Noise complaint/harassment issues from downstairs neighbor

aliciar876May 19, 2013

Hey.. I was wondering if anyone had advice. For the past 6 months my down stairs neighbor has been filing complaints to the HOA on me regarding noise issues. I will admit his first compliant was ligit b/c my dog was barking at 5 am, but since that complain my dog hasn't done that since. He works nights from (8pm to 2 am) so when I"m up and moving around he is sleeping, I work from home so I am at my house most of the day. I have done everything in my power to not leave my dog alone for more than an hr at a time (my dog does suffer from seperation aniexty and I have working with my vet to get this under control) but nothing I do seems to please my down stairs neighbor. Last week I left my dog alone for an hr at 12 in the afternoon and I returned home to find a note on my door complaining about my dog. I have started leaving a recorder on when I leave my dog a lone just to see what she does and she does bark for may 2 or 3 mins but then stops. but just tonight I had relative of his that actually owe the condo he lives in some and "talk " to me about a resolution. SHe starting talking to me about when he parents lived in the condo and what they did to the person who used to own my place and how they had fees charged against him and even tried to sue him ... I felt like she was threatening me so I asked her if she was and her tone and attitude changed quickly. She kept saying how I needed to respect his "rest time" which happens to be from 5 am to 2 pm and how I need to be a respectful neighbor and that me making loud nosies at 12 in the afternoon isn't very respectful.
I feel like now no matter what I do nothing will please them. I have even gone to the extreme of keeping my dog at my parents house most of the week just to keep the peace but I dont feel like I should have to carter to him just b/c he chose to work at night and has to sleep during the day. I mean he chose to live in a place where he will have neighbor coming and going. The relative has even gone and starting talking to all the neighbors about me. I feel like I'm being harassed.
I'm I over reacting, or not doing enough to keep the peace, should I be quiet as a mouse during his "rest time". Any advice would be great.

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Has the HOA come to you about his complaints? It sounds like you are being harassed, his relative needs to mind her own business IMHO, she doesnt live there. He chose to live in a pet friendly place so he needs to learn to live with barking dogs. In my lease it states no loud noise between 10pm & 9am, doesnt your lease state that? I have a real nasty lady that lives below me and wakes me between 4-6 am every morning and when I tried to talk to her about it,she told me to get used to it, and the building mgr. doesnt want to get involved, so now I no longer respect her and I no longer try to be quiet for her, she was very foolish since I'm the one that lives above her and I can really make her live miserable if I want to. Good Luck, he makes you want to play ball with your dog doesnt he LOL.. I've thought of getting a bowling ball just to drop over her head, shame on me :>)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Does he ever complain about you and your noise or is it just the dog?

Because I'll be frank. Even one minute of my next door neighbor's dog barking can really interrupt my day. It's a pain in the neck, much more intrusive than footsteps or doors banging or music or tv playing at a normal volume. (And this is "next door" as in the building next door, and they let their dog out in the yard.) Barking directly overhead when he's trying to sleep is probably very annoying.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:51PM
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It seems like you have taken reasonable steps to keep the noise down. You cannot account for your neighbours odd work schedule and so long as you have done your due dilligence do not fret. Should this become a legal matter, continue to record your dog's noise levels when you are away. Also make sure to record the time of the day and keep these letters on hand. You can go out and file a complain with the authorities regarding the harassment if you would like but if it continues to escalate and you end up in court you might still end up on the winning side.

My advice is to stop worrying about it, at this point its not your fault.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 12:06PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice... I have spoken to my HOA board and they dont see the dog barking as a noise issue. They do have a quiet hrs b/t 10pm and 7 am, I always follow.
He has never complained about me just my dog. I do understand that dog barking from above you can be annoying, but when its not constant and happen frequently it should not be made to be a big deal. Dogs are going to bark when they hear noises.
EVen the HOA board said it was "impossible to keep a dog from barking when you are not home"
I am trying to respect his odd work hrs and that he sleeps from 5am to 2 pm, but I can't help when I have to leave at 12 noon and have to leave my dog at home b/c its getting to hot to take her with me. The recordings of her show that he doesn't bark constantly.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Look into sound insulation.

Here is a link that might be useful: sound proofing

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 12:59PM
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OMG, this is almost exactly whats happening to me! in my case however, the tenant is calling the landlord, and he's calling me. I finally sent him an email stating all the efforts we've made, dogs on meds, excersise, taking them with (unless its too hot), someone's home with them all day, etc and that the tenant has not made any effort at all. she rarely/if ever leaves the house (summer teacher) so its impossible to accommodate the issue completely. I finally did stop worrying about it, but the landlord calls every single time she calls him (she'll call 3 times for 1 issue)...I must say to him in a calm voice, "what do you want", and hope that he doesn't say..."for you to move out".....I'm totally stressed about it.
please advise!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Seems like your downstairs neighbour has an unreasonable expectation here. I mean, my neighbour makes some noise at night and I just use earphones with white noise to keep me from waking up. In this case, she is more passive aggressive and doesn't even complain but tries to "punish" me during the day for every sound I make, mimicking/relatiating... It's the same unreasonable reaction I guess...

My general attitude is:
- try to be as silent as possible generally
- usually friendly to people, have a conversation when they're new
- headphones for music, my stereo is never on
- I don't have a dog or other pet
- no noise at night
- sometimes I practice acoustic guitar but try to keep it down and not go full volume with it

- I live in a noisy, badly sound proofed apartment downtown, especially contact noises are audible 2 floors away (walls/floors)

Downstairs neighbour:
- she seems like a girl in her early 20s who likes expensive brands and she doesn't seem to have many friends
- moved in just a couple of months ago
- owns a dog, which is against contract regulations in our building!
- actually manages building cleaning and is the official contact for complaints!
- she can be quite silent, unless she hears any noise
- there are noisy neighbours downstairs and one time when they made late night noise, she turned up her stereo quite loudly until they quieted down (opposed to talking with them)
- any noise, also small ones like putting my tooth paste on the sink, and suddenly I hear more noises from her. A couple small noises more from me, the more noise she makes. Sometimes suddenly a loud bang right underneath me.
- when I subtly play guitar, she either turns up her stereo quite hard or makes other noises
- sometimes slams her front door really hard when I am at home (upper floor shakes)

I'm quite sure I'm not being paranoid because the pattern is persistent.
I've been reading up on it, maybe she's one of those High Conflict Persons (impossible to please) - at least close to someone with a personality disorder, uncapable of taking responsibility for themselves? She seems to react really immature on any noise, even below what is to be considered normal. Like she wants to always dominate in the amount of noise made (???)

The best thing is to ignore these cases I think, especially when there is no clear communication or someone has no reasonable expectations. Selfishness abound :-( Sometimes it's almost as if the majority of people these days only thinks about "ME ME ME I only care about ME, and if you make my life miserable, I make your life miserable!".

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Well - being an ultra quiet person and having lived in NYC for 33 years - I can understand the down stairs person. And depending on where you live quiet is quiet regardless of time of day or night.

That being said - it was a law to put down not only carpet but rubber padding prior - (late 70's) 80's of the room which is essentially wall to wall. Rubber is the only material that stops "noise" vibration - to the guy below - he's in a sound box (like drum or violin) the sound goes through the floors, walls and into his "sound box" and is magnified often many times over the original sound output!

I had a guy with a dog, and dropped weights all day and ALL night (our building was in a fire so I ended up at nadir (vegetative) so could do nothing much about it... even the cat was hysterical... (I can handle heater noise, care noise but not sudden drops - even things fell off the shelves.) Finally my x boyfriend who can sleep through anything started getting woken up - he was a high powered chef and slept days and worked nights but again this went on day and night. The police came and sat in our apt and said WOW - sounds like somebody dropping a bowling ball! Guy came down later and tried to choke me! (police waited in lobby has they got a clue to his violence and lack of communication when I first went up)

Unfortunately when the older landlord died new management was brought in and the new apts (renovated after the fire) tenants did not have management enforce actual laws.

I ended up sleeping on the lobby couch for years! (and young people moving in and out at all hours of the night - during "my day" neighbors were contacted and it was done during the day when most were at work.)

So what may not seem like much noise to you is not the same for the guy below. And at least in NYC one could not allow any machine, instrument et al to create noise for a neighbor - during any part of the day (a myth at x hours so on).

And as well dogs were then allowed - one barked they all barked - people would be up all night trying to find out where the dogs barking would come from (and reason why I owned cats - I would NEVER have a dog - being a social animal ie pack animal, alone in an apt or doing his job ie guarding his territory. All the things people would do to keep their dog quiet to me is inhumane (studied to be a vet).

Barking dogs (and I do animal rescue and love dogs) drove me nuts - NUTS! I and countless other tenants - would be woken up at all hours of the night when the young tenants would party all night - leaving their barking dogs for others to deal with.

But the good news is YOU are on the floor above this guy and unlike the ones below (very hard to sound proof all when below - inner box has to float away from actual walls and ours were cement - could not hear next door but above below could). Very expensive.

My friend in another apt - had same situation (person below would come up) she just padded and padded until they could no longer here anything... Find rubber padding, add two layers, then huge rugs or carpet... then layer of rug.

The synthetic stuff under carpets is useless... (my brother was an architect plus I did tons of work to end this nightmare)...

(and had earplugs until my ears were infected - spent money on white noise machines, tape recorders - still sleep round the clock now with them even though I no longer live there out of habit and more).

And btw - I did sculpture - I would go to all my neighbors talk with them and find out the schedule (even though I could during the day) to work and always stopped (as well a law) by five if not before (worked on quiet stuff when any one home sick or later in evening).

It's not being selfish - the NUMBER one cause of suicide is actually noise "pollution" - we are not designed to endure it for long and the stress alone (adrenal cortisol hormones) can kill.

Their are dog house sitters or you can take pooch with you... (some in our apt would cage them and med them and that's sad - don't own one if that's the case mho) They esp large dogs not bred for apt life need to run and roam.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 7:37PM
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See if your landlord is willing to soundproof or insulate, with my neighbors they were making up rediculous complaints so we had to contantly film and record our actions to counter every complaint they made to the landlord until the landlord realized they were looney. The other option is if he tries to sue you, counter sue for defamation because his intent is to corrupt your record by making complaints. The other thing you can do is get the police involved as frequently as possible, getting them on site for every time he knocks on your door for harassment. It will be a great back up for court on your behalf.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 2:27PM
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