Tuesday, January 08, 2008

John writes:

I moved into my condo about two months ago. It was a nice change because the apartment building where I was living was a total dump, and I figured owners would be more respectful than renters. For the most part this has proven to be the case. The exception is the people below me.

I am very careful at all times not to stomp, play loud music or have the television loud. The people below me have company an average of twice a week. Sometimes a few people, sometimes more. Problem here is the guests tend to slam the door. So I talked to them about it. The woman was very understanding (I have only said hello to the guy once in passing) and said she was glad to know. A week later the noise seemed to have gotten better so I took some cookies down that I had made.

A few days later they had a full blowout bash (for Christmas) without telling anyone. Doors slamming, screaming, loud music, the works. Well, the woman below them called the cops TWICE and they got a fine, which apparently the guy was pissed about. I also heard he knew it wasn't me who tattled.

About two weeks or so after this the woman came up to return my cookie container (never said thanks or if she liked them) and also informed me they had installed weatherstripping on their front door to muffle the noise of the door. Well, it has mixed results. It does seem quieter, but they still slam the door, so the difference is not great. Point being, they don't quite seem to understand the concept of closely a door lightly.

I have spoken to the council, and am fact am trying to get on the council, but it seems like since they're supposedly trying to be better I don't have a leg to stand on. Do I need a lawyer? I feel speaking to them again will be fruitless. They are very young and have lots of friends, so they probably feel I am infringing. Should I compare notes with the woman who lives below them? She must have it worse than me, and maybe we can go to the council together.

Ca1v1n replies:

Your neighbours installing the weather-stripping was a good start, and it proves that they at least are trying to resolve concerns. The way I see it you have a couple options.

For starters, have one of them come up to your flat and hang out for a minute while the other one stays downstairs and slams the door. At least this way they will experience what you are talking about first hand. They quite honestly may think you are over-reacting because they do not realize how much noise it makes. I once had a neighbour who was always banging on my wall and I got a bit arrogant about the whole thing, not considering my stereo to have been that loud. It took them inviting me over to their place (and leaving my stereo on) while I was blasting some Dr. Dre for me to realize how poorly our apartments were soundproofed.

You and the woman below should go to the council together if the visit described above does not yeild results. One suggestion I have, which may not be feasible or not, is to look at installing those door hinges that keep doors from slamming. I am sure you know what I am talking about, I think the generic term is "pneumatic door closure" or something like that. It is basically a bracket at the top of the door with a hinge or spring inside that keeps the door from slamming but still allows it to close. You can probably find them at your local Home Depot or hardware store.

Ideally you can convince the condo board to install them on every door in the building. Worst case scenario is that perhaps if you build up a good relationship with your neighbours they will install one themselves?

Finally, nobody should bake cookies for a neighbour and expect thanks. You should bake cookies because its a nice thing to do, and because you get a sense of satisfaction from the giving in the first place. If you also receive a 'Thank You' for them you got a bonus.

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