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Old 09-07-2011, 05:19 PM
1 posts, read 9,995 times
Reputation: 15


Hey everyone!

I'm new to this site. More specifically, drawn to this site via google after much research regarding noise ordinances, complaints, situations, etc.

So here is the deal:

It's pretty simple and cut n' dry if you ask me. My girlfriend and I moved into an apartment in North Seattle. We're both in our twenties, make very little money, and work extremely hard to support ourselves. The apartment is sanctioned Section 8 so there were some caveats we were aware of when moving in - most specifically the salary cap. Evidently we cannot make more then $30,000 combined, if we wish to continue paying around $650 for a $1200 apartment that is. We have two small dogs, both under 25 lbs. Neither of them bark, unless someone is at the door, but they usually quiet down within about 10 seconds. My girlfriend works during the day in a retail outlet. Typically from 9-6 or so. I work the opposite shift, from around 1 am to 10 am, sometimes later. This was intentional; working these hours means we don't see each other as often as we'd like, but it also means that someone is always home for our dogs.

About two months have gone by since we moved in. Didn't realize what a crummy neighborhood it was until our car got broken into about a week or two after we moved in. Then we started hearing about the shootings down the street. BUT, we would never have known had those things not happened/been brought to our attention because our neighbors are SO quiet and polite. I'd say it's about 90% ethnic families here, and there are about 250 units in this apartment block, so the fact that there is not much noise from so many neighbors is astounding. From time to time we hear doors being slammed or cabinets being over enthusiastically shut, but that's all fine. This is not our first apartment. We've done the whole epic apartment neighbors battle over noise and parking before. It sucks, but it sometimes happens.

We got new upstairs neighbors about a week ago. For the first few days the noise was nearly unbearable. It was 24 hours a day. Stomping, running, dragging, hammering, you get the idea. I notified one of the property managers who basically said there's nothing he can do if it's during the daytime, which I understand. I checked our lease before I called and it clearly states that quiet time is between 10pm and 8am. So I can live with the noise during the day - even if my expensive noise cancelling headphones on just about as high as they can comfortably go don't detract from the stomping whatsoever. But fine. I'm okay with watching TV with headphones on, and leaving the windows open so I don't hear the noise as much. But it's gotten to the point where my dogs bark because they think the stomping is someone knocking at the door. Glasses shake when they run.

I called again yesterday and let the second property manager know what's going on. She was very nice and polite, as she has been since we moved in, and let me know she would send them a letter, and requested that I continue to notify her of the noise levels/hours. I've done so. Today she told me she would be sending them a 10 day notice to comply or quit. Sounds good right?

Theres some more: The noise is predominantly coming from a 4 year old girl, which as you can imagine, isn't a force that can really be controlled, nor should she be. She's a kid, let her be a kid.

So I'm evaluating my options here and I need some advice! I somehow doubt that if the noise hasn't subsided since they moved in, at all, and the letters and warnings have thus far gone unheeded, this 10 day will probably not do anything, and it will probably just fizzle out. So I need advice!

Here's some more info about the situation.

My girlfriend and I paid....wait for it...six months in advance. Why? Because we could afford it at the time, and the property managers basically led us to believe we had the place before we moved all our stuff 1200 miles to Seattle. Then when we got here and they told us to pay 6 months in advance or we couldn't have the unit. This was because we didn't have jobs at the time and only had about $15k in savings, even though we both had job offers. I understood, and complied, however that essentially means we cannot move out unless we want to bite it on that money. Which we may have to do.

I drive a forklift, so sleep is VERY important. I can understand this does not really cause an impact on the situation. Who cares where I work right?

I've considered a few options here if for some reason the tenants do not quiet down but somehow are aloud to stay:

Write a letter, hand it to my landlord to read and pass on to them. This is so they cannot reproduce a letter with my name on it that says something VERY different from what I wrote. Maybe this is over thinking it, maybe not.

Talk to my neighbor. I know this is probably the first suggestion that comes to mind. HOWEVER it should be noted that I have debilitating social anxiety and very rarely talk to people I do not know. It's odd to many people, but it's who I am, and 22 years of therapy has not improved it, so let's move on.

Send my girlfriend to talk to them. Theres an idea! If I were to do this, I would HIGHLY suggest that my girlfriend record the conversation with her phone so that the neighbor does not falsely report how the conversation went. This may again be overkill, or seem cynical, but everyone seems to lie so instinctively that I think it's necessary.

Call the police if it is after 10pm. I feel bad doing this, but maybe I shouldn't. If I wake up at 1am to get ready for work to find my girlfriend on the couch watching TV because the upstairs neighbors woke her up, then perhaps I should. Does anyone from KC have any information about noise ordinances? I couldn't track down any information through a quick google search, but perhaps I overlooked it.

If you read this far then thanks! I know I probably sound pretty crotchety, but the neighbors are SO loud. This is not noise from normal use, ie walking, talking, TV, etc. This is LOUD BANG STOMP CRASH DRAAAAG HAMMER HAMMER HAMMER HAMMER. I honestly get exhausted listening to them walk back and forth all day.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:36 PM
579 posts, read 995,593 times
Reputation: 401
Maybe this is too simplistic for advice, but have you tried fans, as in desk fans on high? I've gotten in the habit of sleeping with them about 20-30 years ago and now can't sleep without them. Hotels kill me and I hear every single tiny sound. We sleep with our windows open and my fans even drown out the garbage men. The funny thing is in the early 90s I rented a downstairs apartment and we had a lady that would run the treadmill and vaccuum at 1 am. We'd complain and nothing would get done. She moves out and the new upstairs neighbor was worse. Each subsequent one worse than the one before. After that we always opted for upstairs...........so is it possible to keep renting in that building and with that company, keeping your lease and funds intact there, and just switch units? Is an upstairs unit available? You seem to like all the other neighbors and the price.
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:38 PM
3,970 posts, read 11,182,066 times
Reputation: 1576
I can relate to your problems, as I have lived in apartments with similar issues.

What has worked for me is, first contacting the neighbors politely and expressing the concerns. I understand you may have some difficulty with this, so be it.

Next, go the landlord and make a formal complaint. Yes, it is hard to evict someone for this, especially in Washington, but if others complain then your case will have more merit.

Finally, use all ways to reduce noise, as you have with headphones, etc. I have also found that if your unit has an AC/fan system, the fan can somewhat provide some white noise that reduces the obnoxious noise.

The police will not react to "stomping, crying kids", etc. They have bigger fish to fry, unfortunately. They are not a good resolution unless it is continuous loud music at all hours.

If none of this resolves the problem, tough it out for the 6 months you have already paid for and simply move. Next place, tell the landlord you value "quiet", and their response will tell you everything you need to hear. Many times, this message to a landlord will be something they may want to hear from a future tenant, and this may help you get accepted into the rental.

There are no simple solutions here. I hope this helps, though.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:34 PM
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,007 posts, read 3,342,872 times
Reputation: 1590
The RENTING forum on C-D seems to have threads at times regarding this issue. Check there if you haven't already.

That's why I rent a top floor in an otherwise basic place. Rather that than a better place but living under such conditions. Plus, I use my fan setting on the a/c unit to drown out some noise.
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:43 PM
27 posts, read 78,262 times
Reputation: 38
Originally Posted by iameac View Post
Then we started hearing about the shootings down the street.

Wait: did you say shootings - plural - as in multiple shootings? Could you elaborate on that? What neighborhood in North Seattle do you live in, may I ask?

While I sympathize with your noise concerns, as I've had numerous myself, I'd be more uneasy outside my apartment than inside...
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:20 AM
Location: Capital Hill
1,602 posts, read 2,564,087 times
Reputation: 837
Welcome to Seattle. This is life, specially as an apartment dweller.
The only solution I can think of is move to a different apartment complex and see if it will be any better.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:55 PM
Location: State of INSANITY
183 posts, read 202,691 times
Reputation: 397
I was a night nurse for many years, with very noisy upstairs neighbors. NO ONE cares that we need to sleep by day. A nice box fan drowns out such noise nicely. Not much else you can do but move, which I eventually did, to a duplex. The noise was considerably less then. I still sleep with the box fan on, now.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:51 PM
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
5,008 posts, read 10,241,753 times
Reputation: 4125
The only advice I could give is to not jack up the noise that comes out of your apartment. It only makes things worse.

I second fans and when it gets too cold for fans, write a personal letter to the folks upstairs, hopefully that helps but if it doesn't ... sorry about that but that's life as a renter.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:10 AM
Location: USA, love-it or leave-it Baby!!!!
14,201 posts, read 14,373,026 times
Reputation: 9673
Pretty bad spot, paid all that in advance....never get that back so you have to stay. I would suggest MOVE as soon as your lease/rent advance is up. Management......haha, most of the times they are worthless.

I have moved a lot, I WILL NOT SIGN A LEASE. You see, all the cr*p about a lease
helping keep a stable base in the apartment.....blah, blah, blah.

If a place is good people will stay.....if a place is crud and you sign a lease they have got you on the hook, a SCAM. They will give you the big sell when you are looking at the place, then when you sign the lease you see the REAL place you are renting.

Hearos earplugs block out a LOT of noise and they are very comfortable.

Last edited by tickyul; 09-10-2011 at 09:19 AM..
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:26 AM
Location: where you sip the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica
8,307 posts, read 11,558,054 times
Reputation: 8020
Big issue for me in the past. Bottom line is that now I ask politely the first time, yell in a prolonged way the second time, and then the third time walk in and knock the speakers around, then ask them if they have a problem with that. That's not the way I am normally, in fact I've always been a hermit who just wanted people to leave me be, but I've found that polite requests rarely get lasting results from noisy people.

I found that this was a legally acceptable way of doing things in Seattle, because I helped a young woman in an apartment building we were living in. She had a drunken Russian sailor knock on her door, push it open, and enter. Then he started smashing things around as she escaped. I called the cops, they came quickly and tackled him. But the next day the DA called and said she couldn't do anything because without damage to the door, he could (or did) claim she invited him in, perhaps for a voluntary sexual encounter that went wrong. He could claim to be her boyfriend.

So bottom line is, in Seattle without witnesses and without damage to the door, you've been legally invited in. Then if you are big and strong, you can f up the sound system without them daring to do anything about it. Which serves the rastards right, in my opinion - I don't come farrt in their apartment, so they should not intrude their noise into mine.

But you have a different problem, with a girl making the noise. You can't use violence to solve that issue. However your girlfriend should try to nerve herself up to knock heavily on their door and yell at them EVERY TIME for letting the kid stomp on the floor. Kids don't actually need to do that to have a good time. You can make life miserable for them too!

Another option is to ask them if they would like to switch apartments with you.
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