were stompers; she took light steps (probably from years of wearing high heels only) and us kids just walked normally. But downstairs the sound was magnified significantly. If OP and roommates have to tiptoe after 9 pm so that the neighbours can sleep then it seems like a reasonable accommodation to make. But the problem needs to be acknowledged before it can be solved, and I’m not too hopeful about that, given the attitude here.

      • Just4kicks October 16, 2017, 6:44 pm

        When we first rescued our pup she and our cat we already had didn’t get along very well.
        So, at night we made sure the dog slept in the basement room.
        On such occasions where my son was sleeping at a friends house, I would sleep downstairs.
        Midnight trips for a drink or a snack by other family members sounded like herds of elephants parading through the kitchen.

      • Kelly Taylor October 19, 2017, 12:28 pm

        Also agreeing re: the niceness of the note. This is just a common way to have to handle things, but it seems like people prefer to interpret whichever end of the interaction they aren’t on as “rude.” Actually, there is plenty of “happy medium” space, instead of it turning into “Well YOU were rude!” and escalating. The best response is “How can we work together to find a solution?” This can include contacting the building owner about increased padding/insulation, dedicated “quiet hours” for the neighbors’ study time, white noise machines, or, in an extreme situation, inspection and building reinforcement.

        • Just4Kicks October 20, 2017, 3:47 am

          There is a site called “Passive Aggressive Notes” which I pop onto once in awhile.
          Some REAL doozies on that site!!!

  • staceyizme October 16, 2017, 7:43 am

    Noise can definitely be a trigger for all of us. But- it’s a hazard of living in a multi-family dwelling. Whether it’s people who come and go more frequently than you would like, a newly arrived baby, music that you would not choose or any other sound, it’s not the responsibility of your upstairs neighbors to indemnify you from living below them. They should do their best to be mindful. You have the option of installing a white noise machine, soundproofing materials, moving or becoming more tolerant of the bumps and squeaks associated with the presence of other people. You may also be able to opt for a lease on the top floor or inquire about noise concerns before moving in. It’s not so much an etiquette issue (unless the neighbors aren’t mindful or you are grouchy) as a functional/ structural issue of daily life in that context.

  • essie October 16, 2017, 8:08 am

    I had the same situation. Apparently, the person who moved into the apartment below me came from a hidden jungle compound because she complained to the management about EVERY noise. She complained about the stairs creaking, she complained about the radiator’s steaming, she complained about people talking outside on the sidewalk. I happened to leave the apartment at 3 a.m. ONE TIME (early flight home because my father had died the night before); she complained about the noise I made walking down the stairs. When I returned after the funeral, I found the management office had slipped a notice of the complaint under my door. When I went to the management office to argue the complaint, the manager explained that this person had stopped complaining directly and had started sending complaints through her lawyer! Manager said not to worry about it; they had done everything they could to correct the issues and made her lawyers aware of their efforts, so it had become an SOP: she complained to (and paid) her lawyer, they sent a complaint letter, management relayed the complaint to the residents(s) as required by law, and that was it.

    • Liz October 16, 2017, 2:00 pm

      When I first moved in, the woman next to me, downstairs, complained endlessly about the young guy living next to me, above her. She really was quite a pill, and complained about nothing. I happened to be in the office one day, complaining about another set of neighbors (legitimately, college students who had parties well into the wee hours of the morning, and who’s guests got sick outside in our courtyard, on more than one occasion.) Anyway, she happened to be there, complaining about the guy above, and kept asking me “don’t you hear it?”

      Nope, sorry, I do not. She worked odd hours as a nurse, so many times would be sleeping during the day, but again, the guy above her was not making any noise out of the ordinary. She too, if I recall, got a lawyer involved, and they ended up moving her to another apt, but i heard she wasn’t happy there either.

    • ladyv21454 October 16, 2017, 4:34 pm

      Probably not nice of me, but I’m amused by the fact that this woman has to actually PAY for her complaints now.

  • Melissa October 16, 2017, 8:10 am

    I live in a downstairs apartment and the people above us have uninsulated floorboards. I can hear them drop a coin on the floor. Do I complain? No, because this you get when you live in an apartment.

    I do object to them having long parties with loud music late at night.

  • DGS October 16, 2017, 8:53 am

    I actually do not take issues with the note at all – I think it was very politely phrased. It may be, as one of the PP’s had said, noise is disproportionately amplified. It may be the investing into some slippers or putting down an area rug might muffle the noise, if that is possible, or it may be that what one of the roommates had done, writing a courteous note, and perhaps, a plate of cookies or brownies as a gesture of good will would go along way to build neighborly good will.

    • staceyizme October 16, 2017, 8:38 pm

      OP said the floor was carpeted. So I don’t know if an additional area rug would help. When I lived in apartment complexes and town home style communities with shared walls, I had occasion to object to management about some neighbors I encountered who repeatedly had impromptu outdoor grill sessions at 2 am with music, loud conversation and visitors on a weeknight and those who repeatedly parked in my space or parked in the fire lane and blocked me in. But normal footfalls? A little carry-over of other noise now and then? Not a problem, in my view.

  • Shalamar October 16, 2017, 9:10 am

    I once got an official letter from the company that owned my apartment building. Paraphrased, it said “There’s been a noise complaint about you. Cut it out or we’ll evict you.” I was horrified and bewildered. All I could think was that the noise in question was my exercise bike, which was an older model and made a bit of a “grinding” noise when I used it.

    I didn’t know for sure who’d complained about me, but I could guess – it was probably the person whose apartment was below mine. So, I left a very polite note under her door that basically said “If I’ve been making noise, I’m really sorry. Can we figure something out?” She called me and was as nice as could be. We came to an arrangement that I would only use my exercise bike before 10:00 p.m., and we were both happy.

    I couldn’t help but shake my head, though. All she’d had to do was leave me a note saying “You’re making noise, and it bothers me. Can we please do something about it?” There was no need to get the owner involved, and there was DEFINITELY no need to threaten me with eviction!

    • EOM October 16, 2017, 1:23 pm

      It’s great that you were so considerate. Lots of people aren’t. There are a lot of folks that have been burned by retaliatory neighbours when they complain directly to them and so the only sensible course of action is to complain to management, not the noise makers directly.

      And your neighbour didn’t threaten you with eviction. Your landlord did. Don’t blame the neighbour for an amped up action taken by someone else after her perfectly reasonable complaint.

    • Kate 2 October 17, 2017, 10:35 am

      I agree with EOM. Some of my neighbors in my apartment building are mentally ill, some seem to have personality disorders, some are perfectly nice.

      The thing is they all *seem* normal until you ask someone politely to stop, say smoking under your windows because you have asthma and it’s making you sick, and then they throw a huge fit and retaliate.

      And then you never ask anyone for anything ever again, no matter how sane they seem!

      • Kate 2 October 17, 2017, 10:36 am

        ETA: For my own safety, and for documentation purposes, I always and ONLY go to the apartment managers now.

        • sarugani March 27, 2018, 4:25 pm

          Response I got from the apartment managers when I asked if they could remind the people below me that blasting music all day long (as done by the teenage son when the parents were out on weekends) was not on? “You know what it’s like to be young”. Yeah.
          Moving out soon, though not for noise reasons. The boy has actually grown up into a nice and polite young man.

  • Heather October 16, 2017, 9:14 am

    This happened to me once in an apartment building that wasn’t all that old. My downstairs neighbour came upstairs to talk to me me. She was very polite but her “complaint’ was that she worked nights and slept days and asked me if I could keep it down during the day so as not to disturb her sleep. I lived alone, no pets and because I worked I wasn’t always in the apartment during the day in any event. The complaint was puzzling, but I was polite as well and said I would certainly try, but that it’s not all that realistic to expect no noise during the day time. I’m not sure how long she stayed in that building, but fortunately, the problem didn’t escalate. I agree that talking — even if some of the words are platitudes — can go a long way to easing a situation. At least you should try that first, in my opinion.

  • AS October 16, 2017, 9:14 am

    Ah, the pleasures of neighbors!

    We currently have a neighbor who constantly keeps telling us to stop using the “machine” that we use at night, between around midnight to 1:00AM. The thing is that we use use no machines, not even a fan/AC, or a heater at night (we stopped using the standing fan after the first time she complained, thinking that there might be some vibration on the floor that we cannot hear). And we are asleep by 11:30PM most of the time! It is quite frustrating to explain to her because she just keep saying the same thing over and over again, often stopping us when we meet up while entering or leaving the building. It has been about 3 years, and we haven’t yet gotten through to her that what she is hearing maybe something outside, or in some other apartment!

  • Heather Ricco October 16, 2017, 9:39 am

    I had a similar situation, where I was in the middle apartment of three. Although they were well soundproofed between apartments on the same level, there was no soundproofing between levels. The neighbor below me was so sensitive to noise, she called the police one night on my noise when I wasn’t at home (it came from the apartment above me). She never left me a note or talked to me directly, but instead went to management (complaining about the noise I made putting away dishes) or the police. She did bang on my floor one night when I had company over (it was 8:00 in the evening, and we were not having a rowdy party, just conversation). Apparently she worked for emergency services and kept to an odd schedule. The issue didn’t resolve until she moved, I hope she moved to a very quiet top floor apartment so she could get rest. I was lucky that the complaints she made were about walking or putting away dishes, and about the noise during normal daytime hours, management mostly understood that I wasn’t particularly loud or rowdy, and she was the one with the problem.

  • NightSky October 16, 2017, 10:43 am

    I am in a similar situation in that my upstairs neighbor is a stomper. I have also lived in the same apartment for a while, with other upstairs neighbors, so I know it is a “her” issue, and not a physics or just normal shared spaces noise. She just seems to be VERY heavy footed, and it unfortunately wakes me up almost every morning. I work later into the night, so this is an issue for me. I use an app for white noise, plus have 2 fans going in an attempt to block it, but it still wakes me. I live alone, so I have to draw the line at wearing earplugs as I feel for my safety, I need to be able to hear loud, unusual noises at night. I feel very stuck bc I don’t feel like I can go tell someone they need to learn to “walk lighter” no matter how nicely or politely I manage to phrase it, but I also am having some really rough days due to lack of sleep! Any wording suggestions, etc would be greatly appreciated!

    • staceyizme October 16, 2017, 8:42 pm

      Next time your lease comes up for renewal, perhaps a top floor apartment would serve you better. It doesn’t help in the interim, but perhaps it would help somewhat in the long term.

    • Gabriele October 17, 2017, 1:23 am

      I have a friend who rents, gets a great deal on his rent in return for keeping the steps swept. But. The daughter almost always wears clogs, and not the soft kind. Their kitchen and dining area are directly above his studio apartment. She’s up at 6 am and leaves for work at 7:30. I told him to ask the mother to come downstairs so she could hear the daughter walking around (I’ve heard it…hard floors, no insulation, old building…) but he’s afraid he’ll lose his sweet deal. And he hasn’t located his polite spine…ever.
      When the daughter moves out I wonder how she will adapt to not controlling all the space around her.

      • Aleko October 18, 2017, 1:26 am

        That’s a really unfair remark to make about the daughter. As you tell it, your friend has not been willing to tell anybody in the family how audible her clogs are in the apartment below. It’s quite unreasonable to expect her to have worked that out all by herself, especially since she quite likely has no experience of being the downstairs tenant herself. Yes, when she leaves home and experiences life as an apartment tenant for the first time she will learn some hard life lessons; but so did we all.

  • Daisy October 16, 2017, 11:10 am

    That was a perfectly civil note written by people who didn’t know your circumstances and were trying to be polite. Your roommate returned a polite response as well. The only thing odd is your apparent feeling that your neighbours shouldn’t have raised the issue in the first place. It’s important to remember that people of good will can still disagree. There are no villains in your story.

  • JD October 16, 2017, 11:28 am

    Apartment living comes with noise, unfortunately, unless, I suppose one has the resources to purchase an exclusive apartment in a luxury building. I’d be grateful that at least the neighbors went for a note first, instead of complaining to the manager about you. It’s what they do AFTER the polite response that will tell the tale. As Aleko said, perhaps offering to come down and listen as well as commiserating as fellow “living below someone” dwellers, would help keep the atmosphere friendly.
    However, had I been the neighbors downstairs, unless it sounded outrageous, I don’t believe I would have complained about OP and roommates in the first place. As I said, apartment living comes with noise.

  • Ernie October 16, 2017, 11:48 am

    Something that they put in the note which I think you should consider is the part about “how much” you and your roommates walk around at late/early hours. Obviously you have to walk around your apartment, but since you are unavoidably making noise, try to keep in mind how many unnecessary trips you are taking across the apartment at those times. People don’t get bothered by the people above them walking across their apartment at 6:00 am, they get bothered by them walking across their apartment more than ten times at 6:00 am. I’m not there, I don’t know your situation, but it is something to consider.

    For my own part, I’m a pacer. I walk around when I’m thinking or on the phone. Probably an annoying habit. I can’t live above anyone.

    Funny story… my then girlfriend (now wife) and I were staying in a hotel near Cambria California for her birthday. We checked in, and heard some really loud thumping from the room above us, like unreasonably loud. We figured it would die down, so we went out to eat and came back, and the noise was worse. Finally, it was dark and it was still really loud so we called the hotel front desk and said we wouldn’t be able to handle the noise, and asked if they could change our room or talk to the people above us. The night manager actually came to our room and helped us move to a stand-alone little bungalow thing that they had there, which was really really nice of him. After we had moved I tipped him while standing outside of our new room. I asked him if they had this problem a lot as the building we moved from looked to be pretty old. He said “no, actually, it hardly ever happens”. We were within eye-shot of the room we had moved out of, and the room above us where the noise was coming from, the doors opened to the outside. I was explaining that we really appreciated his help in the matter and really weren’t trying to be difficult, when the door to the noisy room opens, and out come three kids, on roller skates. They skate down the upstairs outdoor walkway a little ways, turn around, and skate back into their room. The night manager just groans, looks at me, says “yeah, I guess that would do it”, and went over to talk to the people in the room.

  • Harry October 16, 2017, 2:03 pm

    My issue wasn’t noise, it was cigarette smoke. I was on the 3rd floor of a three story apartment building and the smoking sisters were on the 2nd floor right below me. If we had our patio doors open at the same time, their cigarette smoke would completely take over my apartment. I mentioned it to them twice, and they were kind enough to keep their door closed which helped, but every once in a while……. Whew…always wondered why they just didn’t dedicate one whole wing to smokers…

  • Shoegal October 16, 2017, 2:49 pm

    I lived in an apartment building. There were only 3 floors – and I lived in a 2nd floor apartment. I knew I made noise because I am a home exerciser – I tried always to do it early in the evening to not bother anyone. I even went downstairs when I first moved in to talk to the girl who lived below me and told her about it. She was quite nice and friendly and said not to worry about it. She moved out eventually. The girl who replaced the nice and friendly girl wasn’t so nice & friendly. At one point my boyfriend had stayed over and brought his dog who actually wasn’t allowed in the apartment. It an unusual circumstance because I just had an operation and he was staying over only to keep an eye on me and didn’t have anyone to watch his dog – so he brought him. The dog made some noise – not alot though and it was only one night – but the girl downstairs came upstairs as he was leaving to complain and threaten him as he left. She eventually went to the landlord and complained about me. My landlords told her to talk to me about it. If she would have come to me directly and not to my landlords first I would have been nice. So when she came to my door I wasn’t so friendly and I told her I didn’t care. She was shocked. A couple minutes later I felt badly about the entire exchange, apologized and told her I would only exercise from 6pm to 7pm and if I happened to miss that time – then I wouldn’t do it at all. Afterwards. we were never really friends but things were better. She eventually brought in a cat to the no pet apartment building but I didn’t complain to the landlord when I found out.

  • EchoGirl October 16, 2017, 3:18 pm

    I’m the OP — this happened about four years ago (I had almost forgotten I ever submitted this), and we’ve all long since moved on from that place (and thank God for that; creaky floors turned out to be just the beginning of the issues with that place. Not to mention that a tree fell on the roof the year after we moved out — no one was injured but it would’ve been terrifying to be there for that).

    Admittedly, one of the big issues is that management had neglected to mention any sound issues when they showed us the place, and at the time no one was home in the upstairs apartment (I can only guess it was the same for the first floor unit people when they viewed the place). We did try to be careful, but we were a quiet (and admittedly somewhat lazy) bunch, so when we discussed the situation between us prior to my roommate sending the letter, we couldn’t figure out what it was we were supposed to do short of ceasing to take care of our own lives in order to avoid bothering them.

    I do agree with Admin that it’s better they let us know we had a problem than start a passive-aggressive retaliation war (which never happened to me, but I knew people living in other places who had exactly that happen), and in retrospect, it doesn’t seem as significant now as it did then. I think it may have bothered us most because three of us in particular were (are) serious people-pleaser types and we were upset by the idea that we were bothering people just by going about our daily lives.

  • Devin October 16, 2017, 3:31 pm

    Fellow 2nd floor dweller here, so I’m both the receiver and giver of noise in my old building. I think the OP and roommates did right in stating sorry for the inconvenience but in no way can we all agree to not walk in half of the apartment. The downstairs neighbors should be aware that anytime you live down stairs you’re going to get some noise, and footsteps on carpeted surfaces is the least of the issue.
    I would add to those saying you should visit them and see how loud it is, you should invite them to walk upstairs and have the other neighbor listen to how loud their normal walking is. They’ll quickly realize you aren’t stomping around, it’s just squeaky old apartment noise.
    I recently thought my upstairs neighbor was slamming doors way too often, but then I realized their apartment was the hottest unit and the doors were swelling from the heat. I wouldn’t dream of asking them to not enter/exit their apartment or close doors because of something out of our control!

  • Noemie October 16, 2017, 3:34 pm

    LW, if I understand correctly there are 4 people and 1 dog in your apartment? You are probably generating a lot of noise without realizing it. You mentioned the floors are carpeted but is there a thick good quality underlay beneath the carpet?

    The noise they hear may also not be coming entirely from your apartment.In an old and badly insulated property you will also get noise carrying through the walls, sometimes to the point that you can hear noise from an apartment 2 floors above yours.

    It’s good that the people below informed you of the problem in a polite way .

  • Jared Bascomb October 16, 2017, 7:21 pm

    I’m in the same situation as the OP: on the second floor of a three-story condo building. For our first years here, our downstairs neighbor was an elderly woman with a definite hearing loss problem. We would check in with each other periodically to make sure that we weren’t disturbing each other. (And yes, I did hear noises from upstairs.)

    After she sold/moved out, we got the neighbor from hell. First, she filed a complaint with our HOA manager that she could hear us going to the bathroom in the middle of the night; shutting drawers in the bathroom; dropping things on the floor above her bedroom. My reply was that this was just ordinary day-to-day noise and that we were not in the habit of dropping things on the floor.

    Then she ramped it up and pounded on her ceiling/our floor whenever we made too much noise. I actually documented those incidents — date, time, location in the condo, and what we were each doing at the time — and all we were doing was sitting at our desks in our respective bedrooms (including the one directly above hers) well before 10:00pm!

    I left a note asking her to document the dates, times, type of noise, and location and all I got back was “I work from home and I hear it all the time.” Not real helpful, especially since we had varying working hours but even so, there were times when neither of us was at home during the day and the pounding was only in the early night hours (6:00 – 10:00pm).

    When she threatened to sue us, I contacted my attorney and composed a letter that basically told her that her irrational pounding was infringing on our right to a peaceful existence.

    After she moved out, fleeing creditors, we figured out that the sounds she thought were coming from us were actually from people walking up and down the exterior stairway next to her bedroom, and possibly the slamming shut of the door from that stairway to the underground garage!

    The kicker/irony is that she was a realtor and even admitted at one point that she should have known better than to buy a unit with upstairs neighbors!

  • NostalgicGal October 16, 2017, 8:02 pm

    I’ve lived in many an apartment and I generally have learned to not like people living OVER me, footsteps overhead I don’t like any more. People under, it depends. Sometimes it’s put down thick throw rugs. Worst one I had lived across from us and put a stereo against the shared bedroom wall (mirror apartments) and would turn it on at lunchtime loud. I worked nights and needed to SLEEP so I did a few nights of 4 am concerts with my stereo once I got off work, didn’t care if I was on pitch, and had a few beers and unwound before I went to bed. If there was quiet at noon, no 4 am concert. They learned fast. We won’t discuss the breakup and the woman that kept coming over and screeching at them and pounding on the door (and would keep it up for a good half an hour to an hour-I finally just started calling police at the first note of her dulcet tones, tell them to come to the back door, and I’d let them in to deal with her…) In that place upstairs didn’t care, she typed term papers for $ and would fire that typewriter up at 6 am in the living room. It was far enough away from the bedroom I didn’t care, so they put up with a little 4-6 am noise from me coming home from work and I put up with their typing.

    Worst motel stay, was single in college and went on industry plant tour with group. The two of us were veteran dorm dwellers and were on first floor. We had to get up early enough for day two of our tour (around 7 am) and we showed at the desk and the guy actually cringed. Odd. He asked if everything had been alright and did we have any complaints. No. Honestly, no. Um… above us had been a 6th grade girl’s swim team and the chaperones had been of little use and most of that end of the motel had checked out early and complained to high heaven. Some had been comped. Um no. We explained we lived in dorm at college and once we had gone to sleep (early and before those girls had showed up) we hadn’t heard anything (my dorm room, the girl above jumped rope for exercise though it was forbidden and no amount of complaining did any good. So we joked about the 3000 pound rabbit they had upstairs and when it would be let out for exercise). The guy was nice and comped us anyways. We heard later when that batch did check out, just before the checkout time of 11, they sent housekeeping to look before they could finish checking out and I guess the bill was pretty staggering for the trashed out room. Four sixth grade girls in a double bed room….sigh. Chaperones should have slept in the rooms and split the girls up-I’m sure after that they did so on away meets.)

  • Kimberly October 16, 2017, 8:26 pm

    I woke up one day to an horrific sound. It sounded like someone fighting to breathe then getting their breath and wailing and back to fighting to breathe. I jumped up and ran next door the family that lived there had two small kids, the husband worked odd hours, and the mom had mentioned she was feeling unwell the day before. Since I never heard her kids I was scared something had happened and Dad was at work. Well he was leaving and said all was well. It took me 2 hours to finally track down the noise. They were adding water to the pool, and the hose had a crimp in it. I uncrimped it. The faucet was on the side of my unit. Of course the pool didn’t fill and they left the hose in the pool. So kids come in, and naturally they play with the hose. I go out and explain about the noise. They apologize and stop. But they leave and another family comes in repeatedly. Finally I go to them office and explain the problem. They use other hoses from other faucets fill the pool and get a new hose that won’t crimp. Problem solved.

    Until the next month when they threaten to evict the neighbor for letting their child cry all night and day. Turned out Mr. Cranky up stairs filed a complaint and they didn’t connect my hose complaint, even though I said it sounded like a baby in distress. Now Mr. Cranky filed complaints regularly about people talking around the pool or splashing to loud. But I call the cops because I hear a fight complete with screams of I’m going to kill you and he calls me a busy body. I went with her to the office and reminded them the building employees caused the noise not her kids. They were not evicted Seriously who listens to that for 6 hours and doesn’t call the cops for a welfare check.

  • Kylie October 17, 2017, 12:01 pm

    The note seems polite enough, although I understand the defensiveness when you genuinely believe you’re not doing anything wrong.
    My biggest apartment woes have come in the form of my neighbor bringing in bed bugs and not treating his apartment (so they crawled across the hall to mine…), others CONSTANTLY parking in my assigned spot, and someone in my current building (not sure if it’s one person or multiple) leaving the outside door to the building wide open. As I live on the ground floor, I have numerous safety-related complaints related to that misgiving. My upstairs neighbors apparently like to throw bowling balls on the floor but that’s never bothered me because I consider dealing with noise part of living in an apartment building.

  • Susan October 18, 2017, 2:56 pm

    I fall into the category of someone who should probably be in a house – but our city is so expensive that a condo was really the only option for us. Anyway we found a beauty – top floor, on the end of the low rise building on a quiet street…older demographic…perfect, I thought, for a noise phobic person like myself.

    Except! The first Saturday after we moved in my bf let himself in to find me in floods of tears because our only shared-wall neighbour turned out to be A) a composer and B) has a grand piano in his unit which he plays with great vigour (and luckily, skill). We debated for a while whether to complain (and frankly were amazed the condo corp and other residents had not already said anything), but over time I chilled about it since it is usually only on Saturdays when we are out and about, and it really is quite beautiful. And he’s a very good neighbour otherwise.

    Still. What are the odds of buying a condo where the next door neighbour plays a freaking GRAND PIANO? Anyway. It’s better than some other types of noise. Like when he invites opera singers over to practice with him once in a while. agh! 🙂

  • Sarah November 1, 2017, 12:44 am

    I know a family with 15 (!) children who looked for a downstairs renter with a specific qualification – she was deaf! She happily rented from them for many years and never complained about the noise.

  • crebj November 10, 2017, 7:24 pm

    “We’ll do what we can” is all you need say, and do. Do your best, but no heroic measures. You pay rent too.

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