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seeking advice

July 9, 2006

Advice from any quarter is welcome.

Mr. Angst and I, as you may have read, have moved into a new apartment. We are living mostly full-time in our new apartment, even though it doesn’t have much stuff in it yet. We have a TV, though, and an unpacked kitchen (though very little food here, yet).

So here’s the advice part:

Our downstairs neighbors are loud. I don’t mean generally loud, I mean My Floor Is Vibrating From The Bass In Their Music loud. Today, Mr. Angst spoke with them twice about turning the music down. I spoke with them once. As I understand it, they did not turn the music down for very long after he spoke to them; after I did–approximately 10 minutes after–they turned the music off or down and we haven’t heard it since.

What do we do when they turn the music back up? Do we continue to ask them nicely (but firmly, of course) to turn it down since our floor is vibrating? Do I pull the law student, I Am Studying For Class Right Now, card again?

I understand that we have a number of administrative recourses. We can complain in writing to them. We can complain in writing to our landlord. We can call the police (though that is certainly a futile exercise). But I am not at all convinced that any of these recourses are worth the time (and postage) spent on them. Various websites, found via a search, don’t offer much else in the way of advice. One suggests inviting your noisy neighbors in “for coffee and cake” to “chat” about the situation. Our neighbors have a drum kit in the basement and Mt. Angst thinks he saw one of them rolling a joint–and there are three of them, with a fourth who’s “just staying for a while”–so I don’t think inviting them in for coffee and a chat is going to be terribly helpful.

So does anyone have any personal advice for getting one’s neighbors to understand how loud they are? How about doing so without becoming That Neighbor, the bitchy, pestery, awful one? Please, help!

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Categories: just me, moving
  1. July 9, 2006 at 11:32 pm

    Actually, don’t under-estimate the power of having them over for coffee… or beers… or whatever. Sometimes, getting to know your neighbor(s) as people is the best way to resolve disputes like this.

    Your plight reminded me of the “Neighbors” show on This American Life. Act I, “Mr. Rothbart’s Neighborhood” is particularly appropriate, I think. Give it a listen…

  2. July 10, 2006 at 12:30 am

    I had a similar problem at my old apartment – I’m sorry to say nothing worked until the landlord evicted them – for being too noisy, among other things.

  3. July 10, 2006 at 2:33 am

    Be nice for a bit, if it continues make it perfectly clear that you have no issue stomping around at times when they appear to be sleeping. It worked for me in college, however, I am an insomniac (as if the time frame of my comment didn’t give that away) so it was easy to annoying them right after their music went off at 2 a.m. most nights. After about 2 weeks they stopped.

  4. July 10, 2006 at 5:42 am

    I have had this problem before … only it was upstairs neighbors. I started with talking to them – they stopped for some time. Then i wrote them a note, let them know my concerns, and asked them to call me. They did, we talked. Things were “okay” for a little while – then it started back up again. Then the police were called. Not by me – but by another tenant in the building. The kids upstairs did not renew their one year lease. They didn’t want to bother with being quiet.

    Oh – somewhere in there, we did complain to the landlord, who apparently called the kids (college students) parents!! They were more upset about that than they were about calling the police.

    I would recommend inviting them down to chat. Sometimes those who roll joints are MORE reasonable than those who do not. Furthermore, if they’re doing illegal things, they’re probably quite motivated NOT to have the police called.

    Once you talk with them, and make the effort with them, you’ll feel more justified moving up the chain of command.

  5. July 10, 2006 at 9:12 am

    There’s two ways to go about this: try to befriend them as suggested above, or in the case that doesn’t work, number two is fight fire with fire. Yes, we once got into a stereo war with our neighbors. This was after involving the landlord numerous times. We knew we were going to get the hell out of there, so we would take our full size floor speakers (the ones that stand the height of a kid) and turn them to the shared walls. We then would pick a particularly gnarly tune, like Ministry’s Land of Rape and Honey and crank it. We would then sit in our apartment and laugh like idiots. Yeah, it was sort of fun.

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