Upstairs (me) vs downstairs (them)

RoxyCal2May 31, 2012

I need some confirmation/guidance/sanity check on my current situation as the downstairs neighbor and I got into it yesterday :(

I bought my first condo Sept 2011 and moved in shortly thereafter. Downstairs neighbor, lets call him J, came up and introduced himself with the caveat that he can hear me walking around my unit. I told him I wasn't aware of walking too loudly (like stumbling home after a bar or anything) and that maybe my dog (who is 20 lbs) was the cause of the "noises." I basically looked at him like he had two heads and decided I would try to walk even quieter than I already thought I was doing. Months go by and the occassional ceiling bang happens. Usually when I'm not doing much so I don't know if he is punishing me for an early "transgression" or if he thinks I'm making noise. Then a formal letter from the HOA board came which said "we received word you are making excessive noise (by walking too loud so I knew it was him) and that my dog barked all the time (not true since my next door neighbors haven't had any complaints)." Then last night happen. He bangs and I stomp back. He came up and we had it out. He is a renter and I'm an owner. I said I'm an adult, I don't stomp (well except when I acted out) and that I had no reason to do that in the unit that i OWN!! We had some words with each other and nothing is resolved. I don't think it will ever be. Others have an issue with this? Especially upstairs people? Please let me know these things work out eventually. Maybe he will move? Though he said he has been there for 6 years and I'm the only one he has had an issue with...yay me :(

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Well, it was not a good idea to lose your temper with him, because you have lost the upper hand in the matter.

What were you doing when he banged last night? Sitting quietly, watching TV? Practicing your tap dancing? Teaching the dog to fetch? If you were walking around, now you know what bothers him. Is there anything you can do to lessen that type of noise?

What have you done to lessen the noise, other than to "walk even quieter?"

Do you wear hard-soled shoes in the house? If you have hardwood or tile floors, have you put down some area rugs in the high-traffic areas?

I can't tell from your post if you are creeping around silent as a mouse, or if you are making a significant amount of noise when walking.

But what I'd do is first check the HOA guidelines to see what consequences there could be from that letter. I suspect you might be hearing from them again soon.

Then I'd make a plan to reduce the noise coming from my unit. Bare feet or soft-soled shoes only. Carpet or area rugs in the high-traffic areas, with thick padding to help reduce the noise.

I'd ask the downstairs guy if there are any particular times of day that the noise is more bothersome or any particular places where it seems louder. Then, if possible, I'd try to fix that, but only if possible. And I'd use what he told me to determine if I were the cause of the noise or someone else--noise can travel in strange directions in a building and it might be the unit beside you or beside him that is making the noise.

And I'd get a sound-activated recorder and leave it on all day to see exactly how much the dog barks.

Then I'd send a letter to the HOA outlining the steps you are taking to reduce the noise.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Camlan - Losing my temper was the last straw. I have taken what I term his abuse long enough. I was watching tv when he banged. My dog was scratching at the couch. But he is not consistent in when he bangs - I once got up at 2am, barefoot from bed, to use the restroom. That certainly didn't warrant his reaction. I have carpets, no hardwood. I don't wear shoes in the house. You seem to be implying that I should just float around my condo like the witch he thinks I am.
I am walking NORMAL and tiptoe at times....

I went to an HOA board meeting and brought the letter up. They basically shrugged it off and said every upstairs/downstairs neighbors have that issue. I wrote them again today to let them know what happened but I don't exactly have the option of moving nor do I want to. Just wish I could have afforded a single family home without this nonsense.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 8:05PM
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"You seem to be implying that I should just float around my condo like the witch he thinks I am."

No, just saying that you didn't give us enough information to go on.

I've had unreasonable downstairs neighbors, too. One that didn't want me to vacuum any time other than between 8 am and 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, because he was at work then and wouldn't have to hear it. Only problem was, I was at work then, too.

My suggestion would be to ignore his poundings, unless you are actively making noise at the time, in which case, it would be the neighborly thing to do to either stop the noise-making activity or end it as soon as practical. If he storms up to your place, either don't answer the door, or if you do, keep your temper and just keep repeating the same thing over and over, "I'm not sure what noise you heard. I was sitting on the couch and the dog was sleeping. Maybe you should check with some of the other neighbors."

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 7:09AM
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Hi Roxycal2: I think this downstairs neighbor has the problem. You are not making unreasonable noise. You are careful how you walk so I doubt you are heavy on your heels- I've had heel stompers live above me that made my lamp fixtures shake, but that's how they walked and I lived with it. This guy should get ear plugs if he can't handle the normal everyday noises of apartment/condo living. I think you should vaccuum whenever he bangs on the ceiling! You certainly have the right to clean your place- as long as it is during resonable hours. God forbid you play your stereo! I am sandwiched between upper and lower neighbors and also inbetween so I put up with alot of "normal" noise. The ones who have all out wild parties every weekend are the ones who get the complaints.
Good luck with this guy.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 12:49PM
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No matter what areas of life, you will always encounter people who are complainers and will be unsatisfied with everything. Unfortunately, he is one of them.

Perhaps you are a loud walker. My GF is an extremely loud person, including walking, closing doors etc. and she is not doing it intentionally, but I have to remind her to be quiet, especially if it's late at night and I don't want to wake others.

Another option is to get carpet or rug if you sincerely want to make this work, but that is going the extra mile.

Hope it turns out OK!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:11PM
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The problem is the construction of the apartment buildings. Condos and Coops are built very poorly unless they are "historic" buildings. Also if landlords(& GC's) renovate they do it cheap & fast and do not put in the proper thickness of sheetrock. Many years ago well built apartments had thick plaster walls. I've been in some of them, you don't hear any noise from neighbors. These buildings were built to last not like the %^#*@ that has been built since the 60's.
When the girl downstairs from me renovated it sounded like the workers were standing in front of me in the kitchen. Unacceptable. She was told(by us) to increase the sheetrock thickness.
When I renovated I doubled the sheetrock on the adjoining walls of the bedroom(because the idiots next door use a microwave all night and it's positioned near my bed), put quiet rock AND sound insulation in the kitchen ceiling. My neighbors upstairs have their children up & running in the day and late into the night. I've had it out with them and their response is "you don't have children". My response was "take them to the park during the day and they won't be racing back and forth at 2am". It went well.
I take off my shoes and I will put throw rugs down once the renovation is done, I pity the fool who dares to say I make excessive noise.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:17PM
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You are not making unreasonable or excessive noise. I've been both a downstairs and upstairs neighbor, so I know both sides. I've lived underneath people who sound like they have concrete shoes, but I learned to live with it because that's apartment life. If he doesn't like it, he needs to buy a house in the woods somewhere.
As long as you're not jumping rope or lifting weights or bouncing a ball (I've had neighbors who did all of these things at all hours of the night), you should be fine. You would be hard pressed to find a landlord or property manager who would attempt to evict or fine someone who is just walking. Seriously, what's he going to say, "Gee your Honor, he was walking really loud and...yeah nope that's about it."
It sounds like your neighbor is being unreasonable, I would talk to the property manager or landlord or whatever and ask him to drop by the guy's apartment at a random time (so he knows you won't be "trying" to be quiet) and let him listen to you. Try putting down rugs if you have a hardwood floor, if you have a carpet...well just make sure you aren't wearing shoes in the condo. There's not much else you can do because this sounds like your neighbor is either very noise-sensitive or he's just being difficult and unreasonable. Better yet, tell him I'll trade with him. I'd rather hear your heavy steps than my neighbor's heavy metal.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 6:54PM
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There really are person who are really unreasonable complainants. They keep on complaining and complaining even for the smallest things and problems. You may just ignore them and let them complain for as long as they want..

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:29AM
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