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I apologize in advance for being a bit off-topic, but this forum is the best collection of smart and helpful landlords I know. My sister-in-law has been living in an apartment for about 9 months now. It is a large complex run by a relatively large national property management company with mainly 3-story multi-unit buildings. Her apartment is on the second floor with one unit above and one unit below. Her neighbor downstairs has complained to her several times about the loud footsteps of her kids and she recently received an official noise complaint notice from the landlord. Her kids are pretty well behaved for their ages (2 and 4), but they are still kids; they don't know how to walk softly and they sometimes run.

I drafted the following letter which lays out the rest of the story and I'm hoping for your feedback/advise before I give it to her.



Re: Noise complaint

Dear Property Manager,

I am in receipt of your Notice of Noise Complaint dated 1/11/13.

As you are aware, I have two young children. While they are well behaved, they do have the energy and awkward gross motor skills one would expect of children. You are probably also aware that the apartment floors transmit noise very easily (I hear the movements of the tenants above me quite clearly).

I understand how these factors can combine to cause an annoyance for the person living below me as my children’s awkward footsteps and falls can be heard very loudly in the apartment below mine. You’ll find on my original application that I requested a ground-floor unit for exactly this reason.

I would very much like to remedy this situation. I believe that the most effective resolution would be to allow me to move to a ground-floor unit, which I would be more than happy to do under the same lease terms. Please let me know if this is acceptable so that we can coordinate a move date.

Thank you,


[sister-in-law]

cc: [downstairs neighbor]

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I bet that after OP's sister moves out, someone else will move in. The person below them will probably complain about th... (more)

tedteddy (Apr. 04, 2013 @ 1:58p) |

I like to make little things/issues like these my personal project.

Here is my current one. Somebody stole a chair from ... (more)

Al3xK (Apr. 04, 2013 @ 2:08p) |

Didn't realize we had a high roller in the house.

BradisBrad (Apr. 04, 2013 @ 2:53p) |

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*Not a landlord*

Very reasonable response. The unreasonable response would involve the person downstairs paying for moving expenses.

Are there specific rooms or times of day that are an issue? If it's a specific bedroom, maybe mom and the kids and swap bedrooms or they can buy an inexpensive area rug to try to reduce sound transmittance. My point here is that maybe a very small behavioral action will make the neighbor happy (i.e. playing the Wii in a different room).

FWIW -- Sometimes condo and apartment building do noise investigations and determine that the noise transmittance is actually not a violation of the rules.

What's local ordinance and what does your lease say? I mean if this is at 3 in the afternoon then the people below can pound sand. I doubt the kids are up very late

OP, sounds reasonable, and keeps things on friendly terms.

She is in a position of strength here as there is almost certainly no local ordinance or lease restriction about kids walking around in their own home. this is not like someone blasting loud music or throwing paties at all hours.

On the other hand if the landlord objects she should be prepared to move upon lease expiration. Older wood frame buildings can transmit noise very easily.

Aagiants said:   What's local ordinance and what does your lease say? I mean if this is at 3 in the afternoon then the people below can pound sand. I doubt the kids are up very lateTHIS. don't request a move just yet.

stanolshefski said:   Are there specific rooms or times of day that are an issue? If it's a specific bedroom, maybe mom and the kids and swap bedrooms or they can buy an inexpensive area rug to try to reduce sound transmittance. My point here is that maybe a very small behavioral action will make the neighbor happy (i.e. playing the Wii in a different room).

FWIW -- Sometimes condo and apartment building do noise investigations and determine that the noise transmittance is actually not a violation of the rules.


Rug and RUG PAD should solve the problem.

Other stuff that probably bugs them: Bouncing, dropping, dribbling balls on the floor, knocking stuff over, dropping heavy objects, music with bass, drum sets, pets that bark and meow when left alone...

dealmaster00 said:   Aagiants said:   What's local ordinance and what does your lease say? I mean if this is at 3 in the afternoon then the people below can pound sand. I doubt the kids are up very lateTHIS. don't request a move just yet.
agreed. i would not volunteer a weekend to move all my stuff unless i was causing an unreasonable disturbance.

otherwise...neighbors dont like it, they can get a SFH.

Thanks for the replies so far. Yes, the noise level isn't unreasonable (kids are gone during the day, no loud music or other sources), but my sister really does want a downstairs apartment so that she can let the kids run around as much as they'd like without having to bother anyone else. She said she wouldn't mind moving and she doesn't have a great deal of stuff. Do you think asking for a downstairs unit is unreasonable?

doveroftke said:   Thanks for the replies so far. Yes, the noise level isn't unreasonable (kids are gone during the day, no loud music or other sources), but my sister really does want a downstairs apartment so that she can let the kids run around as much as they'd like without having to bother anyone else. She said she wouldn't mind moving and she doesn't have a great deal of stuff. Do you think asking for a downstairs unit is unreasonable?No, but it never hurts to try to get something out of it in exchange for the inconvenience. Even if they don't have much stuff, their mailing address will change, and it will cost money to move the phone number, the cable line, the utilities, etc right?

How noise complaints about children are handled can fall into the territory of familial discrimination, which is prohibited under Federal law. How the landlord handles this could put himself at some legal risk. If a person wants to move to a first floor unit, that is fine, but it cannot be forced (see link 1 below).

Also, the legal advice in the two articles below is to handle such complaints is on an active basis by immediately responding to the noise complaints to see if they are valid or not (i.e. tell complaining tenant to report noise while it is happening and then checking to see if it really is happening or can get mitigated while it is occurring.

http://fairhousing.foxrothschild.com/2011/11/articles/discrimina...

Also, http://www.fairhousingblog.com/2011_05_01_archive.html

The Massachusetts Attorney General's office announced on May 12 that the owner and operator of 26 rental properties has agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming the company illegally discriminated when it attempted to evict a tenant and her small children from their apartment. According to the complaint, a neighbor repeatedly made "unreasonable and unsubstantiated complaints" about noise made by the tenant's children. After an investigation, the Attorney General determined that the tenant had taken steps to address the neighbor's concerns, including enrolling her children in additional daycare and keeping her children out of the apartment for long periods of time on the weekends. But the neighbor allegedly complained about noise even when the children were not in the apartment, and the company simply responded with a notice of eviction. The company has agreed to pay $6,500 to the tenant and the Commonwealth, as well as implement improved training and adjust its best practices to ensure future compliance with the FHA and Massachusetts' fair housing law.

Are the kids wearing shoes inside? Take the shoes off.

Your written request is completely reasonable

In the meantime , try to solve the problem with a large thick area rug and rug pad in the area the kids play . Your immediate action to help fix the issue is important

Quite frankly this is what you have to deal with in an apartment or condo , you want to make noise or have it be quiet , pick a detached home

I had a similar issue a while back. The neighbor below me was understanding of my little ones' noise during random hours of the day. Also, I was understanding of the hot female neighbor above me and her bedroom noises at random hours of the night. It is all about living in harmony with one another.

Your sister-in-law should have carpeting with quality padding which the lease probably calls for. In addition, everyone should take their shoes off when they enter the apartment as a courtesy.

Sounds like a thoughtful response. Very nice. 99% of jerks who make loud noises can not be reasoned with, so you are to be applauded.

There really needs to be a lot more stringent noise pollution laws. Loud, annoying noises are damaging to people's health and well being.

I saw a similar incident to one of my friend. They got the notice from the apt. but there is no way one can control kids and i feel we should not(to some extent). They told the apt. that " your apt's are old and your floor can not handle even small noise-transmits sound easily my kids are well behaved". Then the apt probably talked to the tenant downstairs and the tenant left.

people like the lady the OP is dealing with, make me stomp my feet hard during civil daylight. That is the best advantage to being on the top floor, and why I now live in a town house.

I had a lady under me last place I lived that was an awful neighbor, but man oh man did I never have such heavy feet in life. I also vacuumed a TON, esp at 945-959 pm ever night.

I agree with the other posts that say she can go pound sand. As long as the kids are not doing it between 10pm and 8am (minus local laws), the lady literally can only pound sand. Best part is she under the unit, so she can not really even do much to return the favor (besides a broom, which will most likely cost her money when she moves out). If she is a huge jerk then everyone can have heavy feet and many uses of the vacuum all day long.

This is what happens when you live in an apt complex, esp a cheap one. People need to understand that, esp those who can not afford anything else.

So it's crossed no ones mind that maybe the neighbor works nights ?

rickt86 said:   people like the lady the OP is dealing with, make me stomp my feet hard during civil daylight. That is the best advantage to being on the top floor, and why I now live in a town house.

I had a lady under me last place I lived that was an awful neighbor, but man oh man did I never have such heavy feet in life. I also vacuumed a TON, esp at 945-959 pm ever night.

I agree with the other posts that say she can go pound sand. As long as the kids are not doing it between 10pm and 8am (minus local laws), the lady literally can only pound sand. Best part is she under the unit, so she can not really even do much to return the favor (besides a broom, which will most likely cost her money when she moves out). If she is a huge jerk then everyone can have heavy feet and many uses of the vacuum all day long.

This is what happens when you live in an apt complex, esp a cheap one. People need to understand that, esp those who can not afford anything else.


You're an ass.

saladdin said:   So it's crossed no ones mind that maybe the neighbor works nights ?If this is true, she should pay more for a top-floor unit.

I work nights and there are ways to remedy noise during the day. I run a fairly large shop fan while i sleep to drown out all outside noise, my family could be vacuuming right outside my door and I'm still fast asleep. The person complaining about noise is just unreasonable and may be new to apartment style living.

Just gotta say I was hoping for a much more interesting source of noise when I clicked on this thread.

wfay said:   If this is true, she should pay more for a top-floor unit.

Does it necessarily cost more to be on top?

BEEFjerKAY said:   wfay said:   If this is true, she should pay more for a top-floor unit.

Does it necessarily cost more to be on top?


Usually, yes. Complexes price their apartments based on floor location and location in the complex.

rickt86 said:   people like the lady the OP is dealing with, make me stomp my feet hard during civil daylight. That is the best advantage to being on the top floor, and why I now live in a town house.

I had a lady under me last place I lived that was an awful neighbor, but man oh man did I never have such heavy feet in life. I also vacuumed a TON, esp at 945-959 pm ever night.

I agree with the other posts that say she can go pound sand. As long as the kids are not doing it between 10pm and 8am (minus local laws), the lady literally can only pound sand. Best part is she under the unit, so she can not really even do much to return the favor (besides a broom, which will most likely cost her money when she moves out). If she is a huge jerk then everyone can have heavy feet and many uses of the vacuum all day long.

This is what happens when you live in an apt complex, esp a cheap one. People need to understand that, esp those who can not afford anything else.


I hope Karma returns the favor to you tenfold. You are the type of person that makes life so miserable for so many people. You should be completely ashamed of yourself. Very despicable what you did to that person.

BEEFjerKAY said:   Does it necessarily cost more to be on top?
It's more work. Oh, sorry, wrong forum.

Didn't notice a similar response... How about introducing yourself to neighbor to find out particulars of issue. Communication is key in these issues but I'd start with the person who may reasonably be disturbed. The apt managers are no different than HOA managers in that they are there to handle the issue, even if in the extreme, wrong, or heavy handed. May be best to deal directly, with true concern of outcome. I don't know that I would have acknowledge any truth to the accusations without further information.

jomarrod said:   I had a similar issue a while back. The neighbor below me was understanding of my little ones' noise during random hours of the day. Also, I was understanding of the hot female neighbor above me and her bedroom noises at random hours of the night. It is all about living in harmony with one another.

Sorry about that bro. I asked her to keep it down but I guess I was too good. But none the less, given my track record, the bedroom noises should not have lasted for more than 42 seconds!

I am a property manager of an apartment building - we have a very nice tenant family with 2 very small children living in a first floor apartment - there is a single young man (newer tenant) living above them who I recommended may not want to take that unit because of the 2 very small humans below and the known noise that he would hear - he rented anyway! NOW - he complains all the time, has yelled and stomped and played loud music (scaring the small children).

Any ideas for helping me deal with HIM?

The family downstairs bought a rug - visited the guy upstairs and NOBODY else in the building complains.

adsrev said:   I am a property manager of an apartment building - we have a very nice tenant family with 2 very small children living in a first floor apartment - there is a single young man (newer tenant) living above them who I recommended may not want to take that unit because of the 2 very small humans below and the known noise that he would hear - he rented anyway! NOW - he complains all the time, has yelled and stomped and played loud music (scaring the small children).

Any ideas for helping me deal with HIM?

The family downstairs bought a rug - visited the guy upstairs and NOBODY else in the building complains.


Be very careful how you handle this. You probably already violated fair housing laws and privacy laws (or clauses in your lease) by discussing the children/familial situation.

Also, be careful about suggesting that him moving will solve the issue. Even if a bed-bound person lives downstairs in the new unit (i.e. no noise generated), that situation is subject to change and you don't want to be on the hook for a promise you couldn't keep.

I had no idea things were getting this extreme in the renting world, I am glad I bought a house 3 years ago. I had a top unit and was quiet when I rented for 5 years.. but wow.

Warranty of habitability covers unreasonable noise such as banging, pounding, jumping, stomping, dropping and dragging of heavy objects on floors above. The easiest is for offending neighbor (your sister-in-law) to cover her floors with carpeting and padding. The second easiest is for her to to move if the management lets her out of her lease without penalties. Ultimately the local ordinances throughout north america state similar to the following "Unreasonable noise means any excessive or unusually loud sound that disturbs the peace, comfort or response of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or injures or endangers the health or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities or which causes injury to plant or animal life, or damage to property or business." - Good luck to you.

PS. If the neighbor serves her, keeps record of each disturbance and takes her to small claims, he'll be awarded $35 per day and $100 per each night of disturbances. this is the going rate for causing someone stress related cardiovascular disease. Much cheaper to install carpeting with padding to reduce noise.

sailorbob said:   Your sister-in-law should have carpeting with quality padding which the lease probably calls for.

How do you figure that?

OP, the letter and remedy are more than reasonable, and about the best you can do. If the kids aren't being unreasonable, which sounds true, then the downstairs neighbor just has to deal with it. It's something apartment dwellers should be fairly used to. Maybe they aren't used to multi-family units.

We've lived in apartments for years. They aren't built really cheap, but you're still sharing walls and floors. We hear our neighbors from time to time. The upstairs neighbor working out jumping around is somewhat annoying, but that usually only last 30-45 minutes or so. We make noise too, so they are allowed a reasonable noise level also. The only real problem is when people move in that have either never rented in multi-family units before, or have rented really crappy places that don't care about noise. We've had to complain once or twice about loud bass in music. Large subwoofers are something you just can't have in an apartment. It's a sacrifice you make. Luckily, our property managers are on the same page and don't let it happen. So, when someone new moves in and keep playing the bass loud, they put a stop to it in the first couple weeks usually.

rickt86 said:   people like the lady the OP is dealing with, make me stomp my feet hard during civil daylight. That is the best advantage to being on the top floor, and why I now live in a town house.

I had a lady under me last place I lived that was an awful neighbor, but man oh man did I never have such heavy feet in life. I also vacuumed a TON, esp at 945-959 pm ever night.

I agree with the other posts that say she can go pound sand. As long as the kids are not doing it between 10pm and 8am (minus local laws), the lady literally can only pound sand. Best part is she under the unit, so she can not really even do much to return the favor (besides a broom, which will most likely cost her money when she moves out). If she is a huge jerk then everyone can have heavy feet and many uses of the vacuum all day long.

This is what happens when you live in an apt complex, esp a cheap one. People need to understand that, esp those who can not afford anything else.


I'm so glad that people like you end up in the slum-rents. You've probably never rented a nice apartment before. Probably because you 'can not afford anything else.' If you did that in the complex I'm at, they'd throw you out pretty quick like. Be reasonable, treat the property, and your neighbors with some respect. What a jerk... I hope they key the hell out of your car.

EradicateSpam said:   BEEFjerKAY said:   Does it necessarily cost more to be on top?
It's more work. Oh, sorry, wrong forum.


More work to maintain? Or do you mean the constant up and down whenever you want something?

I can see where that could cause a lot of friction in a marriage.

I'm usually the loud person, but I feel bad when they have to come down to complain. I've given my phone number to the residents above me to just txt me if I am ever being loud. Sometimes I get carried away with the TV or movie.

I've only complained once about a tenant above me, but I was returning the favor when they called the cops on me without even trying first. I didn't call the cops tho. I've lived in apartments for almost 10 years so I guess I have been lucky.... *knock on wood*

BEEFjerKAY said:   EradicateSpam said:   BEEFjerKAY said:   Does it necessarily cost more to be on top?
It's more work. Oh, sorry, wrong forum.


More work to maintain? Or do you mean the constant up and down whenever you want something?

I can see where that could cause a lot of friction in a marriage.


Some amount of friction is good!

i3ighead said:   I'm usually the loud person, but I feel bad when they have to come down to complain. I've given my phone number to the residents above me to just txt me if I am ever being loud. Sometimes I get carried away with the TV or movie.

I've only complained once about a tenant above me, but I was returning the favor when they called the cops on me without even trying first. I didn't call the cops tho. I've lived in apartments for almost 10 years so I guess I have been lucky.... *knock on wood*


My guess is that if they've already told you a few times, they will assume that future incidents aren't just you being inconsiderate (which they are, even if you feel bad about it), but passive aggressiveness.

Some people are nice to your face and seem reasonable enough when you let them know but then proceed as dude upthread and drag heavy furniture around spitefully.

Skipping 7 Messages...
tedteddy said:   I bet that after OP's sister moves out, someone else will move in.

Didn't realize we had a high roller in the house.



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