Apartment Etiquette?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We have not lived in an apartment in over a decade, and the last three years that we were in an apartment we were in a townhouse end unit so we only shared a wall with 1 other family - a single lady who was rarely home. So I don't know how to handle an issue.

    Our upstairs neighbors almost NEVER have anything nice to say to each other. For the last month they have had daily screaming matches lasting over an hour, and sometimes they have three or four a day. It is OLD. I don't CARE if she can't stand this or they better not do that. It is always her voice screaming and sometimes a kid hollering. They have 3 kids under 6. This is usually accompanied by the sound of things being thrown. The kids do not cry after a crash and there are no sounds like someone hitting them, or i would have called the cops and CPS.

    Is it still 'usual and customary' to just pound on the ceiling when the neighbors are too loud? Cause they don't respond at ALL to that. I did scream at them a few days ago because they had a screaming fit from 4 am to after 5 am, then at 6 am she started singing at the top of her lungs, By 8 I had a migraine from it and was losing my mind from the pain. I finally started screaming about how I would be so thrilled to scream all night when her kids are asleep if she will not SHUT UP RIGHT NOW, and that as I am a night owl it woudl THRILL me to do that to her. I just couldn't handle any more and NOTHING we have done, incl politely asking them to not scream before 7 am when our kids get rup to get ready for school, has made a differnce.

    Is this somethng the mgr should address if we talk to them? Or do we keep trying to deal with it ourselves? It is the only bad thing, but it is really becoming a problem. I don't think she has the ability to speak, just to scream at the top of her lungs in rage. I have actually never even SEEN her, not even when I took cookies up to wish them a Merry Christmas. he seems nice and is super quiet, and the day after I lost it he seemed really sheepish, but he isn't theo ne screaming. I dont' know what he does, but I hope he has ear plugs. I cannot tolerate them in my ears during migraine or I would have worn them.

    Any suggestions?
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is definitely something the apartment manager should deal with. Please do not deal with the neighbor yourself.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Whether the landlord can do anything or not will depend on the conditions on the lease, and on "local regulations". If the lease or regulations require "reasonable consideration for all other residents", then... take it to the manager. 5 AM is NEVER "reasonable". Most places expect reasonable quietness from 10 or 11 PM, to 6 or 7 AM. During the day... tougher to regulate. But it sounds like she doesn't have any concept of "consideration"... at all.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Thanks. I don't know what the local regs say, but I will talk to the owner/mgr. The property was purchased about a year ago and the new owners are doing a TON to improve the place. They evicted a lot of people over the summer and didn't renew many leases so that they could get rid of some real problem tenants. They are doing great upgrades and have been responsive to people's needs for new rules. When I said something about the smoking in the stairwells because it was coming into our home and thank you and I were having real problems, they made it against the rules to smoke anywhere except your own apartment. Even the laundry room is off limits for smoking. One guy flat out refused to follow this rule so they evicted him. went to court and everything because he kept yelling and screaming about it. I don't mind people smoking in their own home, but this was a problem for us because the upstairs people would sit or stand on the stairs right outside our kitchen and smoke like chimneys in industrial factories. It literally would fill my kitchen with smoke even after we put very tight weather stripping on all sides of our door including the bottom. I could barely force the door open and still smoke would get in. The guy right above us would smoke down there because his youngest has asthma!! When I told him that my son has asthma it didn't even faze him, which is why I went to mgmt.

    Thanks for the input. This is obnoxious. Though seh sure hated it the day I sang at the top of my lungs about how I was puking and would happily puke on her if she didn't SHUT UP because my migraine was going through the roof. I have a viciously awful singing voice nd yelling while having a migraine does NOt help it, lol. My voice is so bad that Wiz would cry if I sang to him when he was little. It is BAD if your own baby cannot stand to hear you sing, lol. Esp as he LOVED to have other people sing to him. I do NOT want to have to sing at her again. J and T were searching for ear plugs while I sang, lol. They want advanced notice if I do it again.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Call the manager's or the property management office and give a written complaint. If you can, get an audio recording for them with time on it so they have proof if they have to have evidence to go to court to evict these people. It could be they are getting other complaints on these people. I think a video with the time stamp on it would be best if you have that available. Dont retaliate even though it is what we feel like doing.

    If the management wont help, this is when you call the police in. There are laws about the "quiet enjoyment" of your property and if anyone interferes with your right to have that then you have an issue. Everyone likes to quote the 1st amendment and say we all have the right to say we have the right to say whatever we want to say, when and wherever we want to say it. Well that is true up to a point. I am sure you also remember that old saying about yelling fire in a crowded movie theater. While that is free speech, it also goes against other peoples rights. What your neighbor's are doing are infringing on your rights. Eventually with your landlords, they may have to make a choice with the "quiet enjoyment" clause which I am sure is in your lease. Normally most jurisdictions that are within city limits have noise limits between certain hours. Rural areas may not. Even me being rural got my animal control to tell my neighbor to get his yapping dogs to shut up between 9 and 7...lol.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As a landlord, we have a clause in our lease that requires tenants to be considerate of other tenants. Our lease specifically addresses noise (we also have a noise ordinance in our city that goes into affect at midnight and lasts until 6 am). I use a standard lease for my state plus a few addendum we add.

    Look at your lease and see if noise or consideration for other tenants is included. Then, contact your property manager - and I would call and follow up in writing with what you discussed. That way you have "both sides" of the discussion. The property manager or owner can then contact the tenant and take action dependent upon their rules and local requirements.

  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I've had the police show up at my door when neighbors have called because Kiddo's meltdowns have gotten so loud, so I don't think you'd be out of line to call the police for a 5am showdown upstairs by any means.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes, I tend to agree with Sharon and Haozi. Now if this were a once in a blue moon thing where someone was very sick and they were only making noise because someone was screaming with a major headache or some other medical issues, then I am sure you would understand but that isnt the case. This is something else all together. I would read your lease carefully and might even go talk to the police to see what they say about what the rules are in your area for noise code enforcement.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would go through the management first before calling the police. It sounds like your owner/manager is being very responsible and I feel confident he/she will handle this. It could cause a lot of hard feelings if the police were called before lesser steps were taken. It's been many years since I lived in an apartment but any complaints we ever had were handled through the management office. My easy child lives in an apartment now and they are very responsive. They allow dogs but there is a requirement to pick up after your dog and when that is not done they immediately send out a warning. Any noise complaints are handled very efficently and they don;t hesitate to not renew leases if they receive a lot of complaints.

    Irate apartment neighbors can make your life miserable so I would do whatever I could to stay out of the middle and let the management handle it.

    by the way when my easy child was living in NC doing her student teaching they put her up in an apartment complex where many teachers lived. Unfortunately she lived above a guy who worked shifts and got up very early in the morning so was in bed very early int he evening. She stayed up until late grading papers, preparing lessons and often was printing things on her computer late at ngiht. He complained about her printer not letting him sleep and she had to stop printing by 8 pm. We had to laugh because she is not a partier, never had people over, didn't know anyone in NC to have over, and she never played music loud but her printer kept him up and she had to talk very quiet on the phone so as not to disturb him.
  10. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I would definitely talk to the manager. Tell he/she can't do anything that you wish to be moved into another apartment as soon as something else comes up. If they know you are that serious about it, they'll do something. Filing a written complaint is a good idea, too. If it is that bad, you can always call the police and tell them it sounds like someone is getting hurt. If enough complaints come in, management will have to evict them.

    Doesn't sound much like they have apartment etiquette at all or even know what it is. They aparently haven't a care in the world that this affects you in the least. I wouldn't worry about your actions, then.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nancy has it right. It is always best to go to through the property manager first because you will be taken more seriously then if you have to go further. People will wonder why you didnt try going to the manager first. They will say it couldnt have been that bad or you would have and assume it is just a dispute between two neighbors.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ditto what the others have said. Manager first, high-ups if that doesn't work. Create a paper trail.
    So sorry you have to go through this. (And so sorry for the kids upstairs, too.)
  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'm sure the actual landlord/tenant laws will differ since we are in different countries, but I am thinking the etiquette is likely the same. I agree to complain to management first, in writing. I know here, we have to put complaints formally in writing (every time) in which case management must give written complaint notice forms to the problem tenant. Here, after 3 complaints for the same problems, a landlord can begin eviction proceedings. I also know that police, here anyhow, hate hate hate to get problem noise calls for kids yelling, playing, parents yelling at kids etc. Except for the case of spousal or child abuse, police here always just tell both parties to write complaints to management and stay away from each other. They always ended up giving me heck for calling them for what they deem a "civil" matter. Frustrating as all get out, but I did it a few times when I was at wits end, in the hope that the problem neighbor would finally "get it".

    I moved from my rental of seven and a half years, this past summer, due mostly to the upstairs tenants. OMG. I tell you, it was the WORST feeling living under those people. I did everything by the book, started with talking direct to them NICELY and explaining what we hear, how often and going over and above the call of duty to be understanding about the whole "kids will be kids" thing. It changed nothing. Moved on to asking management to speak to them many times, but without putting it in writing, in order to NOT lead to threats of eviction. Nothing changed except they got nasty to me and started a huge fight. The woman was pregnant and came like a crazed banshee to my door, barged her way in so that I could not shut my door, had easy child sobbing and me crying in frustration and telling her to get the BEEP out of my door so S/O could shut it because she was NOT welcome at my door in that state. Well next I knew, SHE called the police on ME (I had done the bang on the ceiling with a broom thing) and "I" got railed at by the police for having disturbed the peace and said if I ever banged on the roof again that they would arrest ME for harassment. HUH??? Well that was that. I put it in writing EVERY time to management. Unfortunately the owner did not a thing for me, which left me upset, frustrated, angry and feeling like a prisoner in our home. Thus the move this summer. I made sure to move to a rental that had only two units, with us being on top. The downstairs guy is quiet as heck, we hear nothing ever. WHEW! Funny thing, a month after we moved, the new tenants had complained so much that FINALLY owner was afraid to never keep a permanent tenant, and evicted the problem tenants. How foolish to have not just done that to keep us, who were long term good tenants. I'm glad in the end because we have a much better place to live now and I should have left BEFORE I put up with that koi for over two longggggg years.

    I would put it in writing each time to management and quote any supporting local laws or lease clauses, that enforce your right to reasonable enjoyment and any noise bylaws or lease clauses. It does sound like your landlords want good tenants, so hopefully with putting it in writing each time, they will take the issue seriously and make this situation better. I also like the idea that after several written complaints, if nothing changes and management isn't taking reasonable action, requesting a move to the next available unit in the building due to the upstairs tenants. I know I would never ever ever again tolerate living that way, it felt like we lived each day under siege. We didn't even know just HOW it affected our mental health and well being until we were out of there, and then realized how much stress we felt and how it had stopped being a real home for us long before. I hope this resolves for you. Home should feel like, well, home.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Thank you everyone!! This has been interesting and informative. We have had noise issues in the past at one apt husband and I were in when we lived in Cincy and I had some when I was in college in TX. In TX we had downstairs neighbors who were good guys, but not real thrilled with my roomie and her boyfriend and their noise. If they were happy with each other, they were very LOUD. if they were angry they were just as loud PLUS they were graphic about each other and what they had done. I often would be at my boyfriend's or at a friends because it got pretty ba the last semester before I moved home. The neighbors actually compiled a very humorous letter to Roomie because it got so bad. They commented on specific things like intimate items she got to impress her idiot boyfriend. They even rated the 'performance of the last few days worth of 'good times'. I had the hardest time not just howling with laughter at the letter and at Roome's and her boyfriend's reactions.

    I called the non-emergency police number and asked about noise issues. They do not get involved here unless ether the noise is audible outside the building or the Noisies have been warned 3 times and there is some documentation of those warnings. They just want a time and date of the warnings and an overview of the warning in general.

    For the most part the kid noises don't bother me. it is rather neat to hear them playng or running or even squabbling. The very angry female voice is the one that is a real problem. I have contacted mgmt and they will talk to her. Though they are relatively new to being apt mgrs, they work hard to do their best. I like that, lol!

    Thank you agan!