What to do with lousy apartment neighbors?

Discussion in 'Community' started by applekid, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. applekid macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    I thought I ask the MacRumors bunch this question since there's many forum users, and it's an interesting mix of people. Anyways, here's the problem:

    My neighbor downstairs moved in some number of months ago (I don't have an estimate of when, but some lady and her family moved within the year). About two or three months ago, the lady downstairs came upstairs when my mom was home to complain about some noises from our apartment. My mom's English isn't very good, so she said sorry and the lady left. My mom does admit she dropped a chair when she was taking it in the kitchen to use as a step to get some stuff out of the higher cabinets. A month later, the lady downstairs comes up again. She has her arms crossed. This time I was home and it was around 6 PM so she complained to me about some more noises. I apologized and that was that. I didn't know what she was talking about this time. In a couple of weeks, the lady comes upstairs again, and she complains about noises, yet again. This time I had a reason for the noise. Our apartment is relatively old and hasn't been renovated since we haven't moved out and lived there for 8 years. So, some of the floor boards are pretty loose and saggy in other places. I then added a lie about I did call the management to ask what to do and they said they would require renovation (since that's what's happened with every other apartment in the area). So, she said alright and that she wants to be reasonable and left. So I thought I ended that peacefully.

    Earlier this evening, there's a knock at our door. I check the door to find my not-so-friendly neighbor. This time she has an attitude (understandably) and says, "you know why I'm here." So I nodded cautiously. And she said something about how she called the management office and how they said there was no record of me ever calling them (since I lied) and they told her to feel free to call the police. But, she said she wouldn't call the police because she doesn't want to be an ****** (wasn't her exact words, but she used the word "butt" in there somewhere) Well, I said, "where are the sounds coming from this time?" She told me it was the kitchen since 6 AM. Now, at 6 AM, I'm preparing for school and my mom is in the kitchen making breakfast for our family. So she's busy running back and forth. And basically her whole day is in the kitchen. She cleans the dishes, floor, the counter tops, and then it's lunch time. So she's back in there, then she's out for a couple of hours until dinner. To compromise would require huge lifestyle changes or something because that would be too difficult for us.

    Anyways, I told her I'd call the management office (for real, this time) again and see what to do.

    Tomorrow, I'm going to call after school and straighten some things out. But, I've got a defense. During the 8 years we've lived there, we never had any complaints from our neighbors downstairs until now. We have had many neighbors upstairs that had little kids that ran around, pounding the ground, and dropping the things, but we never complained. And these kids would do it for hours into the night. Our current neighbors above have creaky floors like hours even though their apartment was renovated before they moved in and we hear sounds when it's late at night, but we don't complain. I understand some people have different amounts of toleration, but shouldn't there be some reasonability by my neighbors?

    In my room, I usually walk by and there's a huge part of my floor that creaks and is loose. It doesn't help my grandma that sorta limps is passing over. We get some knocking there, too.

    Like I've said, we lived in the same apartment for 8 years. We would've moved out, but things came up to prevent us purchasing a house and my dad is very reluctant to buy a house because the ones nearby are all over 20 years old. So, moving out is out of the question.

    I predict tomorrow the management will only say that we would have to move out for them to do anything at all or at least send a maintenance guy to check it out. Because there is literally a sag or creaky floor in every room. The kitchen and my room seem to be the worst because the neighbors downstairs whack the ceiling with something. But, sometimes it's for the most ridiculous things. For example, I sat at my computer. Then, I literally put one foot down and I feel a thud back at my foot from downstairs! Now, I know they have a kid, and maybe they're messing with me, but they repeatedly whack the ceiling when I walk by. And there's no point in brining their maintenance people. They're total ditz. I ended up finishing some of the repairs they performed.

    It's not possible for us to move out unless the management can compensate us. They'll have to either give us a new apartment or pay us because we are in no position to move furniture in or out. There's just too much to move.

    I would let my dad take care of matters, but he has a ridiculous temper. From knowing him, my mom, grandma, and I believe he will blame us for walking around and some other BS since he never can admit wrong-doing to anything for all the years my mom and grandma have known him. He even gets fidgety if you make a small sarcastic insult. Taking another example, he yells at us whenever we suggest purchasing a house by blaming us for not wanting to move (at the time, the school boundaries weren't changed)

    Anyways, here's my plan: Call tomorrow. Complain about the management (make it sound like I did leave a complain about the floors before ;) ), complain about the neighbor's reaction, and hope they have a plan to fix it.

    Well, I hope you guys can help out and give suggestions. Thanks. I can see where I'm wrong, so feel free to point it out, as well.

    EDIT: I needed to add. The times I've seen my neighbor, her eyes looked watery and/or blood-shot. We wonder if she's really stressed out, going insane, or has some sort of disorder.
  2. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    In all but two apartments, I had upstairs neighbours and most of them were reasonable and I ignored the sound. In one building, I was also an upstairs neighbour because I was on the middle floor. I was always careful about making noise but walking can't be avoided--running can.

    In the apartment on the middle floor in summer, the people would come home from the shore about 11 p.m. Sunday night and start running the vacuum cleaner and washer. Every night of the week, she would drop her purse and it sounded like a bowling ball. We had decent carpeting and padding, so it didn't take much.

    I can only imagine how the lady downstairs from you is dealing with all that flooring making noise. She needs to be told that it's going to be that way. Show her the flooring, take her around the apartment. Make her some coffee and bring out the biscuits. :) If you can, make her dinner, just let her know that you really do care and you want her to feel comfortable. Her hearing might get worse with a full belly.

    If nothing else works, buy her an iPod. :D
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    Explain to her that the cops aren't going to do anything but file a noise report, and they certainly won't take her seriously if she starts calling in about every little bump in the night. But I'm guessing you want to avoid them getting called, since it would look bad in general to your family. So, I might be tempted to start complaining about her noise, any time you can hear even a tap from the apartment below... If her eyes are bloodshot, say you think she's using drugs (that's an all-purpose neighbor complaint that often gains attention). Sometimes these people just won't learn until you play their game. But if you let her bully you, and it sounds like you already are, she'll continue to do so... you don't want her trying to get you evicted someday, with some bizarre case. It's always best to take the friendly approach to people, but sometimes they just make it impossible... And after a point, you're allowed to stop taking their crap.

  4. rickvanr macrumors 68040


    Apr 10, 2002
    I too have a bad apple neighbour. I live in a big apartment building, so I am not sure which neighbour is to blame, but the odd day, usually a few times a week, when I am getting on the elevator, all I can smell is pot. It stinks. I have nothing againsts drugs or smoking, their lives, they can do what they want, but, when I can smell it and it stinks, it bugs me. The other day the odour made it all the way into my apartment, I was not impressed. Since I don't know which neighbour its from, I dont know who to complain about. I think I know who it, there is a couple sleezy looking kids down the hall so I'm going to assume its them, there's two apartments buy the elevators, and they're from one.

    What can I really do? I was thinking about putting a sign buy the elevator asking them to smoke outside or something? to make their apartment completely air tight? I think complaining would be pretty much useless, either nothing will happen, or they'll get a warning, which they won't listen to.
  5. Pismo macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2002
    Punch the bitch in the face and tell her to turn down her hearing aide. My parents are landlords and they'd evict this crone for being a pain in everyone's ass.
  6. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
  7. raynegus macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    This lady needs to understand that is what apartment life is like. It's an illusion of privacy, but there really is none. She needs to understand this or move.

    I lived through 4 years of hell with my neighbors downstairs. They have VERY loud kids, but they are kids so I never complained. I mean, kids gotta play. This is when I was in med school and I could not study at home at all. I accepted this and just let the kids play (5 feet from my window on most occasions, screaming at the top of their lungs).

    The big cities are becoming more crowded and the price of a house is out of reach for most families, so apartments are naturally loud places. At least all the ones I've lived in have been like this.

    From what you've said you have not made any noise beyond what could be expected from normal living. I mean you aren't playing Metallica at max at 3:00 AM.

    You have a right to live in your apartment and make a reasonable amount of noise. This lady is being unreasonable and, in my opinion, violating your rights by harassing you. She should try living in my old apartment.
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    One time in London, a neighbour upstairs complained that someone in our flat was having sex way too loud at night. The problem is that the only couple living in our flat aren't THAT loud :)p ), and sometimes, they hear the same noises coming from an unknown flat. My friends never complained, as it wasn't THAT loud (you had to be completely silent, and even then, it was faint). The neighbours upstairs insisted it was us and said, "Well whoever it is, as long as it's quieter, it'll be easier for us to sleep." Fair enough, but he's still blaming it on our flat. :mad:

    My friends denied it but took my neighbour's crap anyway, and after I heard that they pinned this on us and we had to apologize, I went upstairs, knocked on their door, and told them straight up --- "It. Isn't. Us." My friends respected that I took authority, and the upstairs neighbours never complained again.

    If you continue apologizing and taking her crap, she'll keep coming up to complain. Apologizing all the time is admitting your guilt continuously. Why do you have to tiptoe around in order to please her? Ask your landlord to go into her apartment to take a listen. You should take a listen as well. If it isn't b.s., THEN apologize and work something out.
  9. raynegus macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    Sounds like my Dad (a drill sergeant in the marine corp for 20 years). I feel for you man. Hang in there.
  10. KingSleaze macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2004
    So. Cal
    As I work night shift and try to sleep during the day, I have the similar problem with most of my neighbors just trying to live regular lives.... However, I do have one neighbor who loves to blast his (c)rap music with the bass turned way up, and his window open. I shouted in the window for him to turn it down because it was shaking the walls and keeping me awake. I've only had to remind him a few times. The apartment managers have been made aware of my odd hours and my noisy neighbor.
  11. Macs R Us macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    Here on My Mac(s) in my house in the USA!
    Well its very simply... simply leave 20 Macs on there Door step every day ( I like to use LC's, but any will work) and just wait till they leave... Knowing all the people that I do, NO ONE want 20 Macs on there door step... I get mad when someone leaves a LC580 on my door step... I found it one moning... Aparnetly the abandoned Mac...
  12. TimDaddy macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2002
    Versailles, KY (and that's pronounced Vurr-sales)
    Night shift sucks, dude. I swear, one of these days, I'm gonna mow my yard right after I get home from work. (around 4:00am) I'll start right outside my neighbor's bedroom window!

    To the original poster- I'd tell the person downstairs "tough ****". Go buy a house. It is not your responsibility to tippy-toe around all day. As long as you aren't partying or doing cartwheels inside, I think you'll be fine. Unless the cops in your area are just ******s.
  13. AmigoMac macrumors 68020


    Aug 5, 2003
    Dude, talk to the management and talk to her, without apologizing, because you haven't done wrong, you must make her understand what a noisy floor you have because of the building and that you have been there the last 8 years and without people coming to knock the door or calling the management, get a certification from the management that you never had such a problem and make her clear that you wont move out, having such a normal life in an intermediate flat has to give and receive a good grade of tolerance, in the flat above ours there are 2 children and one of those wakes up during the night, crying... what will I do? nothing, I have kids... if you try to be polite and it doesn't work, just ignore her, and if the police come, tell them you have been living there the last 8 years... the last people above our flat were moving the whole night, really, and the last error they made was to take the laundry machine upstairs... :eek:
    3 days later they were out...
  14. Raid macrumors 68020


    Feb 18, 2003
    Hmm I remember a similar situation at university, my friend had a place with downstairs neighbours that complained of the noise all the time. Now you may think that since we were university students we might have gotten fairly rowdy... which is true, but only occasionally, and never what I'd deem as excessive. There's one instance that I can remember where we were 3 or 4 of us just got back from class and one of the guys went to the fridge and knocked over one of those "wet noodle" foam flotation things and it hit the floor. About 30 seconds later we hear this angry pounding at his door... it's the neighbour complaining about our "roughhousing”! It was 3pm and with the exception of my thirsty friend we all sat down in the living room!

    After that we got another friend (a film major) to bring in a boom mic, and the connecting recorder (and dB meter). We put the mic an inch off the floor in the center of the apartment (about 10 feet away from us with no obstructions) and we started to play Goldeneye. Eventually the neighbours came knocking and when we played back the tape. They identified the “noise” that they were upset about, and it came back at some low dB level, our film major laughed (apparently we made half as much noise as a normal vaccum cleaner). After the nieghbour heard our evidence she admitted that she only complained when the baby woke up (mind you this was her excuse for three years…kid must sleep a lot). We suggested that there maybe other reasons why her child was waking up and not to make us the scapegoats. After that we never heard her complain again.

    So applekid, do you know a film major that can spot you a mic? ;)
  15. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    Anyone else thinking of that "Friends" episode?

    I used to live in a house, now the middle floor of a 3 level apartment. People above, below, and on each side. I hear creaking, even in a newer building. Kids running around, people doing dishes, laundry, exercising. But it doesn't bother me much. Certainly doesn't keep me up at night, and I am a light sleeper as well as having really sensitive hearing. Even if somebodies TV is up a little loud, even when I try so hard to keep my TV and music down. But you better believe I complain if it's 3AM and I can hear what song they are blaring with the bass turned up way too high. Were that the case, it would be a legitimate complaint. Especially if it happened several times. Since this is not the case, it sounds like the woman needs to get an upstairs apartment. Squeaking is normal, especially in older buildings. It could be much worse.

    It sounds to me like the woman is used to being alone or in a quiet house. Either she enjoys the silence, or is just lonley. That happens. Maybe that apartment is all she could afford. Problem is, she doesn't really have a case. She is expecting silence, which is impossible. The only thing you can do is accept it. Do your best to work with the management to fix whatever minor problems there are. Try to be as nice to the woman as possible. She is already frustrated. If it gets too bad, make a complaint to the management that she is complaining. But more flies with honey, and all.

    Sorry, good luck.
  16. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    Your neighbor is being completely unreasonable about the noise levels that can be expected in an old apartment building. Apartment (or dorm) living means you live with a certain amount of background noise from your neighbors going about their daily lives.

    You, on the other hand, have been entirely reasonable, and maybe even too accommodating. At some point someone's just going to have to look this lady in the eye and say flat-out that with the floors being what they are, she can't expect NOT to hear you walking around. It's not like you're jumping up and down on the floor, tromping about in heavy boots, or making any particular effort to be loud. Basically, it comes down to: Tough, lady, that's the way it is, unless the landlord rips out all the floors and installs soundproofing.

    I do have some sympathy for your neighbor....I had a lot of trouble living in the dorms at college, because I'm an insomniac and a light sleeper. Even the smallest amount of noise from music, TV, or conversations was enough to keep me up, because my brain would automatically seize on the noise and try and make sense of it. But I knew that I was overly sensitive, and never complained. The difference is that your neighbor is somehow expecting a creaky old apartment building to conform to her sensitivity level, and it's just not gonna happen.
  17. applekid thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    Well, thanks for the replies and emotional support (including your comment, raynegus. A special thanks to you for the support on a different problem in my life :) ). It got me pretty worked up thinking about this whole situation.

    I've concluded that I will call the management some later this afternoon. I'll have to say they must've lost my record of a complaint ( ;) ), and I'm going to file a new one. I'm hoping their maintenance crew won't have to check it out, since they aren't too bright and probably will just shrug it off, too. I'm hoping all goes well and everything in my favor. I'm hoping they get some sort of letter or certification about how there's nothing I or the apartment can do.

    I'll check back here one last time before I make my phone call. I'm in no hurry, so all comments will be appreciated, in the mean time.

    And some random replies to some of the thoughts brought up:

    - I doubt my neighbor is lonely, but perhaps have some sort of sleep disorder. My neighbor does have a daughter that's in elementary school and she has a husband or boyfriend. It's odd how her husband or boyfriend hasn't complained to us. My dad and I had a nice conversation with him even though this was around the time she was complaining to us.

    - My mom is starting to take much quieter steps, but I don't think it'll last. She's really tip-toeing, but when she's cooking, there's no way she can stay quiet in such a cramped up kitchen.

    - I did think about recording the sounds of our footsteps and use it as evidence. But, I'm no sound or film major, so there's no way that's happening ;)

    - Right now I hear my neighbor's water running. How ironic? But seriously, you can hear people walk, sometimes talk, and definitely the pipes clanking and water running. So, nobody is in much of a position to complain about anything.

    - In my room, I feel like a prisoner at times when they're banging whatever it is to the ceiling. You can hear it from the other rooms and even feel the vibration for sometime. If the police are brought in, I'll definitely have to make a report and show them how crappy the floors are.

    To rickvanr:

    You could try making a complaint to the police and/or the landlords. My sister is a resident assistant (RA) at her school, and they had a cop come to a training session to burn all sorts of drugs so that they know what smells like whatever drug. You could have the police possibly bring in a drug-sniffing dog since there is some reasonable suspicion. It would help if you could get your neighbors to make some complaints, too. Then, the police would have better reasoning to check out your building. I don't know if that'll completely work, but I do believe a complaint to the police and/or management is a good start.
  18. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    My take on this is that you're being reasonable. You can't tip-toe around because your downstairs neighbor is a pain in the ass. You're not making noise on purpose, you're not exceeding any community noise laws, you're not doing anything for police to write up. The problem is your downstairs neighbor's, not yours, and anyone who would move into your apartment if you left would be noisier, I'm sure. If she can't handle it, she should move to a top-floor apartment.

    Best of luck, and keep us posted!
  19. PixelFactory macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2003
    I wouldn't lie about making a former complaint. Just let them know you intended to make make a previous complaint but hadn't had the time. You never know how good their records are and you want to be on the up side of this.
  20. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    rickvanr: i can see how that would be annoying, they should be a lot more respectful... probably a stoner that doesn't realize they're doing it. Don't assume it's somebody based on how they look, you'd be surprised at who smokes. Anyway if you don't want to call the cops, which is a bit drastic, you could definitely tape a note somewhere on the floor-- "If you're going to smoke, keep the smoke in your own apartment" or something... your other neighbors will probably appreciate it, and leave it up for a couple of days.

  21. applekid thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    Well, I called the landlord. She listened and made no remarks or comments at all. She was sending from maintenance over. However, an hour later no one came. I called again and she said they left for the day. :rolleyes: They're supposed to come tomorrow. I'll have to ask the maintenance guy for a note or something so that I have something to show if that lady comes up again... Assuming they say there's nothing they can do.
  22. nfocus design macrumors regular

    nfocus design

    Aug 3, 2004
    Well, apartment life just stinks. The last place I lived, I was on the second floor and the downstairs neighbors played their music so loud I couldn't hear my TV. My upstairs neighbors were always making some sort of noise. I know the floor creaks can't be helped sometimes, but these people were dropping something heavy (usually just above my bed). My apartment manager wouldn't do anything. As long as they paid the rent, they didn't care. They kept me up all night one night and I finally called the police early the next morning. They had 15 people (mostly kids) in that 2 bedroom apartment that night. Still the manager did nothing even though the police were called out. This was a pretty new complex and it wasn't cheap to live there. I've lived in cheap and expensive apartments and none of the management cared about what went on. As soon as my lease was up, I moved into a townhouse. It is so nice not having anyone above or below me. :D

    That woman just needs to get a life and stop bothering you. Doesn't sound like you aren't making loud noises. A little advice...if you move out on your own into an apartment, get the top floor at all cost.
  23. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you owned the apartment, they could probably get you to nail/screw down the floors and carpet the apartment.

    But since you do not own the apartment, the only solution is babypowder -- if you have the old wood floors.

    Dry babypowder should reduce the amount of squeaks -- from board-to-board and board-to-nail noise if spayed down into the cracks.

    Alas this won't get rid of the noises from people walking.

    Since she is such a PIA -- I probably wouldn't worry about it.

    It's the cost of living underneath an old apartment that hasn't been renovated.
  24. applekid thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003

    Well, one maintenance guy showed up today. He says he'll be coming tomorrow with his supervisor to check for noises from our floor to the downstairs.

    Unfortunately, if they find problems, they will have to pull up the carpet and/or the vinyl from the kitchen. :( Meh. That will require moving furniture, but he claims the management is quite "good" at doing that.

    Basically, the problem may be some of this sound-proofing concrete might be broken or worn out so they might need to replace it and fix the floorboards up. They do say that there is a thing called "apartment living," so if the sounds are reasonable, the lady downstairs has to deal with it. They said they'll have to work out details if we do indeed have to move things.

    They also added they never suggested to her to call the police.

    I don't like where this one is going.
  25. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Well, good luck to you. The best I can think of would be, after all is said and done and she still bugs you, file a harassment complaint against her. But that would be after the floor is checked, etc.

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