Dealing with annoying neighbors...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 28, 2007 3:37 AM GMT
    I've been living in Boston for about 3 yrs now and have never had to deal with rowdy incompetent neighbors before. But ever since last week this Jamaican American family living upstairs has been running around nonestop, constantly walking around aimlessly, and slamming doors careless. We, my roommate and I, have already called the police on them, since they didn't respond to good old fashioned diplomacy. Even after the two of us asked them a combined 13 times to be quiet. Now, they're going back and forth like they don't know where the hell they're going.

    Their excuse that their stove top is malfunctioning, so they've been giving access to the vacant apartment across the hall from them, directly above my own. I want to do something painful and vengeful to the to get through their thick skulls, on one hand. On the other hand, I want to just say the right thing, or offer something - anything! - to ensure that I don't go crazy from their mindless redundant wanderings above.

    Is there Anyone with any advice for me, or with any words of comfort that will keep me from slipping over the steap end? Any advice will do. I'll try almost anything.
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    Dec 28, 2007 4:00 AM GMT
    Can you report to the apt mgmt that they are not taking the access to the apt above you with consideration for you?

    Also, ask mgmt to get the stove fixed pronto so they can stay in their own apt.

    You could also report the apt to the health dept. Apt mgmt doesnt usually like the Health Dept to come poking around. Who knows what else might be the problem there.

    Are there any apt rules and regulations that apply? ...like 80% of the floor must be covered and the apt above you doesnt have that, so it shouldnt be used.

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    Dec 28, 2007 4:23 AM GMT
    Caslon saidCan you report to the apt mgmt that they are not taking the access to the apt above you with consideration for you?



    Thanks for the advice. Yes, my roommante and I have both talked to the apt mgmt, but they just passed the buck and gave us the go ahead to call the police. It was almost like they didn't care about our well being -- hah!

    That's a wonderful idea. My roommate looked up laws regarding the disturbing of the peace in our corner of MA. I guess it wouldn't hurt for me to do a little bit of homework regarding our lease agreement and health dept in the area. Thanks again for the advice. I'm going to take this bit of wisdom and run with it icon_biggrin.gif
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Dec 28, 2007 4:45 AM GMT
    Sorry to hear that you are having such an issue. Over the years our family had neighbors (living next door in adjacent homes) that gave us issues, but I've never had a problem in the same apartment building.

    I would agree with the approach Caslon is suggesting.
    Don't take the lower road, but rather try and find a way to deal with the issue through the authorities.
    If you get mad and want to do something "to teach them", you might end up having something done to you in retaliation. That isn't a win situation.

    Sorry to hear about it, especially at this time of year.
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    Dec 28, 2007 6:37 AM GMT
    Nothing says "fuck you" like a dead animal strategically placed where the flies and odor will fill their apartment.
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    Dec 28, 2007 6:39 AM GMT
    Voodoo dolls.....and then call the police.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 28, 2007 11:19 AM GMT
    I would take the road that this is not MY problem but that it's the apt building's owner's problem
    You need to get them down there and say
    "...this is an intolerable situation and that you have called the police. What are you going to do to remedy this problem?" and I'd tell them that I will with hold my rent if it continues
  • buffedrick

    Posts: 13

    Dec 28, 2007 10:03 PM GMT
    You are "buying" "quiet enjoyment" it's a very real legally defined term. the property manager is not providing it. So put a price on the reduced value of your unit and reduce your rent by that amount - either you will feel compensated for the diminution in value of your rented home OR you will very definitley get the attention of the owner - and be sure the OWNER knows, not the manager - shitty managers hide their faults from the owner - find out the owner's name from the registry of deeds and send the reduced rent to him at his home with your letter describing the reason for the reduced value.

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    Dec 28, 2007 10:31 PM GMT
    ^ I agree with sickfucker above icon_lol.gif

    If they own a car you could remove their hubcaps and place a dead fish inside. The smell with get inside and they will have trouble finding the source. Then go to their door and complain what the fishy smell is.
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    Dec 28, 2007 10:40 PM GMT
    In all reality, there's not a lot you can do and you're not likely to get satisfaction by jumping through all the administrative hoops of filing complaints, yadda yadda.

    My advice is to move. Unless they do, your situation will not improve and will probably deteriorate.
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    Dec 28, 2007 11:36 PM GMT
    McGay is probably right. The only time that I looked into withholding rent, the legal way to do it was to have a lawyer file notices then after 90 days you could withhold and deposit the disputed amount in an escrow account. It was going to cost a bundle - and that was over the landlord's behavior, not that of a third party. The police have other things to worry about and the landlord won't care.

    I had a number of intolerable neighbors over the years, until finally I realized that I couldn't live in an apartment for even one more day. And beware the karma of revenge tactics. One of those who I made repeated complaints against (they would leave for the weekend and leave their TV playing, just across the wall from my bed) was later hired by my department manager to be the department financial administrator. She ended up with direct control over my budgets at work.

    Apartment buildings need to have better construction and a lot more soundproofing than they do.
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    Dec 28, 2007 11:48 PM GMT
    Get some earplugs.
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    Dec 28, 2007 11:50 PM GMT
    no offense to anyone in this thread but withholding your rent will probably get you in a worse situation than you are in now. a noisy neighbor is not constructive eviction, in fact there are probably noise regulations in the city of boston, though they are near impossible to get enforced anywhere. honestly it just sounds like you are being over sensitive. you live in an apt. people live above below and next to you. if you need perfect peace and quiet buy a house.
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    Dec 29, 2007 12:44 AM GMT
    Boiwunder:

    Although I am a lawyer, I do not practice in your state and the information I am giving you is not legal advice:

    You've gotten some good advice and some bad advice on this thread. Under no circumstances should you use retaliatory behavior...trust me, your neighbors will be better at it than you. Also, if you use such action, you may forfeit any legal/equitable remedies you may have.

    Keep a diary of the acts, noise, times, complaints. Write a certified letter to the manager, with a certified copy to the owner of the building, detailing your complaints, the times and the polite/legal methods you have tried to resolve the problem. Demand the manager enforce the terms of the rental agreement...every state's residential tenancies include a landlord's warranty to the tenant of peaceful enjoyment of his premises, and a reciprocal covenant on the tenant to not disturb the peace of other tenants. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter as well as the return receipts.

    Do consult an attorney (if you qualify, try legal aid...if not, call multiple attorneys for info on rates, etc...look for someone that will give you a free consultation up front, and go in with your questions written down...be sure to ask about attorney's fees and whether or not you can recoup them from the landlord in your effort to have the lease covenants enforced...also, ask if the attorney will handle your case for the court's award of attorneys fees rather than any other basis. If he says "no", you may not have a great case under your state's laws.) or at the very least contact legal internet resources in your state for advice on how to proceed. Most states have remedies by allowing the withholding of rent after appropriate notice to the landlord, but all of those notices will vary from state to state.

    You can deal with this legally, but it will take patience and persistence.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 29, 2007 1:34 AM GMT
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    Dec 29, 2007 6:37 PM GMT
    Trance23 said^ I agree with sickfucker above icon_lol.gif

    If they own a car you could remove their hubcaps and place a dead fish inside. The smell with get inside and they will have trouble finding the source. Then go to their door and complain what the fishy smell is.


    Hubcaps? fuck that! Jimmy the door open and push little pieces of it into the vents. Or put a shotgun shell up in the muffler. When it gets hot enough to blow it will probably panic them into crashing.
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    Dec 29, 2007 7:05 PM GMT
    Some great advice for you on here, as well as a few fun 'fantasy revenge' bits that sound amusing. But really - I second the advice related to contacting the actual owner of the building. As stated previously, bad managers hide problems. I once rented after college - had a problem - got nowhere with the management, withheld rent as provided for in the California civil code, and then contacted the owner - he was unaware of the management's behavior - and he fired them!
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    Dec 30, 2007 2:48 PM GMT
    At my last apartment, the people above me must have been completely deaf, but didn't know it. One day, shortly after moving in, I was reading the paper, listening to music (not loud - I was a respectful neighbor) and I could clearly hear Bob Costas listing out what had happened at the Olympics that day - just as if he were actually sitting next to me! Mind you, I didn't have my TV on. I complained to management - no good. A couple times, I just used the broom-on-the-ceiling thing - one time that worked. I asked them once about it, but they scoffed at me. So I told my neighbor next door about it and just turned up my TV a little to drown their's out. I was saving up for a house anyway that I'm now it...

    Now if I could just take out the next-door neighbor's outside light that shines in my bedroom window... Especially since they moved out in October and it's STILL on... icon_mad.gif
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    Jan 01, 2008 11:14 PM GMT
    thanks everyone for your advice. i'm losing my mind here and fear i'm going to go into nuerologic shock(exaggerated of course. i have petit epilepsy), if these people don't calm their s**t. i'm going to play the rules, aside from knocking the ceiling when they get out of control, so that I can retain some credibility in the situation. the downside is that i'll have a tremor if i lose control of myself. which could turn out be a double edged sword i may use in my favor. someone said that i'm possibly 'buying' some 'quiet enjoyment'; which i'll find out as soon as my roommate brings out our copy of the lease from wherever the hell he's got it hidden.
    i'm going crazy, pure and simple. i hate immigrants using ignorance as a defense.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14295

    Jan 05, 2008 8:46 PM GMT
    Usually when I have to deal with an annoying neighbor the first thing I would do is pay them a friendly visit and ask them to turn down the noise and be more considerate of others around them. During the day I am very tolerant and don't mind some loud noise. But after 8 or 9 at night I am totally intolerant of any real loud noise. If the annoying neighbor flatly refuses to cooperate with me, then I call the cops and let them handle the situation. It is usually a very effective solution for dealing with spiteful, annoying neighbors.
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    Jan 05, 2008 10:07 PM GMT
    Here are some suggestions:

    1. Insist to the management that they move into the other apartment, the one with the working stove, or

    2. Ask you management to move you into the other apartment, so that you will not be below them

    3. Give your management a deadline to fix the stove, and state that if they do not, you will have someone repair the stove and deduct the cost from your rent (with a receipt). The landlord does not have a right to leave a part of an apartment which was included in the lease inoperable, if it is interfering with your quiet enjoyment.

    4. If none of those work, do the legal work as suggested to declare the landlord in breach of the lease

    I have found in the past, that when management is not responsive, the best long term plan is to look elsewhere, and starting the process of getting out of the lease now is a step towards that.
  • SkyMiles

    Posts: 963

    Jan 05, 2008 11:53 PM GMT
    Apartments in general suck. Many people who live in apartments are way too clueless to consider that anyone else in the world exists beyond very, very thin walls.
    Managment companies don't really care but will eventually get around to evicting people if you keep calling the police on them.
    So it depends on what you're willing to put up with.
    Are you willing to go to 'war' and deal with those consequences? That may or may not get the result you want.
    Is dealing with their crap better than moving or worse?
    I'd vote with my feet and move.
    Sorry, that's all I got! ;) I 'feel your pain' and hope it works out for you guys!