Being non renewed - any options?

LInyBobFebruary 9, 2011

Not at all surprised that I received a notice of non renewal today. The single, elderly lady downstairs has complained to the office of the complex I live in about "excessive noise" coming from my upstairs apartment from my kids. Even a couple of complaints when we were 250 miles away up skiing! But they never investigated themselves, just took her word.

My kids visit 2X a week and every other weekend. They are asleep by 10pm. They are 11 and 13, boys. I am always with them, supervising. Yes the older one does sometimes tease the younger one but I immediately put a stop to it. The only sounds from our place are during the days on weekends (every other) and two nights a week, over by 8:30pm. The younger one plays video games with headphones in the living room, the older one is always in the bedroom with me, playing on his own computer. It is always this way.

It is not like I have parties or people over till 3am. Or that I blast the music. The kids are not allowed to have friends over. We all go barefoot and talk in very low inside voices. We are quiet and considerate but they are kids and are not books.

So - do I have any options to fight this? If I move it will be much further from my kids and will affect my time with them. Any options? This is a "family" complex and not an over 55 place. I have asked my attorney to look into this.

Second - if it really is a lost cause - should I show her what noise really is? Should I pull out the stops and give her noise for the last 4 weeks I'm here, even though, actually noise bothers me and is totally against my personality. I am actually a quiet, introverted person and do anything to avoid trouble. Yet, now, I feel like jumping off the bed at 2am or blasting the subwoofer and show her how good we really have been. Yeah it is stupid, but moving will cost me at least $2000 in agents fees and movers fees, etc.

And to have complaints about noise when we weren't even here. Incredible.

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So - do I have any options to fight this? In my experience, no. If a contract has come to the end of it's agreed upon term, it's technically finished. I don't see how one party can force the other party to renew or extend that contract if it's not their desire to do so. But let your attorney be the final answer on that one, they are the expert. My attorney & I had a discussion early on about this very thing. We touched upon advantages & disadvantages of various types of leases, how to get out of bad situations easily, etc. Non-renewal is an easy out. All that is required is proper written notice. Could give them any reason (uncle Bob's getting paroled and needs a place) or no reason at all, because for non-renewal no reason is required. I am simply opting out of any further contract term with that party.

I imagine in their minds it's the easiest way to resolve an ongoing problem, and for whatever reason they chose to side with your tattling neighbor. (Maybe they didn't renew her either, who knows.) If she stays, unfortunately her behavior will likely continue, so they haven't really resolved a thing. If she sees you moving it's only going to make her feel more empowered and now they've created a monster.

Have you completely ruled out renting a house? Mine are of the starter home variety (2/3 BR). I keep tabs on local rents, including apartments. My rents are in line with houses but also what many complexes (around here) charge. Might be worth a look? Your boys could be boys and no worries about someone a wall or floor away.

Still I do feel bad for you. Maybe your lawyer will have something. And you have nothing to lose by trying to change LL or mgmt's mind by communicating with them one more time (in writing). Your writing comes across as mature & businesslike, not immature & whining, so that's a big plus. Do you have any receipts from that ski weekend with your name on it (e.g. motel, lodge)? Explain your living situation with your boys, that you would do nothing to jeopardize the precious little time you have with them as it is. Explain you only want to live your life quietly and in peace. (Maybe show your willingness to cooperate by indicating you would be receptive to them investigating a complaint at the time it occurs? ) Definitely include a copy of a receipt as an illustration that complaints occurred while you were out of town, and ask them to compare it to records of complaints on file for that same time period. (They should be keeping records or notes, hopefully.) Don't mention "lawyer" in your letter, it will boomerang. And I'd suggest not complaining about her. They don't want to hear more bickering. Spin it so you calmly, maturely, in a business-like fashion explain your situation and having unwarranted complaints to deal with has been frustrating because you're more than willing to cooperate on any level. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 7:23AM
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I would make her life hell for the remainder of my time there. If she doen't call the police at least once, you're not trying hard enough. Do you really want to live there anyway if this is the kind of nonsense you have to put up with?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 2:22PM
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To moonshadow: Thanks for the compliments. I have tried VERY hard to be a considerate neighbor and have spoken to the guy in the management office. I have requested to be allowed to move to another unit in the complex and even to have her switch units with me! I have agreed to have anyone go into her place at the time of the "noise" to corroborate her story and have agreed to leave immediately if they agreed with her. (Of course, how long does a yell last?) The noise is not sustained beyond maybe 30 secs. on a weekend afternoon because I am right there and I stop any fights immediately. Unfortunately mgmt agrees with her and I've gotten my non renewal letter.

Really I am tired of walking on eggshells. The place isn't that great.

To daveho: As much as I hate to do it, I've started! I HATE noise myself and it is tough to be a noisy neighbor as it is not at all in my blood. But this AM at 5:30, I cranked up the TV to 50, blasted a radio and jumped off the bed onto the floor three times. Really, the noise was getting to me, but I tried to keep it up. I have 6 weeks to go and I plan on doing something like this until my last day. I have begun running up and down the stairs and walking hard on my heels. I'll be in great shape when I leave. If she wants to know what "excessive noise" truly is, I'll show her. That is, if I can take it!

I've tried so hard to keep the kids quiet - no shoes allowed, no friends allowed, we only are allowed to whisper, headphones on at all times - yet what do I get in trouble for? My kid running to the bathroom barefoot at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon when he forgot the rules!

I'll be glad to get out of here.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 8:42PM
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LInyBob, I'm sorry this happened to you. You seem like a considerate guy who just happened to be living above a very sensitive person.

However, I'm going to be a buttinsky here. I think you should stop making noise just to irritate your downstairs neighbor. At least until you find a new place to live. If you need to give the current management as a reference in order to rent anywhere else, you don't want them telling the new landlords that you deliberately blast the music and jump up and down.

What I'd do in your case is stop the excessively quiet behavior--no more tiptoeing, no more gong barefoot or using headphones.

But being deliberately noisy just doesn't sound like you, not from the other posts you have made here. And I don't think, in the long term, it's going to do you any good.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 8:48AM
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Maybe it feels good to be the guy they said you were? Though cost dictates a lot, here's to hoping you find a place that has other families so your kids can, well, be kids.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 9:43AM
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I'll be glad to get out of here.

Based on your posts, I bet you will be. So let's hope this bad situation will be the catalyst to a far better environment for you and your boys. (You know, one of those deals that just seems excruciating at the time but in hindsight turns out to be the best thing that could happen? ;) It just can't be fun living that way. Good luck! Keep us posted?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:53PM
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As camlan said, your next landlord will want to call for a refrence so don't make extra noise until your new place is set.

Also, don't lower yourself to revenge noise. It wont help and wont make you feel better.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 8:08PM
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I've located another place. It is top floor, as I feel safer there. I've clearly let the owner know I have kids and they do play. I asked if I should clear it with the tenant down below, but the owner said the other tenant has no say in the matter. The owner has met both kids. It is a legal two family house, and I've been totally honest as to letting the owner meet both my kids and explain that the current downstairs neighbor said they were noisy, which is why I'm moving. Totally honest and open.

I am thinking of going alone to talk to the downstairs tenant, but she is a single Mom with a kid of her own, so maybe it will be OK.

My attorney says I could possibly sue the complex I'm in under ADA issues, as my older kid has ADHD, is in special ed, and I told the management company he had "issues" controlling himself, although I am constantly present too.
Maybe, but I've had enough. Even though moving will cost me $1000s in fees and expenses.

I have tried to make maximum noise, but I just can't keep it up. I can't stand the noise myself and I hate annoying people. I am back to walking quietly and hushing the kids. It's just how I am. Sorry. I just can't do it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 9:07PM
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