Mystery Noisy Neighbor

texasbelle32October 11, 2010

Back in July, our neighbor's alarm clock started going off at 4 am on the weekends. Apparently they would leave town and forget to turn off their alarm clock. It's loud enough to wake up my me and my husband. We figured it was the apartment directly behind us (we share a bedroom wall) so I went over there to talk to them but they weren't home so I left a nice note asking them to turn off their alarm clock when they go out of town. It stopped for one weekend and then started up again. This time I complained to the apartment management. They called the tenant and he said he would take care of it. This has gone on for 3 months. He stops and then "forgets", I complain, management calls and it stops again.

It happened again a couple weeks ago and the alarm was going off at 2 am every morning for 2 hours all week long. I complained to the management again and they sent out a letter to everyone in our building asking people to turn off their alarm clocks when they go out of town because there have been complaints and if it didn't stop a fine would be issued for lease violations. Apparently that got his attention because he promptly called the management complaining that it wasn't him and that he turned his alarm clock off and basically I was crazy. Since he has denied it, the alarm clock still keeps going off at ungodly hours on the weekends when he is clearly not at home and the management says they can't do anything about it. If it happens during the office business hours (very rarely), I have asked that they go into the apartment that I think the noise is coming from and they would have their answer and maybe they could unplug the alarm clock. They call the guy and ask permission to enter since he isn't at home but he denies them entry every time.

I am at my wit's end with this. I have tried all kinds of earplugs and I can still hear it through the wall. I've tried going over there to talk to him again but he's never home or won't answer the door. Is there anything more I can do to make this stop? I live in Texas and I am starting to do research on tenant's rights and the Quiet Enjoyment Law but since the management has tried to stop the noise violation, I don't think there is anything I can do except wait till my lease expires next year and move. If anyone can help, I would be so grateful.

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While the fines add up, anything the city or building management can do will take more time than buying him an alarm clock that turns itself off after a short while.

The super should really have the right to enter his apartment to turn it off under Quiet Enjoyment. Is he/she not helpful?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 7:40AM
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"It stopped for one weekend and then started up again. This time I complained to the apartment management. They called the tenant and he said he would take care of it. This has gone on for 3 months. He stops and then "forgets", I complain, management calls and it stops again. "

This seems to be the best you can do. Each and every time it happens, complain to the management. Since complaining does work for a short time, it is helping you. The hope is that eventually, the management will get tired of getting your complaints and will do something to get this guy to stop.

Question for you--do you hear the alarm on days when the neighbor is at home?

I'd also go and talk to the neighbors in every apartment that abuts the alarm apartment, even the units above and below his. If they can hear the alarm and want it stopped, it may make a greater impact on management if you all complain together, either by going to the office at the same time or all signing a letter of complaint.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Westvillager: The manager is not helpful I guess because she won't enter his apartment without his consent. Not sure if it's a law here in Texas and that's why or if it's laziness.
Camlan: Yes, I can hear the alarm when he is there. Sometimes it takes him a good 5-10 minutes before he turns the alarm off. I will ask the neighbors around him if they can hear it too. I feel that the apt. mgmt. is getting tired of just me complaining and there is strength in numbers. Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 5:16PM
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I have had this happen to me twice in hotel rooms, so I can not imagine living with it for so long. You need to become a lot smarter about what the laws are in Texas and what your rights are, and there is plenty of information on the internet. Have you read the brochures put out by the Texas Attorney General's Office? For example, under Texas law, tenants have the right to "Quiet enjoyment of their rental property." It doesn't sound like you have that right now.

The Property Manager is just the first person in line to deal with. If she can't help you, then you do your research and find out the name of the management company and talk to people there. You need to go about this systematically, keeping notes of what has been said. Make your complaints in writing.

And if all else fails, if I sat down and thought about it for a while, I could come up with some revenge ideas if you decide to go that route. Like, a recording of a baby crying or dog barking that you play through a speaker aimed at the adjacent wall about two hours before their alarm normally goes off. Or maybe just a weird scratching sound on the wall.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 9:15PM
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Your manager's lazy. There's no other explanation for their ambivalence. It's easy to say they need the tenant's consent b/c it's most often true, thankfully, but doesn't demonstrate an understanding of the law -- or anything. Like graywings said, escalate the contact and keep a written record. It's good advice. Find someone with real authority and knowledge.

Revenge, on the other hand, is just a quick way to negate any power you have. Fantasizing about it is natural but try to control the baser instincts.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 9:52AM
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