How to deal with savage neighbors?

daisybee631April 28, 2011

We love our apartment complex with the exception of our downstairs neighbors. They are super loud slamming everything in their apartment. They stomp around so hard the floors tremble with each dinosaur like stomp. They yell at the top of their lungs instead of speaking normally. It's as if they all have A.D.D. because 5 mins can't go by without hearing some disruption. They don't just stomp occasionally but it's like they walk back and forth nonstop all day. I don't think they ever sit down. They don't have jobs because on random days I have off from work, I hear the noises from early morning until late at night. It seems like they never leave the apt. so there is no break. Don't get me started on the food odors coming from down there. It's horrible and it's the same odor every single night!! It smells like burned roadkill. They open and slam their back sliding door dozens of times a day so that they can hang their ragged laundry along the balcony railings. No one else in the complex does this and the building is regularly manicured and seeing dingy clothes drying along the banisters makes the whole place look ghetto. What makes it so bad is the fact that their apartment is directly above the laundry room and there is no reason not to utilize the dryers. We've complained to the rental agency and directly to the neighbors about the noise with no results. When we tried speaking to the neighbors, they acted as though they couldn't speak English. Before anyone suggests that we move, please note that we were here first and we don't have any complaints against us. Even if we transfer to a different apt. we have to pay the transfer fee. So not fair since we've done nothing wrong. Please, please, please help?

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Savage? Sounds personal.

Anyhow, your leverage is the ability to leave. Your landlord's is the path of least resistance.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 4:37PM
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To start, you need to document the noise. Just grab a notebook and start making entries. "May 10, 11 pm. Stomping and music loud enough to wake us up and prevent us going back to sleep." "May 11, 2 am. Stomping, slamming and yelling woke us up. Continued for 1 hour."

Next, what did the rental management say when you brought this issue to their attention? Did they say they could do nothing, or did they commit to doing something? Which they may have done, but which had no effect?

After that, what does your lease say? Is there any clause about noise, or odors or hanging things off the balcony? (Every lease I've had has clearly stated that nothing could be hung from either the windows or the balcony. If they are in violation of any specific part of the lease, bring that to the attention of the management.

Now, with at least one week's documentation in hand, go back to the management. Remember, management only knows if there's a problem if you tell them there's a problem. If, after your first complaint, they called or wrote to these tenants, they will consider their job done. Unless you come back and tell them that the noise is still on-going, management has no way to know that there's still a problem. Most places have a system for dealing with problem tenants. There may be an oral warning, one or two written warnings, a final warning, and then eviction, which can take a couple of months, depending on the state where you live. And the management may not be able to tell you exactly what they are doing and when, just that they are following the rules for dealing with problem tenants.

So, for as long as the noise continues, go see management every week, bringing a copy of your documentation with you. Your goal is to make it easier for management to deal with your problem upstairs neighbors than it is to deal with you. By that I do not mean that you should be rude or threatening to management, just that you should be very, very persistent that the problem is not *your* problem, but a building problem and one that management needs to fix.

You know, you have an ace up your sleeve. If, after a month or two of this, the noise hasn't stopped, you could always ask if they would let you move to a different unit and waive the transfer fee. They might say no, but then again, they might say yes, just to stop your weekly visits to their office. But I wouldn't start out with that, but keep it in reserve.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 5:33PM
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The situation, as presented, isn't a simple HOA/Mngm't issue. It's full of outrageous personal attacks, generalizations and exaggerations. 'We were here first' is a playground defense. OP's venting aside, there's no objective facts to go on.

Renters are rarely aware of their rights b/c they don't read the lease, much less have a lawyer review it. It's good advice to be persistent and kind than threatening even once. Of course, we can't draw any specific conclusions without knowing the state and area. I think renters assume the landlord needs/wants the building full but it's not always the case.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 6:46AM
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