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Scary Neighbor Or My Bad?
August 4, 2010 6:24 PM   Subscribe

What should I do about my angry new neighbor?

I just moved into a new apartment and I just had a, well, a ... fight with my next door neighbor! I mean, this is very odd! I'm kind of rattled so bear with me.

I'm a middle-aged lady and I've moved into an apartment building with an amazing container garden out front of the building that is the full-time hobby/pastime of the fellow who lives in the apartment next to mine. It's beautiful and attracts lots of attention from passersby. I appreciate it, but honestly, it's also slightly annoying -- he's out front constantly, he smokes, he waters, he is potting and re-potting, there's equipment, there's always something going on at the threshold, he's present all the time, one can't just duck in to one's building -- and it's not his space, he's just co-opted it and made it beautiful. So, ok, fine. I'm just gonna enjoy it.

On moving day, he pulled me aside to let me know that the front door of the building must always be pulled closed firmly -- and went on to detail all the crimes that have been committed in the neighborhood. I listened politely (I've lived in NYC all my adult life, and moved from one block over so I kind of know the security drill) and promised I would make sure the exterior door was firmly shut when I went in and out. He pulled one of my movers aside and gave the same lecture -- I mean, it was mid-day on a Saturday and we were moving furniture in, how the heck can we keep the door closed? And there are no serial killers around at that hour! My mover guy said, "Conspiracy theorist." Plus, the mover pulled me aside and said when he walked by the gardener's apartment the door was open and it was floor to ceiling magazines, books, etc, like a scene from hoarders. Smoking, hoarding, obsessive gardening, ugh!

I'm also starting to be not-so-happy because I have to walk past their door several times each day and they leave lots of stuff in the common hallway. Multiple pairs of shoes, cases of Enova (whatever that is, why do I even have to think about it?), their huge water jugs, etc etc. FINE. OK. I'm just stepping over it, tolerating, tolerating. And then, he does the nicest thing, he knocks on my door one evening and hands me a basil plant and a mint plant. I was effusively thankful, listened to his directives, and I thought, ok, I'm just a bitch, he's nice!! How sweet!

On Sunday morning, I go out to walk the dog and on my way in, he ambushes me: "Did you have a man come out of your apartment at 3 a.m.?" I'm like, Um, I wish, but no. Laughing, friendly. He is not laughing. He tells me that he saw a man in the building at 3 a.m. hovering around my door. I say, sort of smiling, "Well I have this big giant dog here, and it's weird that he didn't bark," and he kind of acts like my dog is a lame ass for not barking. He again launches into the door thing, I have to close the door properly. I sort of shrugged him off a bit because honestly, I didn't believe him about the guy and I KNOW HOW TO SHUT A DOOR! And he didn't mention calling the cops. He just seemed to think I had somehow left that door open and it was his duty to hip me to the near-death experience. Plus, he seemed irritated that I wasn't like, terrified. Regaling me with stories of all the crime in the neighborhood (by the way, I live in a relatively low crime neighborhood and the rents/prices reflect that).

I'm not gonna lie -- I wasn't dismissive but I wasn't taking the bait. I said, I definitely keep that door closed, it wasn't any man of mine at 3 a.m., I've lived in NYC all my adult life, I got it, I hear you, thank you, goodbye.

Meanwhile, my apartment door is next to the building's cellar door, where the garbage lives, as well as this guy's gardening stuff. If the door is left open, with the way the heat has been this summer, the smell is not so good. I close it 3x a day. I assumed -- possibly wrongly -- that he was using the basement frequently, in and out that cellar door, and tonight when I got home from work, there he was, smoking, pruning, potting, etc. out front, I come in, the cellar door is open, I get the dog, walk the dog, and when I come back, I say, So, hey, hi. And he says, Hi. And I say SUPER NICELY "Can you do me a favor, Can you make sure the cellar door is shut? This heat has really made the garbage smell worse!" And he says, Can you do me a favor? Can you make sure the front door is closed? Like I told you, there was a man outside your door at 3 a.m., coming after you and you have a dog that didn't bark! I want you to understand that the door needs to be shut!" And I say, "Wait a sec, I do understand, but I was talking for just one sec about the other door, and the smell ..." And he goes off -- You aren't listening to me, did you understand about the door, the man across the street got stabbed, on and on.

I lost my temper (like, slightly), I admit -- I said, All right! I hear you! You've told me 6 times about shutting the door! I went to bed at 10 p.m on Saturday, I didn't leave the door open. I got it I got it! And the gardener is getting angrier and angrier! So I immediately try and defuse with a joke -- I said, Look, you have your door thing and I have my door thing and we understand each other -- let's just shut the door on this issue. And I stick out my hand and say, "We're neighbors, let's shake and agree to each work on making sure those doors are shut!" And he starts going insane. Cursing me out, shouting, "Who the eff do you think you are, you don't know who you're dealing with, you'd better watch out, how dare you try and play games with me, don't you effing eff with me, eff you." This guy was shouting in the street -- little kids were walking by! I have honestly NEVER had anyone speak to me this way, I've never been threatened, I've never had bad blood with a neighbor (quite the opposite). I sort of sputtered "Are you threatening me? I'm trying to shake your hand as a good neighbor!" and he just kept cursing me out. I just turned and went inside. Shaking!! I'm actually kind of frightened. I'm a pretty easy-going person, this is highly unusual. I've just completely set this guy off.

I'm only here 2 weeks, love the apartment and neighborhood, and need to turn this situation around. I have simple questions: Should I be worried? What do I do now? Oh, and should I be worried about the hoarding and smoking. Oy!
posted by thinkpiece to Human Relations (49 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
1. Contact your landlord. Tell them about the shouting and the threats, with less emphasis on the hoarding and monopolizing the garden. Say that this guy has you seriously freaked out and feeling unsafe.
2. Think about moving. I know how hard it is to find a place but... this guy? Already acting proprietary about you, really sets off my uncomfortable-o-meter.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:34 PM on August 4, 2010 [21 favorites]


Great story. I wish I could advise you, but my experience with Nyc housing etiquette is that it defies all rules of logic. Keep calm and carry on, and hopefully the door issues will blow over soon.
posted by libraryhead at 6:35 PM on August 4, 2010


The guy is obviously crazy. What's your landlord situation like? Can you talk to him? You probably just signed a lease so I guess moving again isn't an option unless you can talk him into it (and I guess there were other aspects of the place that you liked) ... but you can't live in fear of going in and out of your home, either.
posted by amethysts at 6:35 PM on August 4, 2010


I dunno; I think you're being way too nice and understanding. Your neighbor isn't well; he's not playing with a full deck. You were nice to overlook the stuff in the hall and the door being left open, but you shouldn't have to. You should say something about it, and if you find that it isn't going somewhere - as you've just found - talk to whoever's in charge of the building.

Have you talked to the landlord yet? It might be time for a simple call to check in. Just sum up what you've been experiencing and ask if they've received other complaints.

There's nothing wrong with you, and I can't see any way this could have gone better. You actually aren't required to be neighborly with the guy. He's pretty nuts. One of the bewildering things about dealing with people who are nuts is that they can make you feel like you're nuts. You're not. Your behavior so far has been 100% appropriate. Don't let him be successful in turning this on you. You define what you need: the door to the basement shut, the hallway clear, and not to be accosted on your way into the building; and then work with the landlord and the guy to establish that understanding.

Don't back down. You've done nothing wrong here, if all you say is accurate. It's him, not you.
posted by Miko at 6:35 PM on August 4, 2010 [14 favorites]


One thought: given that you've logged the problem a number of times already, you could ask your landlord to install an automatic door closer on the cellar door. If they balk, start logging it - maybe with photos - now, and sending the record in to the landlord.

And you do have to keep moving out as a possibility in your mind. The landlord isn't going to want to lose you; you're the ideal tenant. You have some leverage, especially as a new person, to say "Hey, whoa, this is much different than it appeared, and I need your help in order to keep living here."
posted by Miko at 6:37 PM on August 4, 2010


Call your landlord. Tell him that the sun-warmed garbage smells and threats from your neighbor are making your new place un-livable and ask what he can do to resolve the situation.

That said, your neighbor sounds mentally ill or perhaps like he's suffering from the onset of dementia. Does he live with a spouse or roommate? If so, can you talk to that person about his bizarre behavior?
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:38 PM on August 4, 2010


Make aquaintences with some other neighbours. They may be able to give you some insight into this guy and make you feel more comfortable about him, or at least like you're not alone in thinking he's a bit off. Also the landlrod may be able to ease your concerns. You're doing just fine so far in staying appropriate with him without being a pushover.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:39 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


You probably just signed a lease

True, but if you find that you aren't experiencing the right to quiet enjoyment, that is a failure of the lease agreement anyway and you wouldn't be liable for breaking it - the landlord already has.
posted by Miko at 6:39 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm generally one to err on the side of being too understanding/nice when it comes to neighbor issues, but I'd call the police. He threatened you, and you have to live down the hall from him. He says he saw a man by your door at 3am...so this means he was probably hanging out outside your door too at 3am, no? Effing creepy.

I'd also contact the landlord, tell him/her what happened, and that's why you're moving. In all reality, the landlord probably knows this guy is crazy, but even if he were to be evicted, it could take 60 days or more. Sucks to lose a nice place, but having to deal with this guy isn't worth it.
posted by AlisonM at 6:42 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the hallway really is impeded and the landlord's unresponsive, considering calling the fire department and asking for them to come have a look. Hallways need to be free and clear, it's not just aesthetics.

The smoking/hoarding thing is not fun. Make sure your own smoke detector is working, at least.
posted by zadcat at 6:42 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd be worried about the hoarding and smoking if I lived in the same building, which could burn down if he drops a cigarette on a pile of newspapers or other flammable junk. I'd bring that up with the landlord too.

He might be more interested in resolving a situation that potentially could damage the building, if he's the sort of landlord who will take anyone's rent and doesn't really care about the wellbeing of his tenants.

(Why do I always assume landlords are male? Especially when MINE is female? My sexist bad.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 6:44 PM on August 4, 2010


First thing that pops into my mind is, how would he know someone was or wasn't standing outside your door at the unusual hour of 3 AM? That's creepy right there.

So, you might want to ask the landlord if you can change your locks and make sure NOBODY but you and LL get a key, because...*shudder*
posted by contessa at 6:48 PM on August 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Are there any other tenants in the building? If they all think he's just wonderfully perfect in every way--yeah, you are the one with the problem. Somehow I very much doubt this is the case.
posted by Pennyblack at 6:48 PM on August 4, 2010


Contact the landlord to ask if there have been any previous complaints. (Why did the last tennant leave?)

Document each interaction to provide proof of craziness to the landlord. (A voice recorder, perhaps?)

Ask for an automatic door closer on the cellar door and the front door. (Offering to pay for part of this might be more motivating to the landlord.) Your neighbor will have one less thing to complain about that way.
posted by JV at 6:48 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I did consider calling the cops, but thought I'd let cooler heads (and heat and humidity) set in and see what happens. I have no relationship with the landlord. I do like the idea of speaking with others in the building -- I just have to reiterate, this container garden is really spectacular and makes the block even more special than it is -- that's just to say, he seems a bit of a local legend because of it. I have taken photos of the hallway and the clutter, I just hate to start off with the landlord brandishing photos. On the other hand, I don't want to let him control the common space this way! And, on a purely girly note, I've seriously never had anyone talk to me that way, and it was scary! I've been single for a year and to tell you the truth, I know this would not have happened if I had a man around. Just makes me so mad at everyone.
posted by thinkpiece at 6:51 PM on August 4, 2010


He's a nut. Tell the landlord and just keep away from him as much as you can.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:52 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just hate to start off with the landlord brandishing photos.

Don't get hung up on being "nice" about it. That's the reason a man wouldn't get the same reception - a man wouldn't hang back because he was worried people wouldn't think he was "nice" if he said something. It's a personal security issue and a building safety issue. Speak up now. If you don't, the message everyone gets is that you're fine with it all.
posted by Miko at 6:56 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


You say to him:

"Look, I'm a good tenant. I follow the rules, and I mind my own business. Given the way you've treated me, I am putting you on notice. You are going to have to respect my rights. Do not talk to me. Do not interact with me. If you have a problem, talk to the landlord, never contact me directly. If you in any way continue to harass me, I will do what I can to stop you. I will call the police, I will file complaints, and I will make sure that you clear everything from the common areas. Mind your own business, otherwise I'm taking it to the next level and I am not backing down."

Then you walk away. Crazies thrive on interaction. Deny him that at all costs. If he does not desist, complain to the landlord, call the cops and report threats, take out restraining orders.
posted by VikingSword at 6:58 PM on August 4, 2010 [42 favorites]


Call the landlord or management company to check in and tell them how your first month is going. You love x, y and z. Oh, by the way, the guy next to me has a beautiful garden but he has been somewhat threatening to me. Is this a known issue? Can you please ask him to not leave large objects in the hall as I am concerned in the event of an emergency, I will not be able to make a proper exit.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:04 PM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just have to reiterate, this container garden is really spectacular and makes the block even more special than it is -- that's just to say, he seems a bit of a local legend because of it.
And Ike Turner was a hell of a musician. I'm not sure this gives him a free pass to swear at and threaten you.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:05 PM on August 4, 2010 [18 favorites]


Posted too quick. Definitely call the landlord. (Congrats! You now have a relationship with the landlord!)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:06 PM on August 4, 2010


This could definitely still happen if you had a man around. People with severe anxiety disorders will sometimes persistently try to find a way to make their fears somebody else's problem.

This guy's garden is just another symptom. He has OCD or similar, with a hoarding tendency.

I just want to say that YOU handled that confrontation extremely well. You are shaking because he got you riled up and you weren't expecting it. He has a problem.

If you really want to live there, I would call a psychiatric ward and ask them what they would do if they had one of their patients as a neighbor (seriously). This could help you feel stronger as you reflect on professional advice every time you ignore the guy or calmly but firmly assert your position.

If it were me, I would honestly think about moving. This guy is an extreme case. If you do the math, you might conclude that even $5000 in sunk moving costs would be worth the peace of mind you gain over the next several years by not living next to someone who antagonizes you all the time.

Not everyone lives next to someone like this. This is not normal. But by making some strong moves up front, you can really mitigate the level of disaster.
posted by circular at 7:12 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


VikingSword, when I read your post, I burst into tears. That's exactly the way I feel and the righteous speech I want to make. And Green Eyed Monster, when I read yours, I laughed! True that.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:15 PM on August 4, 2010


Yes, the gardening is definitely a manifestation of OCD. Who knew. Strikes me as almost more insidious and dangerous.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:21 PM on August 4, 2010


The garden might be this guy's pressure valve. Maybe you can get him talking about it? Just a thought.
posted by circular at 7:32 PM on August 4, 2010


Landlords have been held legally responsible for the actions of dangerous tenants that they haven't dealt with after being notified that the tenant is making threats. If the landlord doesn't do anything about it and this guy flips out and hurts you, you could sue the landlord and take his fucking building. Be sure to mention this to him (just the liability part, not the taking the building part), it worked wonders with my landlord.
posted by rhizome at 7:59 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


You are an articulate, thoughtful, middle-aged woman who has lived in NYC your entire life, so I can't tell you anything that you don't already know or add much to the good suggestions that you've already received. However when I read circular's well intentioned message above, I thought that I'd reiterate the "don't engage with the crazy" comments. I'm also a middle-aged woman who has lived in cites my entire life (although not NYC) and I've learned through the years that however charming and harmless they may seem at first and as much as I'd love to live in a world where I could be neighborly with everyone, it's best to ice out the crazy ASAP. Never engage with them, even if they are having a good day and seem friendly. I've found that all but the most insane will get the message that you are open to conversation with them on any topic, confrontational or otherwise, and will move on to the next victim.

Based on the fact that he's already threatened you and he lives next door, I'd nth reporting the situation to the landlord. It may be that everyone else in the bldg thinks he's a delightfully charming old coot, but on the other hand, is it any coincidence that the apartment right next door to his is the one that was available? I somehow doubt that you'll be the first person to complain about him. Unfortunately if all of the previous complainants were the former occupants of your apartment, it suggests that the landlord may not be responsive. Or the landlord may feel that his vigilance (who else would patrol the hallways at 3:00 a.m. on the alert for prowlers?), in addition to his one man beautification project, are an added bonus and not appreciate how obtrusive he is when you have to live next door. I hope that you get some satisfaction. At the very least, if it's any help, it's not you; it's him.
posted by kaybdc at 8:12 PM on August 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, nthing asking and/or paying for an automatic door closer for the cellar. They are $75-$100 and easy to install.
posted by saradarlin at 8:12 PM on August 4, 2010


Met to say that you are NOT open to conversation with them on any topic...(sadly I previewed and still missed this).
posted by kaybdc at 8:14 PM on August 4, 2010


Oh man. I hate to disagree with VikingSword because what he said was totally righteous. However, I think direct confrontation with crazy people and ESPECIALLY talk of escalation and retaliation with crazy people can lead to them doing erratic, dangerous, secret, and totally unexpected things.

You shouldn't have to be held captive to this nut and his weird rules (and I would bet $1000 that he either imagined the guy at 3 am in the hallway or just totally made him up to make his point.) BUT I do not think a righteous speech is the way to do it.

I think any time he talks to you, tell him very calmly and evenly that you would like to communicate through the landlord from now on. And just don't engage with him at all. Go through the landlord and make the landlord deal with him. You don't want to become this guy's nemesis and/or subject of his conspiracy theories.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:28 PM on August 4, 2010 [16 favorites]


Have you talked to any of the other tenants? Have any of them had trouble with him and if so how have they dealt with it?
posted by thekiltedwonder at 8:47 PM on August 4, 2010


I think you should do some research on your rights as a tenant in the city.

I have a very difficult neighbor here in Los Angeles. The neighbors next to me moved due to his behavior. Several of his behaviors were recognized as unacceptable within Los Angeles guidelines. He appropriated the common areas and held parties that went on for several days. He is really angry and erratic. I got my landlord involved, and she got really angry at him for driving off her other tenants.

I never talk to my angry neighbor. At first he tried to engage me, but eventually he got the message and just doesn't have contact, and things have really calmed down.

For example, though, you need to have common areas free and clear so you can exit in case of emergency.

Look at your local tenant's rights organizations. Good luck.
posted by effluvia at 8:48 PM on August 4, 2010


I'd just like to point out that 'you better watch out' can easily be construed as a physical threat. Seconding VikingSword.
posted by namesarehard at 8:53 PM on August 4, 2010


Don't feed the crazy.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:53 PM on August 4, 2010


Next time--or possibly even this time--he warns you about OH NO A GUY IN FRONT OF YOUR DOOR...call the police. There's a scary dude outside of your door at 3am, right? Why wouldn't you call the police? If they then interview your neighbor and notice that he's a complete psycho, all the better.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:53 PM on August 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


If I were you, I would recite VikingSword's speech in my head, but not quite go that far in interaction with the crazy guy.

Disregard him completely. Do not engage in small talk, don't smile reflexively, keep your game face on, and of course, do not apologize for anything. If he's in the way, matter-of-factly say "excuse me." If absolutely necessary, you might grunt in acknowledgement of a greeting.

If he tries to talk to you, calmly say "please do not talk to me." And keep walking. If he continues, say "I'm not going to argue with you. Leave me alone." And then call the landlord again.
posted by desuetude at 8:54 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


seconding ashley801...careful careful. from what other posters have suggested, you can get a lot done through other avenues...try these avenues first before you draw a battle line with this guy. not everyone is "cool" with "boundaries". obv this guy has some issues. the clutter and the behavior are a symptom!!!! who knows what's really going on here. make sure you are better prepared or know what you are dealing with before you lay down the law with dude.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:57 PM on August 4, 2010


definitely work the officials here. landlord, etc....BEFORE you try to "work it out"with this guy between the two of you. as it stands, it sounds good to give your speech and somehow it's going to clear things up, but it's not possible AT THIS POINT without a third party.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:01 PM on August 4, 2010


I would ask a lawyer friend to witness an interaction with you and flower guy. Push his buttons, get him to really rant on you. Then, go to the nearest police station and file a restraining order. Ask your lawyer/witness to write a letter to your landlord threatening legal action based on his withholding important information from you when you agreed to sign a lease.
Trust me-you need to really get your fierce on for this.
posted by Pennyblack at 9:16 PM on August 4, 2010


I would ask a lawyer friend to witness an interaction with you and flower guy. Push his buttons, get him to really rant on you. Then, go to the nearest police station and file a restraining order. Ask your lawyer/witness to write a letter to your landlord threatening legal action based on his withholding important information from you when you agreed to sign a lease.
Trust me-you need to really get your fierce on for this.


I disagree with your tactics.

Dude, you live in a densely populated area...of course there're crazies all around. This guy is one of them...you just need to co-exist with this dude...not have him put away.

I suggest you see a passerby within earshot of this dude and say "hey...are you making sure the door is closed?" go off about the crimes of the past....and then go up to crazy and say "people just dont know how to stay safe". He will never yell at you again.


There is no right and wrong here, because it wont help the situation. What you need to do as he new kid on the block is let him know that you're keen to his rules...

Thats it...thats how to stop being bothered by this guy.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:28 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The scary dude outside of your door at 3 a. m. is HIM.
posted by Sallyfur at 9:37 PM on August 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


I would ask a lawyer friend to witness an interaction with you and flower guy. Push his buttons, get him to really rant on you. Then, go to the nearest police station and file a restraining order. Ask your lawyer/witness to write a letter to your landlord threatening legal action based on his withholding important information from you when you agreed to sign a lease.

I would not recommend attempting this. First of all, the likelihood of the guy being so willing to have his buttons pushed with a friend of yours hovering around is unlikely. Second of all, a restraining order isn't something that you can obtain on your say-so with a sympathetic cop -- it requires a judge and meeting specific criteria which amounts to more than the guy being a jerk and yelling. And thirdly, what is this legal right to "important information," regarding the dispositions of the other tenants?
posted by desuetude at 9:40 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got to agree with Ashley on this one -- while it would probably feel really satisfying to give the guy VikingSword's eloquent tongue-lashing, establishing a combative relationship with a crazy person who knows where you live seems like a really bad idea. I mean, if he blew up at you the way he did when you lost your temper just a little bit, you probably don't want to be testing what other extremes you can drive him to.

I'm also going to concur with the consensus that your next move is to talk to the landlord about the crazy neighbor, though I'm sure it'll be an uphill battle to get the landlord to do anything about it. Going into the conversation, be prepared for the landlord to be looking for any excuse to write you off as a hysterical over-reacting woman (even if she is a woman herself.) You need to frame your complaint so as to not give your landlord any convenient rationalization for inaction.

I understand that the situation was in reality pretty scary, and while there's no shame in that at all -- I'm a guy in his 30's and I'd be freaked out in your shoes -- but you're probably better off not coming out and saying that. Are there any younger women in the building? If so, tell the landlord he/she is lucky that it was you that the neighbor blew up at, because if it'd been, say, the girl from the third floor, he'd probably be dealing with the cops about now. Talk about how the neighbor's abusive behavior was inappropriate and entirely unacceptable, the type of stuff you could see being tolerated in the projects, but not in a neighborhood like ______.

Basically, you want your message to be not that you're scared and asking the landlord for help, but that you're ticked off, and informing the landlord of a problem tenant that it's his responsibility, and in his best interest, to do something about. It might feel impolite to you, but it's been my experience when dealing with NYC landlords that you want to establish right off the bat that your relationship is one of client and service-provider.
posted by patnasty at 9:44 PM on August 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thank you, everyone. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the words of advice and wisdom. I didn't call any of my friends/family about this as I don't think I wanted to make it real -- and acknowledge a cloud over my new home happiness. I will definitely keep VikingSword's speech in my head, but will follow patnasty's program. I will take the 'ticked off, get-on-record-with-the-landlord-and-stoically-ignore-the-guy' route today and see if that defuses things.
posted by thinkpiece at 2:59 AM on August 5, 2010


Why do you care what an insane person thinks? You can't control that stuff.

Tell your landlord that if the guy continues to harass you you'll have to take legal action. Tell the man the same thing. Print out your question (above) and give it to your landlord with your intention IN WRITING to pursue this.

Call 311 and ask what your options are.

(FWIW, I wish people would stop thinking they have to be so nice and accommodating with crazy people. These people don't play by those nice social rules and take advantage of those that do.)
posted by kidelo at 3:40 AM on August 5, 2010


I think patnasty has it. It's a difficult one... I lived for a time upstairs from an old guy who, when we moved in was all sweetness and light, and offered us a TV and any number of things.
Within a week he was phoning the police at midnight to complain about the excessive noise we were making (like walking to the bathroom). It got so we could expect the police to show up every few days, or at least every fortnight, come into our studenty smoke filled living room and proceed to say they were very sorry, they had to come out 'cause a complaint was made but that they were entirely on our side.
Part of the problem was that he spent much of his days sat on his front step, right next to ours, so there was like you, no coming and going with out some sort of interaction.

But like patnasty says I think it all comes down to starting a line of communication with the landlord in the hopes that things can be made as clear as possible, and that you aren't going to and don't have to put up with that sort of behaviour. Unfortunately we were in terraced housing at that point so couldn't go through a landlord to deal with any of it, but ignoring him and getting on good terms with all the police who came round put us in a position to fairly comofortably ignore him.

Just as I was leaving as well, the guy across the road who had also been a meddlesome and unreasonable type, had his estranged daughter show up outside his house screaming at him about years of alleged abuse. It didn't help in any way except to show us that we were dealing with some potentially awful people. I figure you might want to just keep an eye out on that cellar door and you might just find some useful ammunition for a letter to the landlord! Though probably not, as we're not in an hourly drama.
posted by opsin at 5:19 AM on August 5, 2010


MAJOR UPDATE! Thank you all again, I feel MUCH better. I spoke with the management company and the woman I dealt with had actually had run-ins with this guy herself!! She said they knew all about him and would deal with him immediately. I asked if he was violent and she assured me no. She said one phone call would take care of it, and she did a lot of apologizing. The landlord is coming to meet me early next week to check in on some issues in my apartment, so I'll have contact. Any further ideas, suggestions, etc, please bring 'em! I feel much relieved.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:49 AM on August 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


That's great. I'd be interested in finding out how they "deal with him" if you can come back and let us know.
posted by la petite marie at 10:59 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um. Is this apartment by any chance in Prospect Heights? Because I genuinely think you might live in my building. If so, memail me. Seriously.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:07 AM on August 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


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