Please help! I am being harrassed by my downstairs neighbor.

starrywingzMarch 17, 2013

I am having an issue with my downstairs neighbor. The walls in this apartment are so thin that you can hear everything. It is impossible not to hear your neighbor. She is starting to harass me if she hears me at all. She has cursed at me for dropping a bag of tortilla chips before. She also gets upset if my cat runs across the floor. I have wall to wall carpet in my whole apartment and my cat is only 10lbs. She makes noise and apparently that is ok. I can hear her having loud sex, slamming things, playing her stereo, and yelling across the apt when she has her friend over. Apparently, her noise is just fine. I am afraid to even cook because if I accidentally drop a fork on the floor, I will be screamed at. I am not a loud individual. I do not play a stereo and if I watch a tv show I watch it quietly on my lap top. It is just me and my cat here. I have only had company over once. She has called the police on me for my cat running across the floor and me sliding my kitchen chairs across the floor at 7:00 PM. That is not even late.

Last night my cat ran across the floor and she started yelling. She had her friend over today and she started yelling to her friend that she is going to document every noise she hears from me and file a complaint and take me to court. I am not a loud person. She is hearing normal living noises which I hear from her all the time. She makes plenty of loud noises herself and has even woken me up before.

I feel so harassed. I am going to request to be transferred to a downstairs apt. I am hoping my landlord agrees. But can you tell me? Will a court do punish me for having a cat that runs across the floor and accidentally dropping something about once a week? My luck she will add some lies in there.

I also wanted to make it clear that my landlord knows I have a cat and has stated that she can not understand why my neighbor gets upset because my neighbor has a cat too.

This post was edited by starrywingz on Sun, Mar 17, 13 at 19:46

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Contact your landlord about this harrassment, just so he/she knows. Ask if there is anything you can do to reduce the noise coming from your unit. There probably isn't, but this will show that you are willing to work on the problem.

Then keep a log of everything the downstairs neighbor does, and what you did that caused her reaction. You drop a fork, she calls police. Cat jumps from couch to floor, she bangs on ceiling. Record the day and time as well.

In fact, document everything. Every contact with your landlord, if the police come, etc. It can't hurt. And look up any laws or ordinances for your town/city about noise. Make sure you are following them--you probably are, but just check to make sure. Same with your lease. Make sure you know if there are any clauses about noise or quiet hours. Again, I personally don't think you are violating them, but in a case like this it helps to know what the rules are. That way, if she does convince the police to show up, you can inform them that quiet hours are 10 pm -6 am (or whatever), and you were moving your kitchen chair across the floor at 7 pm, well within the time limit.

What did the police say/do when she called them? Did they come out? Did they speak to you?

In order to take you to court, one of two things needs to happen. The police will need to determine that you have broken a law. Or the neighbor will need to find a lawyer willing to take on the case and bring a suit to court. The chances of either one happening are slim.

This woman needs to be in a top floor apartment, but I doubt that she'll ever move. Keeping my fingers crossed that the landlord will let you move to another unit. I don't think it needs to be a downstairs unit, unless you want one. I'd hope that other people in your building are more understanding of normal, common, everyday noise.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:24AM
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The police did nothing when she called them because they did not hear the noise. They told me that they could only ticket me if they heard noise outside the building. My neighbor wants to file a complaint with the town and take me to the town's court so that I will be fined. I contacted the municipal building after my post and they told me that she can not file a complaint for a cat running across the floor. My neighbors main problem is the noise my cat makes, at least I think it is. So I am not as worried anymore because my cat is not breaking any noise ordinance. I put felt tips on my kitchen chairs so they should not be an issue anymore.

And I hate to say it but I have dropped items early in the morning before. I dropped my keys in the hallway outside my door when I was locking up the other day at 8:00 am, once I dropped a make up jar lid in my bathroom at 7:00 am, and once my cell phone fell on my kitchen floor at 6:00 am. These are not things I have done on purpose or that I could have prevented. If I could have predicted or prevented them then I would have done so. These are normal living sounds. Crap happens sometimes.

At this point, all I am going to do is see if I am allowed to transfer to a downstairs unit. I want to move downstairs so my cat can play all he wants. If not, then I will let my neighbor know that I tried to transfer apts but I the manager won't let me. Perhaps she will move when her lease is up if that is the case.

This post was edited by starrywingz on Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 19:31

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 7:00PM
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In order for your neighbor to take you to court--any court--she's going to need proof that you are doing something wrong. Just going down to Town Hall and complaining that your cat runs across the floor is not going to cut it.

If you are really worried, go down to Town Hall yourself. Find out who would deal with noise complaints and talk to them. They can tell you a) if it is even possible for a noise complaint to go to town court (I'm sorry, but we don't have a town court where I live so I don't know what type of cases they handle) and b) if what you are doing would qualify for town court and c) what type of evidence this neighbor would have to have in order to press charges against you. Getting the facts might give you some peace of mind.

Dropping an object or two occasionally is not enough for her to take you to court. Dropped stuff happens. There's this sound that comes from my upstairs neighbors on weekend nights around 11:30, after I've gone to bed. I think it is their hide-a-bed being opened. It's loud and it's right over my head. But although it sometimes wakes me up, it is not something to complain about--it is normal daily (or weekly) noise.

Noise complaints rarely get taken to court, and only when a law has been broken. You are allowed to make normal sounds of daily living in your own apartment.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 6:19AM
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No need to tiptoe around. If she can't deal with normal everyday noise, that's her problem, not yours. Live your life, don't walk on eggshells for her.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 11:42AM
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When I said I called the municipal building, I meant town hall. Town hall is called the municipal building where I live. I called them and they said that my cat is not breaking any ordinances. I want to thank both of you for responding. It helps to get other people's input.

This post was edited by starrywingz on Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 17:09

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 5:08PM
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If your building has any other units available, ask the landlord if you can switch. The situation isn't likely to get better, and it sounds unbearable. I will never ever live in a place with anyone above or below me again after doing so in the past.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:08AM
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I doubt you can get into any legal trouble for noise associated with "every day living". I'd say her harassment is affecting your quality of life, and it'd be you who could possibly file a complaint against her. I'd call the cops on her, and say you are in fear, due to her harassment. Turn the tables on her, so to speak ~ but more importantly get it on record with the police that this woman may be a mental problem for the community.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:01AM
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This woman sounds crazy. See if they can transfer you to another apartment in a another building. I would not even waste my time dealing with her. The police probably are familiar with her antics, am sure this ain't the first time she had conflict with an upstair neighbor. I would not let her dictate how I live my life. Like the other poster said do not walk on eggshells, you pay your rent so you are entitled to walk around and live your life. I personally would not entertainment this woman, she is obviously not working with a full deck.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:03AM
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Why don't you see if SHE can move to another unit? Why should you have to go thru all that hassle?

Did the previous tenants of that apt ever complain about noise the way she has? I'd bet not.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 12:41AM
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i'd love to see the record of your landlord, with this and other she does this to keep the unit empty...wonder what she'd do if you dropped a fork during her "private moments", lol...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:35PM
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