sharing yard with other tenants

camlanAugust 6, 2003

My apartment is in an old house that has been converted to 5 apartments. My apartment is on the ground floor, right by the front door, with two large windows right next to the door. A new couple moved into a second floor apartment in July. On hot afternoons/nights, they bring lawn chairs down to sit in the yardÂunderstandable, as it must be hot in their apartment. The problem is that they place the chairs about three feet from my open windows and I can hear every word they say! They are right by my living room, where I spend most of my time. I have tried moving to the kitchen or bedroom, but sometimes I need to do something in the living room.

So a few nights ago, they were clearly having a fight about something. I was working on a project in the living room, which is the only place I can set up my sewing machine. You would have thought that they could hear the sewing machine or noticed that my lights were on, but they kept talking. So I put on a CD really loud, partly to cover up their voices and partly to let them know that maybe, just maybe, someone three feet behind them could hear them. They packed up their chairs and left.

They havenÂt been outside since, which I feel really badly aboutÂit gets hot upstairs in that house and I donÂt think they have any air conditioners. We have a huge yard, large front yard, two side yards, and a back yard that this coupleÂs apartment has the easiest access to of all five apartments. In other words, there are other places they could sitÂI think the plot is about an acre. I think they were in front of my apartment because there is a large tree there that shades that part of the yard, but there are trees in the back yard and one of the side yards as well.

They really keep to themselvesÂI havenÂt had a chance to introduce myself yet. How can I let them know itÂs OK to sit outsideÂjust not right by my windows? Actually, itÂs OK if they sit by my windows, but they might not want me to hear everything they say!

IÂve had problems with the girls from the third floor apartment who sit on the front steps to smoke. Again, I can hear everything they say. Last summer I went out and told them I could hear them. I thought they ought to know, since they were discussing some pretty personal stuff. Ever since, they accuse me of spying on them. I go to close the window or turn on the lights or something, and they see me. I can hear them saying ÂWe better go in, sheÂs listening again. Why they can't see that the windows are open, I don't know. IÂm not spyingÂIÂd really rather not have to listen to them at all, itÂs annoying when IÂm trying to read, but what can I do when they choose to sit right outside my apartment?

Thanks for any advice!


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Maybe you need a neutral party--can you talk to your landlord like a human being? If so, explain this to him/her and ask if he/she can "assign" outside areas to everyone.

Maybe you can get the landlord to tell people, "here's the outside area you can use without worry," and maybe even you can get him to install a bench under a couple of the trees farther away from the house. That would help the smokers, bcs of course they want to sit somewhere and don't want to lug a chair.

If the landlord doesn't want to spring for a bench, maybe the landlord would be wiling to say that he'd allow them to put up a bench (lawn chairs might disappear, but a wooden bench might escape notice from passersby). Surely a simple wooden bench wouldn't cost a huge ton of money.

The bench would be best, because they it would draw people away from the house a bit.

Or maybe he'd let people stash lawn chairs in the lower hall for dragging outside (the bench would be much easier, though)

(I don't think people should hang out on the front steps of a joint building, but the landlord is the one who should say that.)

I suppose you could also write them a note and suggest approaching a landlord about the bench, so they they'd have some privacy when they're outside. If you couch it that you're worried about THEIR privacy, and not about the noise, they might respond better.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2003 at 6:33PM
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If you see them out in the yard again, just call to them "hey you two do you fancy a coffee" break the ice with them to break the tention and simply say hey I am sorry about the music and simply explain whats on your mind

    Bookmark   August 10, 2003 at 7:34PM
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If you install a window air conditioner in your front window, the noise will drive them away from congregating near your place. They won't want to talk above the noise of the a/c. (this is my segway for asking other apt dwellers on a descent a/c.)

Another tactic which is less invasive to all, set out your own deck chair outside your door, bring a good book, say a friendly hello to them, and set yourself down to a good read. No one wants to carry on a private conversation if "ears" are listening. This could make thier claim on your little sanctuary less comfortable if you stake your territory.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 12:46AM
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I don't really have much advice - just sympathy. I have new upstairs neighbors who have essentially taken over our small shared back yard. They have a large dog. They're trying better to clean up after her, but it still stinks. The dog is now starting to destroy things on my back porch (we all share a back staircase).

The air conditioner is a pretty good idea, but what happens when it's one of those beautiful days where there's no need for an A/C? Maybe if you talk to your landlord, you could have bushes or something planted outside your window to keep people from sitting so close. I would definately say something about the smokers. The smell of smoke really bothers me and I would be very upset if I had to walk through a cloud of smoke to get to my apartment, which is what these girls are forcing some to do.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 2:05PM
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Jordyn -
"The dog is now starting to destroy things on my back porch (we all share a back staircase)."

Let them know that they are expected to replace anything destroyed by their dog, and let the landlord know that the cleanup is not adequate and the dog is destructive. A landlord can't fix what they don't know about.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 10:33AM
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The problem is my landlord is a future relative and the tenant is her boss.

Translation: I'm too chicken to really say anything to anyone, hehe.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 3:03PM
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Jordyn -
In that case, I's accidentally leave some stuff that accidentally had tabasco sauce spilled on it on the back porch to air out.

and if the dog accidentally chewed on it ... be properly sympathetic.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2003 at 4:59AM
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Hehe, I like that plan.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2003 at 10:24AM
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not tabasco, buy bitter apple or bitter citrus, not harmful, but very discouraging. And you can say you were trying to deter racoons, squirrels, etc.
found at any pet store and almost every Big box store that sells pet supplies.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 1:26PM
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Wait a's not the dog's fault. If the dog is not properly trained, it is the owner's fault, so don't punish the dog. Is he left alone out there in the yard or back steps when he does the damage? He shouldn't be left out there. You need to speak up. They should pay for any damages. Isn't there a pet clause in their lease that says what the rules are? Mine does, they are usually very strict.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 3:15AM
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Lauren -
The landlord is related to the doig's owner ... better to use a chemical deterrant. None of them do lasting harm to the dog.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 1:05PM
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I think if they find out you put something for their dog to get sick on (potentially), they will be more upset than if you actually spoke to them and were honest. All of a sudden tabasco and bitter apple will be "she tried to poison our dog." People can be very particular about their pets. By being chicken to stand up for yourself, you are giving them power. I would think everyone here would agree they are out of line. Speak up. What is the worst case scenario? You complain because the dog chewed up something of yours and who is going to say they should not pay you for it? I know, there are some strange people out there...but give it a try.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2003 at 5:19AM
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back to the main question- maybe put some very large planters with large plants about 3-4 feet in front of your windows to "designate " your space.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 12:35AM
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