There are always lots of neighbour issues when you live in an apartment.
The people upstairs come home when the pubs shut and then party till 3am every weekend. The nice young woman downstairs goes out to work, leaving her little dog to yap all day until she comes home. The young fellas on the floor below clearly have never learned what their stove is for, so every night is barbie night – preceded by the ritual burn-off of old fat, the smoke and stink from which pours into your apartment.
“Ah, well, that’s apartment living,” you tell yourself as you turn up the volume of your stereo to full “doof” to drown out the sound of the 12-year-old next door practising her clarinet for an hour every evening. By the way, your music is now keeping the shift-working nurses on the other side awake.
Is that really what we have to put up with when we live in apartments? There should be some give and take, but there are also limits
Most states have laws that would curb the weekend party animals regardless of where they lived. After midnight you can call the cops and your neighbours could be fined and even have their stereo gear impounded.
And there are by-laws in apartment blocks that limit excessively loud music all day, not just late at night. That includes little Miss Clarinet squeaking her way through the first few bars of Rhapsody In Blue.
The yappy dog is almost certainly breaching by-laws, not to mention local council ordinances. The barbie boys are creating a nuisance (although proving it may be tricky).
In fact, all of these scenarios involve some breach – some of them several – but who wants to be the apartment block grinch by complaining?
Do you really want to bump into the blokes from downstairs, now seriously undernourished because their landlord has ordered them to ditch the barbie? Are you prepared to wear the guilt of ruining a child’s musical ambitions (or, at least, her parents’)?
Taking The Middle Ground
However, there may be a compromise and the way to achieve that is by talking. The people above, below and next to you have no idea how loud the noise they are making sounds in your flat.
The blokes downstairs have no concept of where their barbie smoke goes and how bad it smells when it gets there (OK, they’re not that bright). The woman whose dog barks while she’s at work, doesn’t know … she’s at work, after all.
That said, talking isn’t always an option because no one likes to be confronted by an irritated neighbour at their front door. And in some blocks you can’t even get to other floors, anyway.
However, the anonymous note is a particularly irritating form of communication.
So a friendly chat before you complain has to be a better option. And perhaps the way to open the discussion is to offer a gift with a note attached.
A card saying: “Can we talk about your barbecue …?” attached to a box of chocolates or bottle of drinkable red will at least show you are not the negative namby-pamby nimby they might otherwise assume you are.
To be fair, there are people who live in apartments whose response will be “I can do what I want in my home and if you don’t like it, tough…!”
In which case, you have been given licence to unleash the dogs of strata war, in the form of by-law breach notices, complaints to the police and letters to landlords if they’re tenants.
After all, you are the nice person in all of this and that wine was good … wasn’t it?
With thanks and acknowledgement to the author, Jimmy Thomson.
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