Dealing with An Unreasonable Neighbor #apartment #renting

Well, last time I blogged, I was reaping the rewards of working out an issue with my upstairs neighbor. I had written her a letter asking that she keep down the noise level at 6AM; specifically, slamming her closet door in the bedroom. She responded by being extremely apologetic and even gave me a plant. I really thought that we were going to work out wonderfully. A few days later, I was woke up at 2AM then 3 AM the following night, by numerous sounds, all inappropriate banging and slamming noises. I can’t imagine what could be happening upstairs, but I did later learn that my neighbor says she fell at 2am, which explains why I was jolted awake. She apparently has severe mobility issues and will often times, fall, very loudly. I wondered why a woman would choose to live on the second floor of an apartment with hardwood floors, alone. But, I fully believe that her daughter spends most of her time here, possibly 5 out of 7 days a week. It’s very rare that I don’t see her daughter. I fully understand that she should likely be living with someone, but her daughter isn’t on the lease, and seems to be the one who is especially noisy.

I spoke with my landlord who informed me that my upstairs neighbor wrote her a note and left her my notes; I had left another note after the 2 and 3 AM wake up calls. Which I did receive a response stating that she couldn’t possibly be any louder than the maintenance work going on, which happens to be during the day. She also said she heard my husband and I speaking very loudly and just realizes this is apartment living. So basically, she’s telling me to deal with it and get over myself. Our landlord was a bit confused as to how to proceed as she views both of us as “nice” ladies. I have rented here for over 3 years, the new tenant for less than a month. Some of the comments that my upstairs neighbor left in her note to my manager is that she felt my husband and I were fighting and using very abusive language. Granted, I do argue with my husband and I can’t specifically remember all that is said, but it’s never at an unGodly hour, like 2, 3 or 6 am. I believe the fight we had was at 3:30PM, as we have been quite stressed over his losing his job. Do I think arguing is appropriate? No, but husbands and wives talk to each other perhaps differently than what you may think you would. We’ve been together for 14 years and married for 10, there is nothing abusive about our relationship. Furthermore, I can hear her and her daughter talking all hours of the day and night, yet I’ve never complained about talking. It’s always about the loud banging and slamming noises I hear at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

My landlord spoke with my upstairs neighbor about her letter and then spoke to me the next day. I informed my landlord that I didn’t think she had spoken to my neighbor as it was as noisy as any other day and I didn’t notice any difference. She said she was very clear about noise levels and appropriate times of day, etc. I told her that I too tried to explain that I realize this is not a library and that we will hear each other, but that it was common courtesy to not be so noisy when people are trying to sleep. We decided that it’s quite possible the noise I’m hearing is the daughter cleaning after her mom goes to bed. Some of the noises sound like chairs or tables being scooted around, making a very loud squeaking sound. I hear noises of cords being dropped and the sound of a mop being banged about the apartment. One may wonder how I can possibly hear all of this? It’s loud! It’s especially loud at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

Here I write to you on a Sunday morning before 9AM with lots and lots of banging sounds above me. This morning I was woke up at 6 by, I assume,  cleaning noises. Then I was blessed with hammer noises; I have no idea what in the world that could be for. And the ever present thump, thump, thumping of their stomping feet. I’m tired and worn out. I haven’t spoken to my landlord for a few days;  I’m sure she thinks that everything is just fine as she hasn’t heard from me. I don’t know if I should just call and say, no, nothing has changed or just leave it alone and live this way. Our lease is up after our August rent and we have to give a 30 day notice. I made it clear to my landlord that we were very much leaning towards moving out. Oh, and one comment our landlord said that really bothers us is, she said she talked to the owner who said he didn’t want the new tenant to feel ganged up on, nor did he want to lose a new tenant. Seriously? What about the ones that have been here for 3 years that have never been late on our rent or ever had any complaints made about us?

I think it’s time we leave our apartment. We love it, but it’s become miserable. I realize, and fear, that wherever we move could be much, much worse. I’ve lived in 14 apartments since I moved out of my parents’ home. So, I know what a good and bad neighbor is. I know that I’ll likely never live on the ground floor of an apartment building that has hardwood floors. I know if I live on the top unit of an apartment with hardwood floors, I will put down rugs and never wear shoes inside. Of course, I’ll never wake anyone up with any kind of noise at 2, 3 or 6AM. I would even consider asking the downstairs neighbor if the noise level is bad. I will research online reviews of apartment buildings to see if there are complaints about noise levels. I don’t want to keep moving and I do want to be settled. I had hoped that my current home would be my “forever” home, but I don’t think I can live like it is. It’s difficult to work with a neighbor who doesn’t see that there is anything wrong with cleaning at an early hour. You just can’t reason with someone like that.

Thankfully, we have another month to figure out what our long term plans will be. To Be Continued…

A Letter to My Neighbor

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that I’ve had some “issues” with a new upstairs neighbor. Specifically, being woke up at 4 in the morning by slamming doors and loud walking. Two days in a row without getting good sleep, makes for a very crabby lady here. Not only was I crabby and tired, I was starting to fear for my long term plans. I wasn’t sure if I was going to renew my lease or start looking elsewhere. I even called another apartment complex to inquire. I’m always online looking for apartments, just to see what else is out there, but now I was doing so with more vengeance, because I was seriously thinking I needed to move out. I went online to both twitter and google to search for what to do! I did receive a negative comment in regards to my question whether you would be nervous to find out if your neighbor had a mugshot? It was a simple question. In no way, shape or form, would I deny that anyone could find themselves in their lifetime with a mugshot. I understand that having a mugshot does not equate you are a rotten and horrible person. (I did learn that it’s not my neighbor with the mugshot, but it’s most likely her daughter. Just a side note.) But, if you judge me based on one sentence, then you are guilty of what you’re blaming me for! Again, just because someone has a mugshot, does not make them guilty or horrible. There is always more to a story, just like there was more to my question. Just ask, I would be glad to elaborate. Sorry, went off a little there, just frustrating when people, who you think are your friends, judge you based on a 140 character limit! That aside, most people would be a little nervous to know that their neighbor has a mugshot for theft. It’s natural and human to be nervous. Period.

Because I was a bit timid about this and I have anxiety issues, I was starting to spiral about everything. I was depressed and anxious about what my future held. This may sound crazy to some, but for those of us who are disabled, our home is our everything. So, the idea of having to move or feel threatened in your own home, is very scary. It’s very hard coming to grips on what to do, you almost feel stuck. I know I don’t have a lot of money and it’s hard to just pack up and move when you spend a lot of your time in bed. It’s also hard to move when you love your home. Prior to all of this neighbor drama, I loved where I live. Granted, there are a few things that bother me, one of which is that my washer and dryer is down in the shared basement, but that’s something  I’ve learned to live with for three years now. When I went to google “How to Deal with a Noisy Neighbor” I found from the funny to silly in responses. No, putting a lit bag of doggy poo at my neighbors door isn’t my style. Other responses suggested that I bang on my ceiling, but I think that can be risky because two can play that game! When you start banging back they may take great offense and then target you for any and all noise. There were level headed responses like, well, tell the neighbor how you’re feeling. Since I’ve never met my neighbor, face to face, I was really nervous about this too. So, I did what I do best, I wrote her a letter.

The letter was very nice and I started it by welcoming her to the neighborhood. I told her I hope she enjoyed living in her new home as much as I have during my past three years. I then spoke humbly about how, although the homes are redecorated beautifully, insulation was an afterthought. I discussed how since they removed the carpet, the new hardwood floors just amplified all noise, unfortunately. I wrote that the same was true with doors, that anytime they close a little heavy, it sounds like they’re being slammed below because of the poor insulation. I did report my concern about being woke up at 4 and then 5:30 AM two days in a row by slamming closet doors. I then discussed how I live with chronic pain issues and not getting proper sleep makes for a miserable day the next day. I stated that I am almost certain she has no idea how loud certain things are below, because most apartments provide more sound proofing than ours do. I also discussed how I hear her little dog howling when she leaves, but that it never bothers me and that I would never complain about that. I wanted her to feel comfortable knowing that I wasn’t bothered by his little sobs, although I just want to give him a hug. I wrote that I sincerely apologize for any TV noises. We have three TV’s in my home, yes it’s a small apartment, but we have a TV in our living room, office and bedroom. I stated that I would never turn my bedroom TV on after 10pm out of respect for her sleep. I did state that should I learn she worked nights, I would have no problem in switching this and not turning the bedroom TV on during the day. I then asked about cigarette smoking; I now know that the person I saw smoking was her daughter. I asked if she wouldn’t mind not lighting her cigarette outside my window because I’m allergic; they give me migraines. I stated that unfortunately our windows aren’t sealed very great either. I followed it by saying ” I hope I don’t sound like an old lady. I’m 38. I just hope that we can make a few adjustments. I am open to any that you have as well. I want to “co-habitate” as friendly neighbors. Again, welcome!”. Signed by me.

I taped the letter to her mailbox and waited. About an hour later, my husband brought in a note from her. She started it by thoroughly apologizing for any inconvenience she caused me and stated that her closet doors became off track, which has happened to me many times. So that’s why it was banging. She stated that she completely understood about my need for good sleep as she too has a chronic illness, she didn’t say what. She also admitted that cigarette smoke gives her a migraine, she says her daughters visit and they smoke out back on the balcony, but that she asks them to keep it far away from her. She reported that she would be buying more rugs to help with the sound proofing and was hopeful that, that would be the key. She stated that my TV’s do not bother her one bit and to play them anytime I want; I still won’t turn my TV on in bed after 10, I would feel awful if I was possibly keeping someone awake. Overall, she was extremely polite and thankful to me for my letter. Stating that she firmly believes in communication and believes that we could resolve any issues by being open together. She also indicated that she is a nurse and that should I need anything to ask. I felt like a huge HUG after I read her letter. With the extremely stressful week that I had, this letter was perfect. I knew that she could take my letter one of two ways, thankfully, she appreciated what I wrote. Also, this morning, I woke up to this:

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So, I am so relieved! The moral of the story, go with your heart. If you are kind, you likely get kindness in return. Not always, but at least you were doing the right thing. I think now she and I will be great neighbors. Now, if I hear a loud noise, I can smile, knowing that she is probably doing her best to keep the volume level down. Sometimes, we think the worst until we get to know the person. That’s the negative of most human nature. I’m glad I took the time to write to her and she seems to appreciate the open communication. Now, on to work on world peace 😉

Upstairs Neighbor Drama

I’m very cranky today. It’s probably more appropriate for this Cancer sign to say I’m crabby today, both fit. Why? Well, I am going on a bit of lack of sleep. Not the typical kind where my body doesn’t allow sleep because of chronic pain and fatigue. This lack of sleep is due to a rude upstairs neighbor. My new neighbor moved in roughly last weekend, and has made her presence known quick. I can’t be 100%, but I believe she may be in trouble with the law, at least she was last year. I googled her last name, which is a very unique, not common name, and found a very interesting mugshot. It did look a lot like my neighbor, granted, from what I could see from my peephole. Her mugshot was from last year and was for petty larceny. Granted, I don’t know the full story or situation, I just know that a woman with my neighbors name, has a mugshot for petty larceny and she was, according to the website, at age 30. My husband got a good look at her as she was walking the dog and when I showed him the mugshot, he said, wow, that looks a lot like her. So, again, I’m not sure, but I think it’s most likely her. Granted, anyone can have a back story and I’m not judging, because, all of us have found ourselves in trouble of some kind in our lives. Some of us get caught, while others don’t. However, I certainly wasn’t doing any of that activity when I was 30. I was a career woman, with a steady job and income. But, I don’t know the full story.

I say all of this because it gives you some idea of what my mind has been going through. Not only am I bit concerned with leaving things out, like the washing detergent I leave sitting on my washer and dryer, which is downstairs in our shared basement. Should I now start putting that away? Which would be a great pain, let me add. I suppose I’ll play it by ear. Should I notice that I’m going through it quickly, then maybe I’ll put it away. I recall when I first moved in to this apartment and told my former coworkers about the shared basement where our washer and dryer are placed. My one very negative coworker mentioned, well how will you know if they’re using yours or not? I just shrugged her off, now I’m wondering! Prior to this new neighbor moving in, there was an elderly lady living upstairs who, was a saint, compared to this new one. Granted, she had annoying, did I say annoying, grand kids, that would come over roughly every other weekend. They liked to push the buzzers, not doorbells, but buzzers, which are quite alarming and startling. They’re more like that Operation game buzzer going off, but much louder. Their father, who I assumed was the son of the elderly neighbor, was often over, and I think was living with his mom towards the end of her living here. He was a smoker, I hate, I mean HATE, cigarettes, so I was always annoyed going into my hallway to smell the smoke after he walked by just a mere hour before. However, he was always polite, his children, not so much.

This new neighbor has a dog. I love animals, of course I love cats much, much more. The other day she left and her dog was sobbing and howling after she left. I honestly just felt so sad for the little baby. I wanted to hold him and tell him his mommy would be back soon. I honestly did not mind hearing him cry. Honestly, I’d much prefer an animal as a neighbor, well, as opposed to the human kind. I’d put up with her dog howling all night long, over the banging doors, at 4 AM, that I woke to this morning. Our bedrooms are in the same position, so at 4 this morning I heard her opening and closing, opening and closing her closet doors, slamming them shut. Perhaps it wasn’t slamming, but if I can hear her doors closing, it’s loud! If any door shutting wakes me up, it’s too loud! Granted, my husband and I are TV junkies. She probably hears our TV’s going. I realize there are noises that all tenants have to deal with. I get it, I’ve been a renter since I was 19. I have lived in many, many apartments, She ranks about the top 3 worst neighbors. I say this so far because every day she has lived here, I’ve heard her stomping across her newly uncovered hard wood floors, which I know create much more noise. She’s a heel walker folks. A loud ass heel walker. I suppose ballet wasn’t in the cards for her as a child, maybe that’s why she has a mugshot? She supposedly lives alone, but I hear her talking very loudly to someone, whether it’s in person or on the phone, I don’t know.

The other night I kept hearing a slamming door in my hallway. Come to find out she was bringing chairs from her upstairs apartment and putting them in the basement to store in her storage. I have opened and closed that basement door many times, there is a way to close it gently. It takes a bit of finesse. I realize that some people don’t slowly roll their cars to a stop and gently brake, to a perfect unison of smoothness. I pride myself that I can brake without any slight movements. I realize I may be a bit too much of a perfectionist. When I’m watching TV, I turn it down to about a 13 volume level, unless there is music, then I turn it down closer to a 10. My hand is always on the remote just in case the actors get carried away. I don’t feel like I’m given the same respect. I know it’s apartment living and you can’t expect the same with each renter. There are definitely some that treat their apartment like a home vs. just a place to live. My apartment is my home. I love peace and quiet and to feel safe. I hate hearing someone stomping above me, talking very loudly, slamming closet doors at 4 am, and slamming basement doors in the evening. I am a bit nervous about her record. Granted, I know I could be living next to people with much worse records, but now that I am pretty sure she has one, it does give me concern. I would never be rude to her because of it, I just will keep my guard up until I know her, if I ever do.

So, like I wrote, I’m very crabby today. I don’t like being woke up by loud noises. If you rent, be courteous of your neighbors. I should probably be living on the top floor. I don’t wear shoes in my apartment, I don’t have kids, my cats don’t make any loud thumping noises, and overall, the only noise you might hear out of me is a TV or me yelling at my husband! However, even though I have a TV in my bedroom, I now only watch during the day. I would never watch my TV at night knowing I have a neighbor upstairs possibly trying to sleep. Now that there are hardwood floors, I realize how much insulation the carpets provided. I miss those carpets! I wish the landlord put in more insulation so that you can’t hear as much. I did get nervous about the noise because I could hear my former neighbors when they were peeing in their bathrooms! These apartments need better insulation! However, if my neighbor would take off her shoes, walk a little softer or wear socks/slippers, and stop slamming doors, we may be able to cohabitate. Otherwise, I’m seriously looking at moving.

#Downsizing to a Smaller #Apartment

Due to recent life events, my husband and I may need to downsize our apartment. We currently live in a two bedroom, one bath apartment that’s roughly 900 square feet. Granted, that’s not very big, although, plenty big for the two of us and our cats. We’re looking at downsizing to a one bedroom in order to save money. I know many people have downsized due to economic factors and it really makes you focus on what you need, versus having a lot of wants around. I am not a pack rat, never have been. I tend to get rid of stuff that I don’t use within a year and I’m not a big shopper. In fact, a lot of my furniture and clothes are hand me downs; I’m not too proud to accept donations! I’ve written before about my list of items I’d like to have in my home to make it feel more cozy. Now I’m focusing on what I need to keep and get rid of should we downsize.

Right now we have a dining room, but we don’t utilize it. When we eat, we typically sit in our living room. Occasionally, my husband will sit at the dining room table to eat, but it’s pretty rare. So, we could get rid of our table and chairs if there isn’t a spot for them; although, it’s a pretty small, round table with just two chairs, so it wouldn’t take up much room. I would like to get rid of the large, tall entertainment center. I’d like to get a smaller table with a shelf underneath, for my TV. Right now the big entertainment center takes up quite a bit of space and makes it harder to angle the TV differently because the TV is actually a little too big for the center. The TV now sits a bit crooked and we can’t turn it at all.

Our second bedroom is currently being used as my husbands office. Since his job is no longer a work from home position, he doesn’t need all of that space. However, it was really nice having his own area for his personal items, that I don’t really want in the main living areas. Nothing wrong with his signed football jersey or John Wayne picture, just not something I want to look at daily. The office also has his old and really run down recliner; it”s a huge eye sore. I’d love to get rid of that! He would need a space for his computer, so if our new apartment has a dining room area or enough room in the bedroom, I suppose we could find room for it. I think a room divider might be a good idea to keep it covered up.

Overall, it would be fairly easy for us to downsize because I don’t accrue a lot of stuff. We do have a few items in our basement storage that I want to go through. Most of it is just old paperwork that could probably be pitched. I vividly remember when I had my first apartment, as a single woman, when one of my friends came to visit, she asked where the rest of my “stuff” was. As I only had one couch and a TV on a stand in my living room. Granted, that was a bit too minimalistic, even for me, but I thought it was funny that she thought I wasn’t quite moved in yet. Downsizing definitely has its perks. Typically, moving to a smaller apartment means the costs will go down, including rent and utilities. Another plus is that there will be less to clean. It won’t take as long to clean a smaller home. If you follow the site, Apartment Therapy, they have been highlighting various small apartments, using the hashtag, #smallcool, on twitter. You can really make a beautiful space in little square footage. It’s all about positioning and using the height of the space as well. Also, keeping only specific items makes you focus on what you really love, versus having just a bunch of “junk” lying around that you keep just to fill up space.

We’re still in our lease until we pay our August rent, so we have time. A lot may change in that time frame, but right now, we are content with downsizing.