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I need help having a talk w/neighbor---NEW UPDATE POST 45

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Bear with me...

I need some input on a disagreeable situation. We currently rent in a building with only 4 apartments. Up until May, we had been living on the top floor in a 1 bedroom but then a 2 bedroom became available downstairs so we took it.

About a month later, a couple moved in upstairs, directly above us. At first, they seemed quiet but I later found out it was because they hadn't really moved in yet. When they did, I soon realized that they were quite the *night owls*. Now this is not a super young partying couple, they are a pastor and his wife, probably late 50's.

So it seemed that they had NO carpeting down at all on hardwood floors and were a bit noisy coming in at night but nothing too bad yet. Then one night at approximately 11:30 pm. there was a repetitive dropping noise (thump, clank, thump, etc) that went on for a good 20-30 minutes. I finally went upstairs and very nicely asked them if they could keep it down. The husband tried to play dumb at first but then said "oh ok".

So then as the weeks go by, the noise gets gradually worse and worse. It seems that EVERY night after 11 pm and as late as 2 am they are dropping things on the floor. I am not a nit picky person by any means but it REALLY echoes loudly and has woken me and DS up several times (me more than him thank goodness). They also do the chair scraping and furniture pulling thing too. Unfortunately, this also goes on in the early a.m. too. Once, on a Saturday morning at 6, the wife put on HEELED shoes and walked around for over a half hour . She woke us up.

I spoke to my landlord about 2 weeks ago and he was pleasant enough about it and promised to speak with them. It actually did seem to get better for a few days but now it's getting bad again. In the past few days, I've been woken up constantly throughout the night. I swear I don't know when these people sleep because it seems that they are up all the time!

So it seems that I'm going to have to discuss the matter with them and I need to be tactful. I have a bad temper with stuff like this because it is just so rude. How could they NOT know that dropping things on a wood floor at 1 in the morning is inconsiderate? BUT, I need to find a way to be calm. Oh I guess I do need to add that one night when they woke the baby up at midnight by dropping something so loud that he started screaming I flipped out. I started yelling at the top of my lungs up at the ceiling and I know they heard me. But I know this is not the road to take. I know that *going off* will solve nothing and turn the situation worse. I need to be a better person.

So I need suggestions on how to open up the conversation. How to discuss it without sounding like I want to scream . I'm going to talk to the wife as I think that will go better. Mamas, please help me!

ETA: They're clanking around up there now..Grrrrr
post #2 of 66
Perhaps you should approach it as positively as possible. Tell them you notice that they've tried to keep it down. But that it's clear that the hardwood floors, their lives and your lives are not making a good combination. Propose carpeting. Bring the landlord in on the conversation, since he'll be paying for it.

I know you find the whole thing rude. But unfortunately part of living in a rental with neighbors is that everyone's schedules are going to be different. I would think a minister would have 24 hours schedules as parishioners get sick or die, they call their minister. I can't imagine they would be excited about waking your kids as then they have to listen to the scream of the poor sleep deprived babies. Maybe carpet would really help buffer the two scheduling problems. Otherwise, they have that soundproof batting that can be stapled to the ceiling, you could talk to the landlord.

This type of stuff is really hard. I lived in an apartment once where the downstairs neighbors made all the noise. (Really could never figure that one out.) Another time the upstairs neighbor would complain if we had the tv or radio on - at all time of the day. (She didn't have furniture so she slept/sat on the floor and could hear everything.) Incompatibility sucks.
post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katwoman View Post
Perhaps you should approach it as positively as possible. Tell them you notice that they've tried to keep it down. But that it's clear that the hardwood floors, their lives and your lives are not making a good combination. Propose carpeting. Bring the landlord in on the conversation, since he'll be paying for it.

.
Thank you for your input . However, my landlord most definitely will not pay for carpeting, that is a tenant purchase if one wishes to have carpeting. When we lived on the top floor we bought area rugs to cut down on some of the noise transfer.

I am going to frame the discussion in a positive light and see how it goes.

97 views and no one else has anything to share?????
post #4 of 66
how frustrating! while I don't live in an apartment the neighbors on either side of us have hot tubs and teenagers that only use the hot tubs between midnight and four am. after calling parents and asking them to keep it down, if it continues, dh just gets all worked up and becomes the crazy, yelling, naked man now!

...however in this case that is probably not the answer you are looking for but I know how frustrating it is to have inconsiderate people waking everyone up.

certainly having a talk with them and suggesting matts and area rugs make sense, slippers help a great deal, and those pads that go on the bottom of chairs too.

deep breaths and stay calm...good luck with the conversation...
post #5 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
97 views and no one else has anything to share?????
I can sympathise having been in a very similar situation once where I politely complained and complained and complained without result.

Finally at 4 am when I had to be up at 6 for work, after months of disturbance...really intrusive, selfish stuff, I went out to my newly arrived home upstairs neighbour, she'd come back from a club with her friends in tow, and threatened to 'F*cking kill' her.

It worked for long enough to sell up and move!

I don't recommend it though. Not my finest moment.
post #6 of 66
We were your upstairs neighbor years back when we were in an apartment. We drove the lady downstairs so nuts that she took to following us around while banging the end of her broom on the ceiling. I've often wondered how many marks she made on the ceilings over the years. One time she stood up on her bed to bang the ceiling more effectively, and she fell and broke her hip and had to go to the hospital for a while.

It was hardwood floor and as poor college students renting temporarily we were not exactly going to install carpeting. Though we did have a 4x6 rug down in every room, which covered most of the walking space (the apartment was small). We also made certain to remove our shoes when we were home. It didn't seem to matter.

DH is a night owl and I'm not. So that probably explains the 24 hour noises you hear, since it's probably one person on the late end and the other on the early end. Annoying, I'm sure. Other than the fact that DH would stay up to 1 or 2 am on the computer (and so the only noise he'd make is when he was done and getting up to go to bed) I don't think we did anything strange or anything. I think that it's unfortunately a fact of living under another family, it's apparently really noisy. I swear we tiptoed around all the time, even at 3pm. It's been over 5 years since we moved out, and we are still relieved we can walk normally, and maybe even put on a little music once in a while (another thing we gave up).

If for some reason we had to sell our house and live in an apartment or something, I'd make it a huge priority to either find one of those apartment buildings that are just so solid there's not much noise (I used to stay over at my friend's apartment in Brooklyn, and I never heard a peep from anyone else, because the building was just so solid), or a townhouse where we get both floors, or something. I don't want to live downstairs because it's obviously noisy, but I don't want to live upstairs again either because it's so stressful having to watch your every move.
post #7 of 66
Is there anything you can do on your end to minimize the noise? Ear plugs while sleeping, or white noise? Since the landlord won't pay for carpeting for them, would you be willing to pay for some sound proofing in your apartment?

It doesn't sound like they are doing anything deliberate to keep you awake, or really anything out of the ordinary. They are just living their lives, and you are hearing the noises that go along with it.
post #8 of 66
Unfortunately, living underneath someone with hardwood floors, you will hear every move. I second the suggestion to use white noise to cut down on what you are hearing. We have hardwood floors in our house, and you can hear every single foot fall. You can hear every toilet flush, and know whether or not the kids washed their hands after using the bathroom. I can hear more from above me than in the room next to me.

So, while I sympathize, I really don't see what you can expect them to do about it, aside from like, not living there.
post #9 of 66
Quote:
You can hear every toilet flush, and know whether or not the kids washed their hands after using the bathroom. I can hear more from above me than in the room next to me.
Not the home where I blew up at my neighbour, but another one, I could hear my upstairs neighbour having a pee, actually hear the tinkle sound when I was lying in bed reading in the quiet house at night. Poor guy would have been mortified if he knew.
post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder View Post
Is there anything you can do on your end to minimize the noise? Ear plugs while sleeping, or white noise? Since the landlord won't pay for carpeting for them, would you be willing to pay for some sound proofing in your apartment?

It doesn't sound like they are doing anything deliberate to keep you awake, or really anything out of the ordinary. They are just living their lives, and you are hearing the noises that go along with it.
This. I'm sorry. I know it's frustrating.
post #11 of 66
I'm confused about the rude dropping of things. Do you think they are dropping things on purpose? Usually dropping things is an accident.

I think it is fair to bring to their attention how loud shoes and heels (in particular) sound on hardwood floors. Simply taking off their shoes would be considerate, but maybe they haven't thought of it.

But apt living will almost always involve noises. In our apt, the lawn people will go right by the window at naptime, or the maintenance man will knock on the neighbor's door (setting off my dog) at 8 am. Our upstairs neighbors have rugs, but we still hear them. I leave the tv on while my son is napping (or run the dishwasher), and until he is deeply asleep at night. Once he is in a very deep sleep, the sudden noises won't wake him--although they will in early morning, because sleep cycles are lighter at that stage of the night.
post #12 of 66
I would approach them calmly and friendly and just mention that you're sure they aren't doing it on purpose, but things echo very loudly in your apartment. Mention loud shoes and the sound of things dropping in the middle of the night, maybe even laugh about it and tell them how you were laying in bed puzzling over what they could possibly be doing up there. Maybe they will be receptive and apologize, and possibly be more quiet in the future.

If possible I would consider ear plugs, but if you have a child who wakes up at night I know that wouldn't work since you couldn't listen for them...

When I was a kid my babysitter lived in an apartment building. Every day all day we would hear loud thudding walking from upstairs. The babysitter and the kids had a joke that an elephant lady lived up there. Then one day, after literally several years of hearing Elephant Lady, we were walking in the hall and for the first time ever we saw her--she was skinny as a stick and wearing flip flops! I guess sounds just echo loudly in some apartments.
post #13 of 66
Quote:
I'm confused about the rude dropping of things. Do you think they are dropping things on purpose? Usually dropping things is an accident.

This confused me as well. Are these neighbors rude to you in other ways? Do you have reason to believe they are dropping things on purpose?

I read and did not respond simply because I didn't think you'd want to hear what I had to say, which is that unless you have the top floor apartment, you're running the risk of a lot of overhead noise.

Also, I have been the renter on the top floor and my downstairs neighbors got increasingly annoyed with me and, I swear to you, not once did I do anything on purpose. And this was a carpeted apartment! I would cringe when I dropped something. I had no idea how clumsy I was until I lived there and it got so stressful that I moved out.

In otherwords, people living over you is noisy. I think the best advice is to do what you can on your end of things. Sure, you can ask your neighbors to buy a rug but it's up to them. Rugs are just things to endlessly vacuum to me due to my allergies. I seek out bare floors of some kind (wood, tile, etc.) when we are moving.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope something can be worked out.
post #14 of 66
Oh yeah, I remember our downstairs lady walked up the stairs, knocked and yelled at me the time I dropped a fork while making macaroni and cheese.

The point of that story just being that it's insane how small things you might not even notice can be so loud downstairs.

One time our downstairs lady went crazy with the broom when I was laying in bed reading a book. I wasn't even shifting my weight around and creaking, just laying there turning pages. Who knows what she heard?!?! And my husband wasn't around at the time, it was just me.

I am SO glad I don't live in an apartment anymore...
post #15 of 66
We were *the upstairs neighbors* and ended up having a complex about making noise, because the couple downstairs complained so much. We had wall to wall carpeting in all rooms, we tiptoed around in stocking feet, etc. But our downstairs neighbors complained incessantly. They asked us if we would approach the apartment manager and ask to have our floorboards tightened (which would require removing the carpeting I guess) (We didn't).

We were later *the downstairs neighbors* and it was miserable. We were regularly woken up by the guy upstairs DTD with his woman du jour. We heard every last lurid detail. Then we would hear him get up and urinate in the toilet... all the way down to the last few drips. It was sooo gross. I was so glad to move out!

I don't have any advice except to move out. Sorry!
post #16 of 66
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks everyone for the replies and I'll try to address everything brought up.

Maybe I was misunderstood a bit or maybe I didn't completely communicate the situation well. But, I NEVER expect anyone to *tiptoe* around or whisper or NOT live their life! However, I do expect that I and these neighbors can hopefully come to some sort of compromise.

They have the right to live their life. I also have rights as a tenant. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask that someone be just a tad more considerate at 12, 1, 2 in the morning. I could care less if they drop things all day! But the level of noise at night is seriously too loud. As I said, I am NOT the nitpicky neighbor banging on the ceiling because I hear a page turning. But when it's 1 a.m. and THUD wakes you up and your baby starts crying and then you hear CLANK, THUD, SCRAPE. And this goes on night after night, well it gets to be more than annoying. It's actually affecting my quality of life.

I spend a good part of my day driving as I am a visiting nurse. The other day I actually felt dangerous on the road from lack of sleep due to being woken up more than 3-4 times in one night. Again, I do not think it unreasonable to ask in a non confrontational manner, "how can we fix this".. I would feel horrified if I knew that I was waking someone up all night and I would want to know.

Oh and FTR, I worked nights for 7 years and had to sleep on days of course so I am well used to accepting a certain level of unavoidable noise. But this is too much. In my OP, maybe it sounds petty but I can assure you, it's not.

No, I do not think they are dropping things on purpose or trying to be rude. I do think they have no idea how the sound echoes on the wood. I even thought to myself that maybe, just maybe I dropped stuff that much and didn't realize it so I tested myself. For a week, anytime I dropped something, I wrote it down. I did it 2 x in a week. They do it 5-6 x a night. I don't know what it is, maybe it's tossing a pair of boots on the floor or a briefcase but it is LOUD.

I also had the thought that maybe one of them had a disability. But I really think that is ruled out. Yes I know looks can be deceiving but neither one uses any kind of assistive mobility device and the wife wears high heels all the time. I also frequently see them carrying all kinds of things. It could still be a possibility though.

So the bottom line is twofold. First, we BOTH have rights. There *should* hopefully be a way to compromise. Second, I really didn't post to debate the issue but HOW I should approach them /open the discussion. I'm trying to be a better, calmer person but I need guidance !

Thanks for the words, advice, commisuration.
post #17 of 66
By all means, approach them, but in the end, as I've been told time and time again, you can't control other people. You can only control your own actions, and your own responses. I wish you good luck!
post #18 of 66
I also had loud upstairs neighbors at one time. They didn't have hardwood floors, but they might as well have. It was just really poor construction of the apartment building itself. We could hear practically everything they did. Wherever they walked, we'd know where they were and who was walking (man had heavier footsteps, woman always walked briskly). We heard them pee into their toilet and flush (the sound of both was louder than if any of us had used our own bathroom), we heard the vacuum (every Friday) as if it was in the room next to us, we sometimes heard their TV if it was on loud enough. These were your average folks, though...not partiers, not excessively loud, they worked 9 to 5 jobs, didn't have any kids and almost always went to bed at a decent hour. I can remember one time they were making a LOT of noise, like they were dragging dead bodies around everywhere. Finally, it was almost midnight and my 6 month old and I were not able to really sleep. My partner went up there and kindly asked them if they could keep it down. They were very sympathetic, understood and kept it down. The real kicker, though, was the fact that their bed squeaked and since everything sounded magnified, this meant their bed SQUEAKED. So I'm sure you can imagine what it was like when they had sex Fortunately, they only dtd a couple times a week, but when it happened I thought I was going to go insane. My son and partner always slept through it, for some reason, but I never was that lucky. It was so ridiculous that I could even tell when they had changed positions or when the guy was almost done...it makes me cringe just thinking about it.

Anyway, we moved out as soon as our lease was up because there wasn't really anything that could be done. They were just average people living their lives...they weren't doing anything wrong. It sounds like minus the high heels at 6 am and the repeated loud dropping in the middle of the night, the people upstairs from you are pretty average, too. I say move out as soon as you can and in the mean time, have a talk with the woman and if all else fails then ear plugs sometimes work as well as white noise. There's really not much more you can do, unfortunately. Possibly threatening your landlord that you're going to move out soon if this doesn't stop somehow might change things.
post #19 of 66
Thread Starter 
One more thing... I've lived in apartments a long time. I've been on first floors, top floors and in between. I've never had a complaint about me being noisy and I even lived over my landlord once. I've had very minor noise issues otherwise but nothing like this. When I live over someone, I don't wear shoes in the house, turn volumes down at night, and generally try to be considerate. I actually had the chance to take the apt. my neighbors are in and didn't because I knew my son would be bothersome to anyone living beneath us.

However, I know that I can't expect everyone to be as considerate as I am but there has to be a happy medium.
post #20 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenful View Post
It sounds like minus the high heels at 6 am and the repeated loud dropping in the middle of the night, the people upstairs from you are pretty average, too. I say move out as soon as you can and in the mean time, have a talk with the woman and if all else fails then ear plugs sometimes work as well as white noise. There's really not much more you can do, unfortunately. Possibly threatening your landlord that you're going to move out soon if this doesn't stop somehow might change things.
I know what you mean about the sex thing. We hear that too . Honestly though, I can block that out. It's the late night, EVERY night thuds that are killing me. The real reason that I want to approach her in the very best way possible is because if it doesn't change, mama bear is going to emerge.

If my son keeps getting woken up and they do nothing to attempt to curb the noise, I'm going to flip out and I don't want to go that route. When DS wakes up, it can take up to 3 hours to get him back to sleep! It just sucks.
Sigh...
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