Are we inconsiderate/noisy neighbors?

nyc1_yumJanuary 29, 2010

My boyfriend and I live in a really old building that has no sound insulation. My downstairs neighbor has complained about our late night showers and toilet flushing. My boyfriend and I are students so we are up late working (usually no later than 2AM), but we are not noisy people. Since he has complained to us (not politely) about the noise we have tried to shower before 11PM and walk really lightly, but we still have to use the restroom. An acquaintance mentioned to us that after a certain time at night people usually refrain from showering and flushing the toilet. We tried not flushing the toilet, but it just wasnÂt workingÂitÂs pretty disgusting to have urine in the toilet over night. Even after we made these changes, our neighbor got pissed and banged at our door late one night and threatened my boyfriend. We called the landlord and went to the police next morning. The police said we have every right to shower, flush the toilet, and walk around the apartment as much as we can. The apt is not sound proof, but these are just normal everyday noises. If he is bothered by it, he should wear ear plugs or not live in an apartment. Are we being inconsiderate or is our neighbor being difficult? Other tenants in the building have had problems with this guy in the past. What should we do in the future?

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Live your life and don't try to appease people who won't be appeased. There is only so much you can do within reason, and then after that it becomes the problem of the complainer to try and deal with things. It's no more your fault than anyone's if the building is noisy, so if you're honestly trying to be careful, that's all you can do.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 4:56AM
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If you were blasting music at midnight or jumping rope at 2 am, your neighbor would have some cause for complaint. But normal activities of daily living? Nope.

It is very kind of you to change the times that you shower. That shows consideration and respect for your neighbor.

The toilet flushing--I do know some families where the noise made by the water flushing is enough to wake their kids up at night, so they follow the "If it's yellow let it mellow; if it's brown flush it down" rule after the kids go to bed. When I stay with them, I try to remember, but in the middle of the night when I'm half asleep, it's hard to remember not to flush, since it's such a routine motion.

Threatening you or your boyfriend is going beyond normal neighborly interaction. Good for you for notifying both the landlord and the police. Has the landlord given you any advice on how to deal with this person?

Don't start tiptoeing around. You should be able to live your life normally. If the neighbor makes contact with you again, contact your landlord. He/she needs to be aware that this person is threatening other tenants.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 10:49AM
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Yea seriously just the fact that you decided to not shower late or flush the toilet is more than considerate enough.

camlan mentions if you were blasting music or jumping rope at 2am, but hell, if you were blasting music or jumping rope at any time during the day it'd be grounds for a complaint (depending on your jurisdiction). I have an idiot neighbor who drums (mind you, we share a common wall), and I had to tell him not so nicely that that noise like that wasn't allowed in our city.

As it stands, you have every right to normal enjoyment of your home, which includes taking showers anytime you want and flushing toilets anytime you want. The noise it makes isn't your fault - it's the building's.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 3:30PM
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OMG, what are you supposed to do -- levitate over the furniture?? You're not jumping and pounding and playing loud music; you're just walking around normally. Sounds like that guy should be on a top floor if he is that sensitive about people walking over him. Not flushing is disgusting. I do not agree with your acquaintance who said that after a certain hour people do not flush. On what planet?!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 5:13PM
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Apartment life is sometimes very difficult. Everyday living noises are to be expected in an apartment, you can't not flush the toilet or take a shower....
Everyone has different schedules and so on, so you just have to be reasonable with the noise if it is after 10 pm, that is fair.....
Your neighbor sound like a royal pain in da arse......
and I agree with the above poster, I do not care what time it is, I am flushing my toilet. period and end of that. The last thing I want to see in the morning is, well, you know what......number 2......yucksville.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 8:56PM
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I donÂt see that you did anything wrong.

1. DonÂt have any more contact with this individual.
2. Keep a detailed log of what happened and when just in case you need to get the police or the landlord involved again.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 10:11PM
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I guess I'm strange because every day sounds of pipes and toilets and washers and dryers do not bother me one bit.I find the white noise to be sort of comforting,and it is a good thing because my walls are paper thin too! When the guy upstairs washes his clothes,it sounds like my washer is on and I have to check to make sure it is not sometimes.

I agree you shouldn't have to go tiptoeing around.Listen to the police,they know your neighbor can't complain for you using the bathroom!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 2:39AM
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Re noisy and inconsiderate. To answer your question, NO, you are not inconsiderate but whether you are "noisy" is really a subjective evaluation. As a landlord of an old building, I can tell you that the landlord is the one at fault here. He/she placed two normal young people, college students, above the apartment of a person who, apparently, keeps more conservative hours and is noise sensitive to boot! We put our young couples on the ground floor and everyone is happy. I don't like the way your neighbour has become the "meany" here. By all means criticise him for his rudeness but frankly, I would rather live in the apartment under him than under you! My advice to you, continue to do your best and be courteous. My advice to the complainer. Move! You can't win this one even though you have the right to the quiet enjoyment of your unit. Your landlord messed up! Try to get your name in for the next available unit on the top floor of the building or just leave.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 8:18AM
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Humewood makes a good point. The manager didn't use the best judgement in this situation and if there have been problems with this tenant before, then a young student couple may not have been the best people to put over this person. Does this mean I think you are being too loud? It seems from what you say that you aren't and that you are trying to be considerate. There is only so much you can do. Sometimes neighbors just won't mesh well. Managers will not always get it right when renting units - a prospective tenant mentions that he works an odd schedule that has them coming in at 3AM and the manager shows them a unit over an elderly tenant, for example. Some managers frankly could care less. I would pick my battle on this one and ask to be put on a list to move to another unit. If the guy is threatening you, just move on with your life. If he has done this before and the manager has not acted, I think you are in a losing situation.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 11:44AM
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My advise is to get yourselves a digital recorder and when he pounds on your door, hit record and record the entire conversation and if he threatens you or your boyfriend again, then call the police and you have the proof to back up what you are saying.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:49PM
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Well I am very shocked at what I am reading..because for just as many noisy neighbors in the world are neighbors that complain about everything and have caused anyone who has ever lived near them to move. My neighbors complain about me cleaning my carpets in the middle of the afternoon on a weekend, and if I am comforting my toddler and quieting him outside at 4pm my kids are in the bed at 8pm every night and wake at 7am every morning........i get complaints just walking up my own stairs in the middle of the day......I have been threatened and had to call the police and was even told by my complex that my neighbor below me is a serial what happens when u r trying not to make noise but noisy happens you cannot expect people to exist and not make a sound r u serious....if you would like it pin drop quiet at times that are convenient for you well that's when you buy or rent a single family home...right? I don't think anyone should be making loud noises at crazy times of the night but cleaning carpets in the afternoon on a weekend...really i mean really

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 10:44PM
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You agree that your building has no insulation. You admit being up till 2am but you say "you are not noisy". With all due respect you are on the top floor. Unless you are down in his apartment hearing what he hears you have no idea if its noisy or not. Whats normal living to you like walking, etc.. in a bad insulated building could sound like sheer torture for someone below you.

The fact that you admit that the building has bad insulation shows that you know the walls are thin thus there is the potential for noise more so if you are walking on poorly insulated floors above someones head. Therefore, there has to be some consideration given especially after a certain time and during sleeping hours. True the tenant was out of line in approaching you the way he did but it is obvious that there is some noise issues and he is not making this all up.

I'm not saying don't live your life and enjoy your apartment but there is an expected quiet time after a certain hour where people expect to have a measure of peace and quiet and 2am is well past that time limit. You may have late work hours but that is not your neighbors fault nor should he be forced to live with that. So while its true he might be a little overly sensitive you have to take into consideration that there is someone below you and curtail the noise after a certain hour. Otherwise I agree you are within your rights to live freely in your apartment.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:02PM
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I had downstairs neighbors that were ridiculously sensitive about noise too. Luckily I'd befriended them early which probably prevented some nastiness. I felt bad even when the floor would creak even though I am not a heavy walker. I was so glad when they moved out. So, I can sympathize! It seems like all you can do is continue to live your lives and if he crosses the line by threatening you, continue to report it. Walking, showering or using the bathroom in an apartment isn't illegal where threatening someone is. (At least to my knowledge it is.) Even though the police or the landlord may not do anything (or may not be able to) the more of a paper trail you make the better. I'd hope that at some point someone would see that paper trail and see the history of his behavior and do something about it. But I completely understand how uncomfortable this all must be for you! Some people have nothing in their lives to occupy their time so they have to nitpick at others.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 2:33AM
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I understand your dilemma. We are downstairs residents and got a complaint upstairs couldn't hear her tv for our noise. Loud music or tv. We do not even own a stereo or television. Makes me suspicious that the other resident may want to break their lease using us at their scape goat. It really did upset us. We live quietly and respect others as we would like to be respected.
Been there almost 5 yrs.. What bothers me is they told apt manager and we got a nasty letter on our door threatening eviction. No questions asked first. Manager said it is a form letter and not to get upset. I told him how can I not be upset with an eviction threat?! Curiously, our lease will be up in September and the apt manager was pressing us to sign a new lease well before the time it is necessary. I took the lease and asked when we needed to sign it and he said no rush. This is new management in the office now.

It is very frustrating. I called a legal service and he told me to respond to apt's letter with a letter and send it certified mail. That is just what I did.

Makes me feel unwelcome and harassed.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:35PM
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I agree 100% with what beentheredonethat said and the only solution I have ever found in such situations is to make sure I only rent a single level apartment. No one is above me and no one is below me.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 7:49PM
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