Please Help - Am I The Noisy Neighbor?
I am a 27-year-old female, and I live in an apartment complex in the Atlanta metro-area. I have a second floor apartment, with a neighbor above, below, and to the right of me. I've lived here for a year and a half, and had no issues with neighbors, management, or the complex itself, until now.
It is me, my boyfriend, my dog, and my two cats in the apartment (it's a big apartment!) - we have no children. We never have people over, we don't even own a stereo (I know, we're weird). We both work long hours, are gone early in the morning, and home around 6 pm. We live a pretty quiet life - he's a computer geek, and I work a desk job. So, long story short, there's no parties, loud music, drunks, etc. in our apartment.
The downstairs neighbor has recently decided that we're violating her reasonable right to enjoy her apartment in peace and quiet by walking (and I mean walking here) across the floor. She says we stomp. So, when we're "stomping", she pounds on the ceiling. She pounds on the ceiling and we file a noise complaint with the complex. This is the first incident we had.
The second time, we were both laying in bed, watching a movie (at a normal volume), with the dog laying at the foot of our bed. She pounded on the ceiling, so we turned the TV down. She pounded on the ceiling again. So, my boyfriend stomped on the floor (childish, and not the best decision, I know). She came flying up the stairs, pounded on our door, and screamed at us to open the door. We called the courtesy officer, and filed a noise complaint.
So, this past weekend, we were out most of the day on Saturday, came home and watched movies (yes, I know we're boring). This morning I woke up and left for work, and there was a letter from the complex stuck in my door saying that a noise complaint had been filed against us for excessive noise and "stomping". We weren't even home for half the day, and didn't get off our lazy butts for the rest of the day. The only thing I can think of that may have disturbed her "Vanessa Time" was around 9 pm we got a little "frisky", if you know what I mean. Now mind you, this was not a "swinging from the chandelier" kind of frisky. There may have been a bit of squeaking of the bed involved, but that's about it.
So, I stopped in the office and spoke with the Assistant Manager about the problem. The only reason she filed a complaint was in retaliation to the former complaints we filed about her. We were not making excessive noise. I told the asst. manager that we just wanted to put a stop to the whole thing. I asked about mediation, and they don't do that. I asked for possible solutions they could offer, I was told that they'd "put a note in my file". That's pretty much all they offered me.
Now, we're moving out when our lease is up (February). When we move into a new rental property, they're going to contact our current landlord and find out that we're "noisy", which is going to cause a problem getting another place.
Now that I've explained the situation, albeit in a very long-winded manner, my question is, what is excessive noise? Am I the noisy neighbor? We make a conscious effort to be quiet on a daily basis, but there is a certain amount of every day noise that she's going to hear in her apartment. Do I have to let her basically dictate when it's appropriate for "friskiness" based on when is convenient for her? Am I being ridiculous for feeling trapped in my own home, or is she the ridiculous one? She's obviously an aggressive and confrontational person...I don't feel comfortable trying to talk to her about it. Is there anything else I can do?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!