My tenants are having a noise problem again. They called the other day and said they'd been woken up on Saturday night about 3 a.m. by some loud banging and thumping coming from upstairs.
We've been through this before. The upstairs neighbors have a wooden floor. When the current tenants moved in, they had no rugs. The condo policy says at least 70% of a wooden floor has to be covered by carpeting. So eventually, after much prodding from us, the upstairs neighbors got a rug. Or so they tell us. We don't know how big the rug is, or whether it really covers 70% of the wood floor, or if there's proper padding under the rug to dampen the noise of their footsteps. We're attempting to find out through the condo association.
The condo association has a regulation banning excessive noise, especially at night. The upstairs tenants got a letter from the condo management, asking them to please be quiet and considerate of their downstairs neighbors, especially during the hours between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. It seems they were getting the message and being considerate for while, but slipped up the other night.
Have any of you suffered from excessive noise from neighbors? It's a bitch, isn't it?
It turned out the apartment above her had been empty. Now a big strapping single guy moved in, and treated her to plenty of noise. "I remember, every night, I could hear him take off his shoes," she told me. "I'd hear a little creak from the bed as he sat down. Then, clunk, as he took off one shoe. And another clunk, as he took off the other one."
She continued, "But what do you do? You live in an apartment. Someone's right on top of you. You've got to expect some noise."
I have more sympathy for my tenants. I recall in my divorced days, 2002 - '07, I moved into a townhouse. My next-door neighbor (we shared a wall) was a quiet guy who kept to himself, and I never heard a peep out of him. Then he sold his place. A fellow in town bought it, and moved his sister-in-law in, with her two children and two dogs.
The kids were fine. But the dogs were a horror. I don't know what kind they were; but they were tall and sleek, weighing probably around 80 pounds. They had short hair and big mouths. And they used them. Every time a neighbor walked past her townhouse, the two dogs would jump at her windows and bark aggressively, lunging at the glass. Then she would tie them up outside (against the development's policy), and when people went by they charged toward them until they were stopped by the end of their chains, and again, lunge and bark aggressively until the person got at least 100 feet away.
I complained a dozen times to the woman; and another several times to the management. Fortunately, some other residents also complained (lending credence to my story, so I didn't come across as just a complaining neighbor). After about six months, the woman finally moved out. I don't know what went on behind the scenes, or who talked to her, or her brother-in-law, the owner. But she was gone. The place eventually went back on the market; a normal person bought it and moved in.
Currently, at our house, we have a next-door neighbor with a dog. The neighbors have a fenced-in backyard and they occasionally let their dog out. And he barks. But it doesn't bother us. He's not outside very much, and he only barks when he sees another dog, which isn't that often. And also, their dog is not ten feet away from us; he's 100 feet away, and we barely hear him when we're inside our house, especially in the winter with the windows closed. Plus ... our dog is in love with the next-door neighbor's dog. It's cute!
So, I don't know what's going to happen with my tenant. Noise levels are pretty subjective things. What bothers one person may not bother another. And how many rules can you put in to ensure peace and quiet? If people are noisy and inconsiderate, is anything going to make them easy to live with?
People complain about the noise level of the political scene. But you can turn off your TV; you can avoid the nasty, opinionated websites. You can't get away from your noisy neighbor.