Feeling Harassed by Downstairs Neighbors

storybrookOctober 1, 2012

My boyfriend and I moved into an older apartment complex 4 months ago. The downstairs neighbors moved in about a month ago. Within the first week our new neighbor knocked on our door and complained that she could here us having sex late at night, that it was extremely loud and that we were rude to do that. I apologized and told her it would not happen again. We were both embarrassed and felt really bad about it. The next time we had sex that week we shut the windows and it was at an earlier hour, around 8 pm. The next day we get an email from the landlord saying that there was a complaint of "loud screaming and mattress noises" and that we needed to fix the problem and to keep quiet after 10 pm. We were a little confused because we made sure that we were quiet and that we wouldn't disturb our neighbor at a late hour. About 3 days later we had sex, windows closed, made sure to keep absolutely silent, and this time around 9 pm. Two days late we get a letter saying that there have be 3 separate days that our neighbor has complained about screaming and mattress noises and that we signed a lease agreeing to not disturb our neighbors peace. I was so frustrated.

The apartment complex is the cheapest in town. We knew that it wasn't going to be sound proofed or anything of the sort. We hear our neighbors talking, moving around and so forth but thats what you get when you live in a rickety apartment.

We don't have people over, we don't play loud music. We are a quiet couple. We are not having loud crazy sex. They knock on the ceiling if they hear our mattress moving while we are together. We have made many adjustments to try and fix this but we can't afford a new mattress.

I feel like we are being harassed by these people and that our peace is being disturbed. They are lying to the landlord about us and making me uncomfortable in my own apartment.

Is it unreasonable for us to have sex early in the evening? Is it unreasonable for us to be intimate at all? I don't want to be the noisy neighbor!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's possible that the neighbors aren't hearing you, but that they are hearing someone else in the complex--sound travels in mysterious ways in large buildings. They could be hearing someone on either side, or on one side of you. The noise could travel through vents or pipes.

You need to be a bit more proactive with the management, otherwise they are going to see you as bad tenants.

Take all the letters you have received and go to the office. Point out that you do not "scream" during sex, so whoever they heard, it wasn't you. Ask for specifics--exactly what time did they hear the noise? Then you can either accept that they heard you, or tell management that it wasn't you because you were sleeping/eating/out of the apartment at that time.

Also point out to management that your neighbors bang on the ceiling if you roll over in bed at night--they appear to be very sensitive to sound. Did you have downstairs neighbors the first few months you lived there? Did they complain about noise? If not, then that's another sign that these new neighbors may be super-sensitive to sound.

Then ask the management what you can do to minimize sounds transferring from your apartment to theirs. Follow their advice, if they have any.

Then check your bed. Is it the mattress itself that is making noise, or the bed frame? Mattresses usually don't make a lot of noise, so I'm wondering if the bedframe squeaks or something. You can usually find plain metal bedframes for about $50. It might be worth getting a new one, if only to prove to management that you are trying as hard as you can to be good neighbors.

Also consider adding an area rug to the bedroom, even if you already have carpet. The more cushioning between you and the neighbors, the better. Same for curtains. If you don't have them, add them. And close them at night.

So, first try to determine if it is really you the neighbors are complaining about. Second, show management that you are willing to work with them to solve the problem. Third, do what you can to keep sounds from traveling out of your apartment.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Get rid of the bedframe and place the mattress and box springs on the floor.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If your neighbor is lying then you have nothing to worry about. It's her word against yours. You must deny any wrong doing to your landlord in writing. It's your right to have sex any time you want.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have no idea if this will ever be read, but I have to get some advice from somewhere. My husband and I are divorcing. My daughter and I couldn't continue to pay the rent where we were and I began looking for a place through newspaper and Craig's list. I emailed and text, call left messages. No response. Finally, I received a reply to an email I sent. So I called her and arranged to go see it. It was lovely. It was an upstairs 2br/1ba open concept living room/kitchen/dining area. I was impressed. It is in an affluent neighborhood with a view of the bay. Beautiful. So my daughter and I made deposit and this is where things immediately turned a very quick corner. The woman told us that once we had given the deposit, we could have the keys and MOVE IN WHENEVER WE WANTED. Her exact words. So we did. I would take boxes over and by the 29th, we were bringing the beds. Mind you this was over a 9 day period of time. Once we had the beds upstairs and set up, the woman comes to the stairs and says that her husband wants to talk to me. He then went into a near furious speech about how we were moving in early and wanted pro-rated rent for 29 and 30. I stated to them that maybe I misunderstood what she had told me. And I apologized. I agreed to pay the pro-rated rent along with my regular months rent. I wasn't disagreeable or hostile. But it gave me a bad feeling. And that feeling was right. My daughter and I were getting settled in and I had gotten some of the wax cubes to melt and make the apartment smell good. Just so happened, on this day(only been there less than a week)the DISH guy came to install our satellite. Already okayed by the landlords. The wires he needed to get to were behind this huge, heavy desk, a leave behind from last tenant. The wax basin was lit on this desk. Just as I went to blow out the tealight, they moved the desk and ended up with wax all over the wall! I apologized profusely. The man said, "don't worry about it. Things happens." But when the lady came up (less than a week remember)she went into this thing about having more problems with us in the one week that we had been there than she's had in the 16 years that she's been renting the place. She said she actually regretted renting to us. I was shocked. I told her I would fix what was my fault. And I did. But since then it's been how they were having trouble adjusting to the noise. My daughter is due to have a baby in March. This woman had the audacity to try to assign our rooms to us. When she showed us the place she explained that where the living room is, directly beneath it is her husband's workshop. Double insulated. He couldn't hear us, we couldn't hear him. I get complaints about my grandbaby running around the living room, but from what she told me, he shouldn't be heard at all. Over the workshop, double insulated remember? But now if anything happens I get a "well that's never happened before". We can't run the water at night at all after 10:15. But even if it's before that time, I'm so scared to run the water. That's not the only thing. She said that we were very loud walking around and it's worse when my grandson comes over. So began a very anxious living situation, I'm in the middle of a divorce...which doesn't help. I dread having to talk to her. I'm afraid to walk from one room to another, do my dishes, take a shower, walk down the stairs, go to the bathroom, get into and out of bed, get into my closet. Constant fear. We are on a month to month lease because the house is for sale. I think she is going to give us notice on 11/1. But I feel she's being unrealistic. Her previous tenants were men. And she makes sure I know that.The previous tenants were both men. One in the military and deployed a lot. The other one was just a regular guy. What bothered them about him was his GIRLFRIEND. I feel discriminated. Uncomfortable in my own home. . Any advice?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2014 at 1:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You could check with Legal Aid in your area to see if it is legal for your landlord to prevent you from running water at any time of day.

But telling the landlord who lives below you that something is illegal isn't going to make things any better.

I know you don't want to move again, but if things are this bad already, and you are literally afraid to walk in your apartment, find another apartment now.

These landlords sound like they want the money from tenants, but don't want any evidence that other people are living above them. I don't see any happy outcome from staying there.

Just make sure you take pictures before you leave, and have both of them come and do a final walkthrough and sign off on it, so that you get your entire security deposit back.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 12:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know of telling them anything was illegal. And when you mentioned that it sounded like they didn't want anyone to know they were renting it, I remember during the course of our talk that she said they don't deal with cash. They only want money orders or cashiers checks. Then asked me if I could pay my rent electronically. I said no. So I don't know if it's something that they're hiding. Something else happened today. The kitchen is set up where the stove is next to the wall. The wall is painted with flat paint. I was cooking something to eat for my grandson for breakfast. It ended up making a huge splatter on the wall. I would paint it but the paint I have doesn't quite match. I'm going out of my mind. I'm looking for apartments right now. But it took me almost a month to find this one. I'm making all the effort I can to minimize the noise. My daughter has basically abandoned me here. She stays gone on her days off and when she does have to work the next day, she doesn't come home until its time for her to go to bed. She's on the lease too. The breaker tripped when my daughter was using the hairdryer. Of course I had to go down and tell them. Her husband went into the basement and turned it back on. Again I got , " well that's funny, it never happened before. You know, because we've only rented it to men. We're used to having men here. We hadn't planned for this kind of thing happening." I have to bite my tongue. I feel bad enough, and it doesn't help when she tells me that. You're right, I don't want to move again. But I'm looking.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 3:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What I meant was that a landlord restricting the hours a tenant could run water is probably illegal. But telling your landlord that might not do any good, based on the description of them that you have given.

And I didn't mean that they don't want other people to know they have rented their apartment. What I meant was that they want the income from renting, but they also want the quiet that comes from not renting. They can't have it both ways.

Having the landlord live on the premises can be a good thing. But in your case, they are far too involved in telling you what to do and being in your apartment far too often. I don't see this as getting any better.

And it's not your daughter's fault their wiring isn't up to a simple hairdryer. That's on them.

They really don't sound like people who are suited to be landlords.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's what it seems like they want. Someone who pays them rent but is never there. My nerves are shot. My daughter doesn't even come here after work. I've actually lost my roommate over this. One more "well that's never happened before" and I'm going to lose it.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 6:13PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Noise disputes: can managers forbid tenants from conversing?
I'm having random noise problems with a downstairs...
Quiet Hours???? HELP!
What exactly constitutes being quiet during quiet hours? This...
Help with reducing noise
I live in a second floor apartment with my 5 year old...
Moth problem..Help please.....
Allright I have had a moth problem for about 5 maybe...
How common are door notes for communicating with tenants?
Is it legal for an apartment manager to put paper notes...
Sponsored Products
Dublin Leather Swivel Bar Stool
Grandin Road
Sonoma Old Apple Green Rectangular: 5 Ft. 3 In. x 7 Ft. 6 In. Rug
$279.00 | Bellacor
Crestview Collection Rustic Star Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Surya Frontier Criss Cross Area Rug - FT468-23
$64.80 | Hayneedle
Princess Potty Chair
Classic Hostess
Madera Black Iron Convertible Semi Flush
$244.00 | Bellacor
Fire Truck Toddler Bed - FIRETRUCK TBED
$317.99 | Hayneedle
DuraRug Ivory and Light Blue Rectangular: 4 Ft. x 6 Ft. Rug
$147.95 | Bellacor
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™