Sunday, December 16, 2018

Annoying thing(s): The condo edition

Right around the same time the secondhand smoke from our neighbours across the hall ceased to be an issue (not to mention the screaming matches)(!)(they have since moved out)(yay?), a new annoyance came along to take its place: noise from the neighbours directly above us. (Insert eyeroll icon here.) 

We first became aware of what sounded like a lot of hammering & drilling overhead (renovations, maybe)?  Then, a series of rapid thump-thump-thumps -- not so much the pitter-patter of little feet as perhaps a small herd of elephants?? -- sometimes louder, sometimes more muffled.  We also noticed a pattern: first thing in the morning, then again in the late afternoon (beginning around 3:10 p.m., to be exact), and on & off throughout the evening, most days. 

We've decided that it must be a couple of small children creating all or most of the noise -- who else could be that energetic that consistently, right??  (As further proof, we've also heard childish voices from the balcony above ours, during nice weather -- not to mention faint wails overhead some evenings -- clearly, someone who is NOT happy to be informed that it's bedtime!) We've concluded that the mid-afternoon noise must signal their arrival home from school/daycare. We think we encountered the likely culprits in the elevator once:  a weary-looking mother with two children -- a boy who looked to be about 6-8 and a little girl several years younger.  

We have debated whether to knock on the door and complain/ask (nicely -- at first, anyway...!) if they could tone things down a bit.  So far, we haven't (although we still might). Some days we notice it/it bothers us more or less than others.  We figure that eventually, energetic young children turn into lethargic teenagers staring at screens, who will move off the couch only under protest. ;)  

That day is still several years away, however...!  We know that kids will be kids, and we are willing to cut people SOME slack. At the same time, we believe we are entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of OUR unit too. Right? :p  


  1. This is a hard issue that has impacted me directly. I’ve lived under noisy adults (vacuuming at 11 pm, loud parties, etc) and that behavior deserves a knock at the door. But small children are different, especially boys, as their feet are perfectly sized to maximize the *thump* sounds that carry. We went through this with Teddy and it was the reason things went south with our first landlord in Boston (she claimed he was breaking the house) as we tired everything to rectify the situation only to have us having to move out given the final solution involved ripping out all the flooring to install good subflooring.

    As annoying as it is, Im advocating for approaching this situation with as much kindness as possible. Do you know if this couple owns? If yes, working in suggestions about carpet/rugs with good subflooring may be good suggestions, but that shouldn’t be the opening statement as this woman sounds like she’s a bit overwhelmed and likely looking for less criticism.

    If they rent, complain to the landlord about soundproofing, but also after meeting the family and learning what the interior of their unit looks like. Too often landlords pass the blame and don’t spend the money to get their units rent-ready, so that will likely be a drawn out fight.

    Anyway, I feel for you. It’s the reason we’re in the current rental we’re in as Teddy still has lead feet and we don’t want to live above anyone to prevent these complaints. But I also wish we were met with more kindness and understanding over the situation. Leaving a rental with a pissed-off landlady who was also grieving a broken friendship was really traumatic.

    1. I hear you, Cristy, and yes, we are trying to be patient. If/when we do eventually say something, we will certainly try to be as kind as possible (at least at the start).

      We do know they are renting (their landlord recently was elected to the condo board -- that unit was listed as one of several he owns in the building -- which is how we know). I know there are several single parents in the building and I am wondering whether this woman is one of them. There is a bylaw that all units should have area rugs/carpets. We are guilty of not having one ourselves. ;)

      We also have some annoying young adult neighbours one floor down & one unit over, who like to party on their balcony (i.e., almost directly outside our bedroom window)... even in December (as we discovered last night...!). They don't do it every weekend, thankfully, and I'm willing to cut people some slack if they quiet down after a reasonable hour (say, midnight-ish) -- but there were a couple of times this summer when I could hear them talking well after that (in one case, I could clearly hear them discussing mortgage rates at 3 a.m.!!). :p

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your personal experience & expert advice! -- I appreciate it! <3

  2. I'm a very silent person. The home-loving sort of silent person, if you know what I mean. I love being at home doing silent things (reading, mainly). It's my definition of heaven on earth. I feel your pain.

    BUT (this is a big BUT) I have children. A six year old, a toddler and a baby. They aren't especially loud, but they are children. As you can imagine, my life is a constant struggle to keep it down. Not only because of the neighbours, but also (well, mainly) for my own sanity. IT'S NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE. The only time our home is silent is when the stars align and all three children are sleeping simultaneously.

    If my neighbours knocked on my door to complain, I'd be mortified and I might or might not start crying there and then. So, on behalf of decent, silence-loving human beings who are trying to parent decent, noise-loving human beings, don't! :P

  3. Oh dear. Of course parents will react to this differently, and take it more personally. Yes, it is a sensitive issue, but yes, you deserve reasonable peace and quiet. I'm glad Christy gave you some suggestions on how to take it further, if or when you feel you need to.

  4. Hoo boy. This is a toughie. When I lived in a co-op building in Yonkers, where we sublet, the person above us had a little girl and I swear she roller skated all over the apartment at all hours. It was super annoying. My husband at the time, who was low on tact, succeeded in royally pissing off the guy when he approached him, and I think he then doubled down and started making noise of his own. I don't know if it would have made a difference if we had also owned, but we didn't and it was not a great situation. It is really hard with small children, because developmentally it's not reasonable to expect quiet behavior, especially at home. Which stinks for you, because you also want a nice quiet environment and the noise from above is causing angst. I like Cristy's suggestions... it's such a touchy situation. I hope they become sullen tweens in advance of being sullen teenagers! :)