Downstairs neighbor yelled at me! =o

chicagochickMay 24, 2006

Here's the story:

My fiance and I have been at our new apartment for barely a week.

Things have been good so far, I met the downstairs neighbor last week, no big deal.

Well, yesterday, the guy downstairs came pounding on our door complaining that our tv was too loud.

It wasn't.

We were watching a baseball game in the living room and it was 8pm!

It wasn't a party either, only me, my fiance and my brother.

Here's the kicker: He went on-and-on about how he "doesn't wanna hear walking around, or a loud tv" !!!

What??!

He lives in a basement apartment, so there's gonna be some noise.

It hasn't even been a whole week and he's already complaining!

I should point out that our whole apartment is carpeted so I have no idea what he's saying about us walking around loudly.

I was really shocked at his attitude.

I mean, I don't even know the guy and he's 1)Banging on our door, 2)Demading and putting "rules" on us, 3) Seriously yelling at me and telling me how he "works long hours".

It seriously freaked me out.

Now, do you think that I should tell our landlord what happened or just let it pass?

I'm just afraid that he's going to make up lies about us to the landlord telling them how supposedly loud we are.

We're comfortable in our apartment, we just moved in, but I'm foreshadowing rough waters ahead with my weird downstairs neighbor!

Help!

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talley_sue_nyc

yes, I would tell the landlord--you want to "manage" this situation.

But...you don't want to sound whiny or complaining, either.

So, you tell the landlord about the conversation, but don't try to make the guy look bad. Make these points:

1) the guy talked to you about noise

2) you had intended to be quite reasonable, and you thought you weren't making excessive noise--it was 8pm, it was a ballgame, the volume was at whatever level that you thought was reasonable (you couldn't hear it in your own kitchen, for example, or whatever is true)

3) you want the landlord to know that you'll make every effort to take reasonable steps to be accommodating neighbors--you'll keep your TV volume so that it's not audible in any room but the LR, you'll remove shoes perhaps, and pay some attention to how you walk.

(I have a niece who makes the floor shake and I can hear her footfalls across the room, with or without shoes, and even if there is carpet--I always wonder why their landlord who lives downstairs has never said anything to them. So remember that heavy walking isn't JUST about carpet or shoes.)

4) then say to the landlord: this guy was angry already--hammered on the door, and really sort of yelled at us. We've only lived here one week, and we didn't *think* we were out of line, so we're a little weirded out that he's so mad, and so rude, already. Does he have a history of complaining? or of getting really angry? Did you ever hear that he had any problems w/ the previous tenants over his head? is he maybe transferring his "mad" at them, over to us? Is he sort of hair-trigger about noise?

5) also ask, "do you have any advice for us? about how to keep noise down, or about how to deal with him? About how to tell whether our activities are reasonable? Because while we don't want to be rude to him, we also don't want to tiptoe around our house and sit 2 feet from our TV. Let us know what you think we could do."

You'll look like such reasonable tenants who want to get along, and if he ever goes to the landlord, he'll be angry and belligerant, and he won't look quite as credible.

I have been known to point out to people who live in the bottom floor, they have no worries about the person below complaining, and I think that can make them much less tolerant of the folks above, and they just have no clue how hard it can be to never be heard. Sort of like folks on the top floor don't have any evidence to tell them how easily sound transmits, bcs no one is up there walking around.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 6:27PM
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lin1886

I also think I would tell the landlord. You could do it in an informative sort of way, "just wanted to let you know what happened with the neighbor" kind of thing and tell the landlord you don't want to cause trouble with the person but just thought you'd mention it? That way the landlord will know what happened before this neighbor can make up stories and make you look bad when you aren't...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 8:16PM
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robertgp421

Tally_Sue's advice is great. If you approach your landlord quietly and from a position of trying to head off trouble, I think you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.

Regarding "noisy" walking - my wife is tiny and when she comes down a set of stairs or walks across a room, you'd think a maurauding army is on the march. I'm a lot heavier and can walk across a room and not creak a floorboard (years of my dad hollering about "stomping"). Do pay attention - don't be self conscious, but listen as you and others walk across the floor and see if you notice anything.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 9:48PM
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gorillabuilder

Buy yourself a 1/2 of double and be your own landlord... It will probably be cheaper than your rent.
If you can't do that.... tell the landlord. Also, you should have told that guy off that it's your place, your rent, and quiet hours are at "look it up in your lease or city". Don't let this guy bully you. He already got away with it by telling off 3 people to silence. Now he's empowered and going to get more cocky.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 1:01AM
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chicagochick

Thank you all for the great advice.
I will take the advice given here and definitely tell the landlord but in a calm, reasonable tone.
Like I said before, we're really liking the apartment, the block is quiet with tree-lined streets and we plan on staying put.
I only hope me speaking to the landlord will difuse the tension/situation.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 10:02AM
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talley_sue_nyc

if you really want to defuse things, remember that the main audience isn't actually your landlord but your neighbor.

You don't want to cave in to him, but the more reasonable and pleasant you seem in his eyes, the less grounds he'll have to escalate tensions.

You might get yourself ready w/ a plan shoudl this happen again (so you don't have to think on your feet but can follow the script).

He complains about the TV, then you should say, "oh, can we come down and hear what it's like from your apartment? Because you can see from being here int he room, the TV is not that loud--we can't really hear it in the kitchen. So it'll help us to know what it sounds like downstairs."

Ditto on the walking--if you sort of demonstrate that you're trying to understand where he's coming from, it might make him less likely to blame you without even thinking about you as people. So tell him you'd like to hear it from his point of view, and take turns listening to one another walk through the floor.

Of course, you don't want to say, "gee, it doesn't sound that loud to ME!" bcs that'll piss him off, but you could say, "well, it sounds about the same as our upstairs neighbor, it may just be this building" or even, "gee, that's interesting. Thanks for letting us hear it." without having to apologize and promise something you can't or won't deliver (because you're not going to tiptoe, of course).

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 10:21AM
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chicagochick

I was initially happy because of the fact that it's not an apartment complex, but a house.
He lives in the basement, we live on the first floor and the attic is unoccupied.
I thought to myself, "great, there won't be a lot of noise coming from upstairs or downstairs neighbors."

I seriously think though that this guy just has an attitude.
I forgot to mention how he introduced himself.
Last Friday night, 9pm, we (my sis, myself and fiance's sis) were eating dinner in the living room when I hear a banging on the door.
We all looked at eachother kinda surprised because of the way he was knocking and because it was past 9pm.
So I open the main door, not the screen door, and his first words were "don't freak out".
Huh?!
I told him, "oh well, you're banging on the door, it's dark, and I couldn't see who was there".
That was our introduction, if you could call it that.
I don't know.
I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it, I just wanted to know what to do in case it happens again.

Thanks again for all the advice.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 3:55PM
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educator

He's probably had with it a succession of rude upstairs neighbors who don't take the time to introduce themselves and immediately start party central. It's your duty as the newbie to introduce yourself and set up boundaries.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 4:41PM
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dreamgarden

Someone who comes knocking after 9pm to introduce himself and then tells YOU to "not freak out" sounds like someone you want to be careful with. Are you and your fiancee younger? How old is this guy? Like educator said, maybe he has had one noisy person too many ruin his peace and quiet.

Try to introduce yourself when the landlord is there. Let him make the introduction and reiterate to both of you what the expected "quiet times" are.
This way the neighbor isn't playing landlord and you will both be on "official" notice about what constitutes reasonable/unreasonable noise.

As for the TV, sometimes the bass on these things can be heard down the block. Is it possible to put your TV on something (or in another part of the apt) that will help muffle the sound? Find out what hours your neighbor works so you can try to be considerate of his sleep schedule.

Be polite, but not too friendly so you can maintain a respectful distance until you know what kind of person he is. Especially since he is being so proactive about setting the tone early.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 11:58PM
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ines_99

Here is my opinion-- someone who is so sensitive about noise shouldn't be living in an apartment, let alone a basement apartment. I have been on both ends of this situation and it can get ugly, or be at the very least a tense living situation. Some people can be downright inconsiderate - I had a neighbor BELOW me once who thought nothing of bringing people home from a bar and continuing the party, loud music included, at 3 am. For the most part, i have been the quiet tenant, and I have a home now but the last 3 rentals I had, I was on the top floor or rented a single home. Then you can make as much noise as you want and have the quiet when you want that too.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 6:49PM
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krustytopp

Hope your landlord is reasonable about this situation.

Once, just after the new owner had visited my building, the tenant below me complained about noise. I admitted that I had been told by family members that I walk like a baby elephant, and that I would put down rugs. However, the complaint seemed a bit fishy to me because the guy said he heard "banging at all hours of the night" when I was normally asleep. The superintendent later told me that the downstairs tenant had a mental illness and had a history of making false complaints to the police. The super told the new landlord that I was a model tenant. I don't know how the guy downstairs was dealt with, but I never heard another complaint.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 7:54PM
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chicagochick

Hey there, well, to answer some questions,
this downstairs neighbor is around the same age as me & my fiance (we're 27 & 31)
I mean, I could understand if he were an older gentleman, but he's not.
Also, we all moved in around the same time.
So it's not like this guy downstairs had been there long before we got there.
Like ines_99 stated above, if this guy doesn't like noise, he shouldn't be living in a BASEMENT apartment.
I guess that's just my view on this whole thing.
There hasn't been a situation since, but I did see him going into his car as I was coming home from work one day.
Of course, he didn't say "hi" or anything.
He just quickly looked away.
I have to say that made me sorta laugh to myself.
However, when my fiance saw him one day, the guy actually said "what's up" !! Huh??
Oh well.
I only hope that things don't get worse!!

Thanks for the advice and words!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 5:08PM
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donslilz

tell the landlord as soon as you can, but make sure you really arent being loud. Apartments are usally made of walls and floors that are simply just drywall which will act as an amplifier for noise. (we should shoot drywalls creator) so if it's not so loud for you, it may very well be loud for him, which in the end everyone loses, i know i am the downstairs tenant who is leaving my lease six months early and losing my security deposit because of rude neighbors above.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 2:31AM
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