Friday, June 08, 2007

Lynda writes:

We bought a home for our daughters to live in while they complete college. When our oldest daughter first moved in she had some parties where all the classic bad things happened, underage drinking, people showing up without invites, and parties that got out of hand. The house is in a nice neighborhood with mostly young families, but some older. Our home’s back patio is about 5 feet from the neighbors bedroom window. If anyone goes outside to make a cell phone call it disturbs them.

Over the years (3), they have complained and each time the kids in the house have tried harder to be better neighbors. Unfortunately, it is hard for college kids to be totally quiet all the time. Especially with a distance of 5 feet to the neighbors bedroom window. The neighbors have a newborn that goes to bed at 7PM. The neighbors started calling the police every time the kids in the house had friends over. Every time they would complain the kids would go over and talk with them, bake them cookies and try to work it out. The police have been called 5 times. They have gone to the University and put a note in my daughters file (the house is 2 miles from campus), they have talked with campus security and had the kids files flagged. My daughter is mortified. She feels like she is being harassed and she cannot do anything to stand up for herself, meanwhile the neighbors are documenting ever little thing.

After meeting with the neighbors last August they finally felt like they have come up with an agreement. One party per quarter and to give notice so the neighbors could be away when the party happened. Only one time did the police actually find anything. The roommate that moved out had a party while my daughter was on vacation. A young man was found passed out on the back porch. This particular roommate was the cause of many of the issues. She moved out in the fall and it is all new kids in the house. The problem is now the neighbors say all bets are off and call the police for every infraction. Because their roommate had this particular party, the neighbors did not respond when in Nov. the kids send a note saying in December they planned to have 12 friends over at the end of the term. When the neighbors did not respond, to what the kids had thought they had agreed to, (One party per quarter), I called them on the phone, it was 6:00 the night of the party. They said if it was noisy at all they would call the police, there was no olive branch, no way to work it out. The kids didn’t want to police to show so they told their friends not to come and cancelled the party. They felt harassed and like there was no way to work it out.

The real problem is the proximity of the houses and it is no one’s fault that it is impossible to be quiet enough to make these neighbors happy.

The extent to which they have visitors now is from 3 PM to about 7PM for BBQ’s. The neighbors still call the cops. Last time they called the police, the kids had a BBQ that ended at 8PM, the police showed up at 9PM and one of the roommates was home doing homework in her PJ’s. Later that night, when one of the roomies (who had had some beer at the concert) decided to wake them up by calling them on the phone through the night. They traced the number and 5 cop cars surrounded the house. The kids were so scared with the police pounding on the door that they all hid under their beds and waited 45 minutes for the police to leave.

What you have to understand is these are all honors students with higher than 3.75 GPA’s. They are not lazy losers. The house is clean, they grow vegetables and keep the lawn mowed, they bake their neighbors cookies and try to find a way to work it out. The kids are seniors and we plan to have a graduation party for them. We feel we own the house and should be able to have a celebration without any cops even if the neighbors can hear voices and music over the fence. No other neighbor has ever complained or had issue with the kids.

Is there anything we can do? We have decided to sell the house which should make the neighbors happy. They tell us any noise at any hour of the day that they can hear with their window open is a noise disturbance.

When grandpa answers the door at the party, maybe the police will realize the neighbor has gone a little overboard. There doesn’t seem to be anyway the kids can defend themselves which is the sad part. And they are really good kids


Anonymous said...

Wow, I really feel badly for you. I have the opposite problem. My neighbor is recently divorced and doing the "swinging single" thing. He also just poured a new patio 5 feet from by bedroom window. Of course, he has to use it ALL THE FREAKING TIME. The problem is 1) he works 3-11, so he's out there BBQing at midnight and 2) he's a cop, so I don't think calling the cops isn't going to do much good. He and his friends and their floozies of the week are so loud that I can hear them even though I'm wearing earplugs, have two fans running and have the windows closed. I've started sleeping in the living room because it's the only way I can get a decent night's sleep. My only consolation right now is that I'm getting ready to start some major construction (new roof, windows, siding, etc.) and legally the construction crew can start at 7 AM. I told the crew I want to see them there at 7 every day.

Anonymous said...

I have lived next to rentals with students, and next to houses owned by the parents who installed their college students in them. Yeah, right, their little darlings do nothing wrong and try to be sooooo quiet. I have total total sympathy for the neighbor!! Other neighbors probably count on the one willing to make the complaint against the noise.

Anonymous said...

I have total total sympathy for the neighbor too. Your kid is a pain
in the butt. Why do they have to have any parties if they are soooo
busy studying.
Sorry but you are just biased towards
your little darling why don't you let her come over to your house and party? send out a few invitations on youtube for a laugh.

Tracy Miller said...

You BOUGHT your kids a house to stay in while they are at college?! I think this is part of the problem right here. They don't have to work like a slave to go to school AND afford housing (like I did when I went to school), and thus feel a sense of entitlement to do as they please in a house that they do not pay for.

It sounds like they are still into partying, and if so, they seem taylor-made for the on-campus, dormitory crowd. When you live in a residential area, you have to behave, and if that means no loud parties and passed-out college kids , and kids making prank calls, so be it. Whether your kids feel it is nice, quiet party is irrelevant if the neighbors are being bothered.

Anonymous said...

When you buy a house in a "nice" neighbourhood, you are going to have "nice" families living there. Why do these kids need to party in the house? Don't college kids go out to the clubs to party? Or are they drinking underage? I have absolutely no sympathy for this parent. I think you would feel differently if someone else's "good" kid and their roommates lived next door to you.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like some people commenting are a teensy weensy jealous. your kids are lucky to have parents who could send them off to college and have a house to live in. I'm sure the neighbor was/is a nutcase and I'm sure your kids might have had a bit more fun than they say. but I think the cops in the end will realize the neighbors are being unrealistic in their expectations of noise levels-AND GET A GRIP!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, your kid is a bad neighbor. Blaming in on the roommates is a cop out. They all live together, they are all responsible for the house.

atticus said...

It is not your kids problem that the people behind them have a child. If they are making efforts to be respectful then that is all they need to do.
If it were me I would be dealing with the university to remove any "flagging" I would also go down to the local court house and get the specific laws on noise db and hours. It is absurd to expect people not to live a life because you have a baby.
Consideration is one thing but it sounds to me to be just plain harassment. How is it someone with no legal right or ownership on a piece of property can dictate how the owners live?

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought: if they want to have a party, why not rent out a hall or venue somewhere?

Residential parties are just not a good idea when the houses are that close together.

And cookies may have worked once, but I bet the neighbors would much rather not be disturbed by your kids. Maybe they should grow up and take some responsibility for their actions and actually try to change their behavior instead of constantly bothering people and trying to earn their forgiveness after the fact.

Anonymous said...

I really don't have any sympathy here. I'm not that far removed from college (and yes, it would have been nice if my parents bought a house for me to live in, but I survived), and maybe the neighbors shriek over every noise they hear ... but if I'm living in a decent neighborhood, I really don't want a houseful of college students living nearby and having parties. I did well in school, too, but I certainly partied. I would have been pissed to live next door to me.

If I'm the neighbors? Don't give me cookies. Just shut up.