Unreasonable noise from downstairs neighbors?(warn: drawn-out!)

alexpordiosApril 11, 2010

My boyfriend and I live in an old building (early 1900s) that has been converted into 2 apartments. We live in the upper level, and when we signed the lease in September, the bottom floor had never been used as a dwelling, but the raw high-ceilinged space had been infrequently by my landlord's husband a sort of office space that he would sometimes do work in. In October, a couple moved in downstairs. Our landlord had revamped the downstairs area somewhat and rented it out without so much as calling us to let us know; she needed the money apparently and so was renting out the downstairs as a loft or a "live-work" space. Part of the reason I was attracted to this apartment in the first place was the fact that it felt quite private and secluded, and now we were suddenly sharing the building with new people. This same landlord seems to have an issue with respecting our privacy; she once was having work on the roof done and didn't let us know, to my horror I found 6 construction workers tramping around on our deck at 10 am while I was in my pajamas. Another time she moved my bicycle without asking me because she felt I couldn't keep it at the base of our outside stairs leading down from our deck.

I understand she owns the building and can rent it out to whomever she chooses, but the story doesn't end here.

The downstairs neighbors are nice enough, we've met them and are on friendly terms with them, but they are noisy.

They blast bass music we can feel vibrating through the floors constantly and enjoy furniture making and sundry carpentry, utilizing drill presses, hammers, etc. They frequently like doing these things at the same time.

I've BEEN the noisy neighbor before(when I was young and immature) and I know how quickly things can escalate with noise complaints. I don't want to go there again. I reason that as much as we can hear of them, they, as downstairs residents of a place with extremely poor soundproofing(if any at all, since the downstairs wasn't meant to be lived in) can hear more of us, walking and watching tv and talking. As far as neighbors go, they're nice enough, but the noise issue has put me off to them entirely. I figure,too, that by not complaining about the noise, I reserve the rights to my own occasionally noisy moments (mid-day personal dance party? don't mind if I do!) etc. Overall my boyfriend and I are conscientious about the noise we might be making and keep volumes low, put rugs down on the hardwood floors, don't wear shoes in the house, and keep our stereo speakers elevated off ground.

However, we also don't build furniture or play loud bass-heavy music. Do we have a case if we go to our landlord and present to her the problem of soundproofing? Should the fact that we moved in before she started renting out the downstairs without telling us play into these discussions? Summer's coming, and neither of the 2 apartments have A/C, windows will be open, and the noise is only going to get worse. What should we do?

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All you can do is try - how are we to know any better about what response you might get? I don't think the time thing about you're being there first is valid in any way, however.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Talk to her and see if she will let you out of the lease, I dont think you have any other choice. Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:38AM
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I had the same problem...old house converted into 2 apartments/poor soundproofing (cheap LL. We lived in the downstairs..noisy neighbor up.)

Our LL did nothing to help. Talking to the girl upstairs did nothing. It got worse and worse. I had a full blown panic attack and we moved out (broke our lease but we were responsible for finding new tenants). I would talk to LL and explain what is going on. Keep a record of the noise and times coming from downstairs. Maybe try talking to the people downstairs.

I don't know..I have little faith in humans when it comes to being considerate (that and I'm in a bad mood this morning). If it gets to be too much you might have to bite the bullet and break it. Keep us posted

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:45AM
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