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Old 01-08-2014, 10:42 PM
 
5 posts, read 28,194 times
Reputation: 14

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Hello,

As stated, this is my first apartment experience. I am on the second floor of a three building apartment and there is also an apartment adjacent to me that shares a wall. The apartment, staff and neighbors (a few of whom I've met in passing) are all very pleasant. My intent with moving here was to be closer to school and to have a (reasonably) quiet place to study. I was told this apartment complex housed a lot of seniors and people who were quiet, considerate and respectful, three things I consider myself to be. I've been here only four days now.

The first day, the whole building was dead silent. This was from 12 to 9 PM Saturday, moving in. Everyday since, however, I've been getting a lot of noise, presumably from my upstairs neighbors. There is stomping sounds and the occasional dropped item, which I understand and accept as a fact of apartment living. The real problem comes with the television watching.

I haven't met them, but I'm pretty sure they are a couple. One of them gets up at 5-6 AM (I'm a light sleeper with sensitive ears) and goes to bed around 11-12 PM. They watch TV basically from 8-9 AM until 9 PM every day since Saturday. One time I even heard the TV at 5 AM, continuing on until, again around 8 PM.

Now I know these are within normal activity hours (save the 5 AM experience), and I do see that they tend to lower the volume when it gets towards 9 PM, but the main problem is the bass from the TV. It's like an ever present mosquito in my ear when they have the volume lowered, and a much more invasive low frequency blaring when they run it at a higher volume.

From about 4 until 7 they have the volume high enough where the bass is readily heard in my living area (directly below their TV), my smaller bedroom (which I intend to use to study in when semester starts in 13 days) and even the bedroom which is on the opposite side of the living area. I cannot drown out the sound.

Today, as an experiment, I turned my own speakers and sub (which is normally never on because I don't want to disrupt my downstairs neighbor) and I had to turn it (240 watt system) up to 25% with sub to drown out their TV. I also has to sit directly in front of he speakers. When I turned it off I discovered that they had turned their sound system up twice as high and were blasting music almost antagonistically (though perhaps I'm just expecting the worst). Right now it's a bother; when school starts this will make doing work in my apartment impossible and living with this for a year or at least until summer when I can move to a different unit will drive me completely insane.

Since they aren't blasting music during "quiet hours" but rather watching TV essentially from 9-9 with a subwoofer on, do I have any recourse? Are they impeding on my right to quiet enjoyment? What are your recommendations on approaching either them or the landlord about the issue? Thanks in advance. I'd also like to note that I don't hear a sound from he neighbor I share a wall with, the downstairs neighbor or the two people across the little hall. It's just the people above me.

 
Old 01-09-2014, 01:30 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,081 posts, read 22,924,480 times
Reputation: 35196
I watch TV with headphones, so I don't disturb my neighbors and I can crank it as loud as I want. I will, however, occasionally play music, while I do dishes, etc. This usually lasts max an hour, and I figure they can put up with it for that long - of course, during normal hours.

I started with the headphones because my neighbor above me where I moved from, complained.

If I was you, I'd ask the LL to ask them to turn down the TV or consider headphones, as you have to study. I'm thinking you'd have better luck with it coming from the LL, than if you approach them in person.

I just retired from an apt mgr job, and if someone complained to me in a reasonable manner, I would then talk to the tenant making the noise. If the noise seemed like normal noise, then I wouldn't take it any further. Tenants have to expect normal apt noise. But, sometimes if a tenant knows they are bothering a neighbor, they will tone it down, or even in my case, use headphones, etc.

This way, the tenants are dealing with keeping the LL off their back, as opposed to if you approach them directly. Others will no doubt disagree and say you should just go talk to the tenant in person, but I'm just speaking from my experience in watching how tenants respond differently to neighbors confronting them vs. a manager.

After that, there's not much else you can do except continue to complain, or move.

I once rented a downstairs apt in Sacramento, CA in a nice complex. I had a horrendous neighbor above me who must have been a meth head or something. She paced loudly, literally 24/7. I complained to management, and they ended up letting me move into a different upstairs apt, which I loved! I had to look like a crazed woman on the edge for them to take me seriously, but they did, and I was able to move in about a month, as I recall. So, maybe they would allow you to move into another unit.

Whenever possible, always opt for top floor apt.

BTW, I have a wine bar below me that has live music several times a week. Fortunately, it's usually quiet by midnight. The place I moved from had a lot of street noise. What I do is turn on a huge fan for white noise. You'd be amazed at how much noise they can drown out. This is the fan I use:

Patton 14-inch Workshop Fan | Overstock.com Shopping - The Best Deals on Fans

It's also really great for cooling in the summer. You can turn it so it faces the ceiling, and then it sucks the cool air from the floor and circulates it through the room. So, it serves as a double purpose.

I have it on right now, because there is a lot of street noise where I live here, too. I live in a hotel in downtown Redding, and there are bars down here, as well as a lot of homeless people, so random shouting, etc., even when there is no live music downstairs. I'm a light sleeper, too, so the fan drowns out the random shouting, cars, etc. Works wonders.

Good luck, anyway. I know what it's like.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 03:12 AM
 
8,618 posts, read 19,049,242 times
Reputation: 11457
You need to talk to your landlord about the TV...maybe it's just the sub woofer, maybe they're blaring the TV because they're hard of hearing, maybe your building has paper thin walls and very little insulation between floors, who knows?? You'll find out more when you talk to your landlord.

I agree about the fan....it will help drown out some of the noise until you get used to it.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 04:11 AM
 
10,318 posts, read 9,369,968 times
Reputation: 15907
One neighbor living 'downstairs' hooked up a surround sound system and the bass was so bad that it actually shook the windows in my apartment. I waited a few days to see if he'd turn it down, and when he didn't I knocked on his door and politely explained the lack of soundproofing in the building, etc. He apologized and I never heard the bass again. Sometimes just going directly to the source can do the trick; but I understand that even then it doesn't do any good.

Our lease does state that tenants are not allowed to disrupt their neighbors, and sound from tv or music is specifically mentioned.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 05:30 AM
 
5 posts, read 28,194 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks for your replies.

I would be less bothered by it if they were watching a movie, say 2 hours everyday and I could hear the bass.

It's more of the fact that it's a consistent, more or less, 12 hours a day of me hearing mumbling bass lines. That is why I'm thinking that if I do go to the landlord, or landlady in this case, she might be more sympathetic.

This apartment complex is near my college which is in a very rural setting. They are actually fixing up one of the third floor units which is coincidentally right across the hall from the people above me.

I am the first and only person on the "waiting list" to switch units so when summer rolls around and I have the time and manpower I intend to move to a 3rd floor unit. I just need to find some way to survive in the meantime. It'll be very difficult to read organic chemistry with my neighbors TV as the background noise.

By nature I'm not really a confrontational person, but I'm sure at some point I'll have had enough of hearing nascar and I'll either walk up there and politely ask them to either turn off the bass or work out some compromise or maybe just go straight to the landlady and ask for her guidance; she seems on the level.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 05:38 AM
 
2 posts, read 66,245 times
Reputation: 15
Good luck!

Sometimes going to the landlord for resolve rubs people the wrong way...Like they're being ratted on or something, even when that's totally not the case. Then you have someone acting like a jerk on purpose during normal (legal) noise hours 10am-10pm. Depends really on the persons you're dealing with. Of course I'm only speaking on personal experience.

Regardless, I hope you get your situation resolved.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 07:55 AM
 
473 posts, read 778,369 times
Reputation: 443
They might be retired people who are home all day and keep the TV going on, and pretty loudly since maybe one or both of their hearings isn't what it once was. The person across from me is like that too. They might be willing to turn it down if you ask.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 08:02 AM
 
912 posts, read 1,249,152 times
Reputation: 2275
I would honestly start by talking to your neighbors in a polite manner. Getting the landlord involved right away escalates the matter immediately, and if they're reasonable people, there's no need.

Also, I appreciate that you did the experiment with your own system to see about volume, but sounds come through very differently when you're in the room versus below it. It may be that they don't even have it turned up that loudly, but the placement of the system or other factors is causing the noise in your apartment.

Just start off by knocking on their door, politely introducing yourself, and explaining the issue. They may not even realize it's so loud, and hopefully that'll be the end of it. If it doesn't work that way, get the LL involved after that point.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 08:12 AM
 
455 posts, read 763,217 times
Reputation: 632
If you do go talk to them, make sure you articulate that the problem is with the bass, and explain to them that bass frequencies travel further and through more dense material than higher frequencies. Tell them that they would only need to reduce the bass level to alleviate the problem.
If they don't know how to do this, you can offer to help them out and it might make them more receptive. Seeing as how it's so bassy, it's probably not just in-set speakers on the television and they probably have external speakers with a receiver, so they should have the ability to adjust the bass independently.

If they are unwilling to compromise, then yea, go to the land lord and see what they can do. Failing that, strap on your helmet and get ready for war.
 
Old 01-09-2014, 08:20 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 58,362,608 times
Reputation: 26526
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatswanlady View Post
I would honestly start by talking to your neighbors in a polite manner. Getting the landlord involved right away escalates the matter immediately, and if they're reasonable people, there's no need.

Also, I appreciate that you did the experiment with your own system to see about volume, but sounds come through very differently when you're in the room versus below it. It may be that they don't even have it turned up that loudly, but the placement of the system or other factors is causing the noise in your apartment.

Just start off by knocking on their door, politely introducing yourself, and explaining the issue. They may not even realize it's so loud, and hopefully that'll be the end of it. If it doesn't work that way, get the LL involved after that point.
I am SO with you on this. Whenever these neighbor noise issues come up (repetitively, thread after thread) on this forum there are two main factions which opine. The first are those who're suffering from the noise but always say they don't want to be "confrontational" or are not "confrontational" people and the second are those who advise immediately going to management via certified mail return receipt and demanding that this person's actions be stopped immediately.

It is NOT "confrontational" to nicely and quietly approach your neighbor and express your concerns about the volume of their home entertainment system. If they respond antagonistically then you simply walk away and then go to the landlord/manager/owner.
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