that's no elephant, that's my neighbor
August 21, 2011 3:59 PM   Subscribe

the guy upstairs is making me miserable - it started to get better until he started getting some action. now if he's not stomping, he's squeaking.

the guy who just moved in upstairs is loud. sorry, LOUD. he walks like an elephant, throws stuff on the ground all the time and moves furniture for hours. he never sits down (from what i can hear) - and sounds as if he's trying to defeat a pedometer. our apartments are about 500 sq/ft - i have absolutely no idea what he's doing up there. anyway.

i finally called my landlord and they talked to him - so things are a little better. he still stomps and stomps and stomps, but it's not headache inducing anymore - just loud.

until the last week ... he's been getting laid. and, of course, his bed squeaks like crazy. and the moaning. our floors are thick as hell and i never heard the couple who lived above me for two years (I have no idea if they were getting it on).

he's the loudest person i've lived around in two decades of renting. i suspect this is his first apartment and he has no concept of other people and how he might be affecting him. when/if i move is a separate issue - a big separate issue, so let that go for now. in the meantime ...

do i call the landlord again? do i leave a note for him? will any of this make any difference? is there anything he can do to stop the squeaking? i assume there's no point of calling or writing if his only option is buying a new bed.

fwiw - he's not a big guy, just sounds like one. also, most people only stay a year in our apartments; so if i don't leave, there's a good chance he will. but both/either of those events are 8 mos away.
posted by sockpuppet plots an escape to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A nice passive agressive note on the door: "we can hear you having sex" and maybe a flier for a bed store.
posted by birdherder at 4:05 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

My experience with loud upstairs neighbors is that you have to move. Yeah, it may be a first apartment, but there are loads of people out there who just stomp around. You could tie pillows on his feet, and it wouldn't matter.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:11 PM on August 21, 2011

do i call the landlord again?

How much do you pay in rent? Do you feel you pay enough to demand action from the landlord?

do i leave a note for him?

Communicating face to face would be better, IMO.

will any of this make any difference?

Not likely. Loud neighbors are part and parcel of the community rental experience.

is there anything he can do to stop the squeaking?

Err, like, change his technique, or something?
posted by Brocktoon at 4:15 PM on August 21, 2011

OK, that was a little brief. At the heart of it, the landlord is unlikely to take much action. You can try telling the guy, but there is probably not too much the landlord can actually do (yeah, your lease probably has a line about "not disturbing the neighbors," but it's a pain to enforce, so most landlords won't. You can leave a note for the neighbor, but I wouldn't expect him to necessarily change, and the process of getting aggravated and seething about it won't do you any good, either. If it is a serious bother, look to the end of the lease and move.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:18 PM on August 21, 2011

Totally talk to him!

I've told stomping neighbors to knock it off, recently, in fact. Do NOT compare him to last tenant. Do NOT tell him you can hear him having sex, Do mention the footfalls (maybe he can go barefoot inside?) and do tell him about hearing "furniture."

Let him infer the rest. Heh.

Be polite and firm. Don't be apologetic. Practice in the mirror if you have to.

*Personally, I would wait to see him in the hall to tell him. It's just nicer like that.
posted by jbenben at 4:22 PM on August 21, 2011

Best answer: Because there's nothing your landlord can do and because talking to him probably won't resolve anything (though I'd try that first), the only thing to do is be annoying back. He's getting laid? No problem, play some audio of a baby crying on some ceiling mounted speakers and go out for a walk/bike ride. Nothing ruins the mood like a baby crying. Don't like the stomping he does at night? I'm sure he'll hate you bouncing a handball off the ceiling in the morning even more.

Sure it's immature, but either (a) the passive agressive behavior you exhibit will make him realize that noisy neighbors aren't nice neighbors or (b) it will at least make you feel better.

Me? I'm barefoot inside and if so much as hear a creak in a floorboard when I shift my weight on the carpeting I've put down to minimize noise I feel bad. The people upstairs who like to play fetch inside with their dog with no carpeting down (in violation of their lease in two different ways), they clearly don't give a fuck and it sounds like this guy doesn't either.

(Also, if you've got some friends over, it's now a rule that after he has sex, you all applaud loudly and wildly when it's over.)
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:25 PM on August 21, 2011 [10 favorites]

Just ran across a post about "bass traps" on Apartment Therapy today. I have no idea if stompiness and bass have anything to do with one another, but this could point to a possible live-and-let-live solution.
posted by soviet sleepover at 4:46 PM on August 21, 2011

you can even communicate through your wireless network: change the name to something like "apt 333 has loud sex" or something like that.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 4:54 PM on August 21, 2011 [7 favorites]

You don't mention if the upstairs apartment has carpet. That can make a big difference.
posted by bq at 5:03 PM on August 21, 2011

Best answer: I'm not necessarily recommending this but a friend of mine was over once when the upstairs neighbors started getting it on. I was used to the squeaking but after a good 20 minutes he couldn't handle it anymore, jumped up on a chair, pounded on the ceiling and shouted "Finish already!"

We never heard the squeaking after that. Some people just don't realize when other people can hear them.
posted by corey flood at 5:04 PM on August 21, 2011 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: as i mentioned (and somehow was overlooked in several responses), my landlord did talk to him already and he did quiet down already (some ... almost enough even). but then the sex started.

if it were me, i'd be mortified. i'd buy a new bed or whatever, because i'd be mortified. i feel like this is a separate issue from the stomping and wondered what the group think was.
posted by sockpuppet plots an escape at 7:24 PM on August 21, 2011

Place a can of WD40 and a note saying "for the squeaky bed springs" outside his door.
posted by meepmeow at 7:52 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

You don't state what kind of relationship you have with this person or whether you've ever even spoken to him. From the sound of it, it seems like you may be in a walk-up building or something.

Don't be passive-aggressive, just go up there, be VERY friendly and say something like this:

"Hi there, I live down stairs/we've never met/good to see you again, I'm sure you don't mean to do this intentionally, but when you walk around and have...guests...over, it REALLY comes through the floor and is causing issues with my work/giving headaches/etc. I just wanted to let you know in person since I know I wish someone would tell me if I were ever doing that to an apartment below me since they can hear EVERYTHING that goes on up there. Thanks."
posted by Elminster24 at 7:59 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]

FWIW I had crazy stompy neighbors once. Drove me crazy, I could not figure out what they were doing up there it sounded like they were wrestling on the floor. So after a week or so of crazy noise I went up there. It was two foreign guys and they actually were wrestling on the floor. I kid you not. I was flabbergasted. I talked to them. Twice. They were idiots. Had to go to the apartment manager and threaten to leave and have him talk to them.

Personally I think loud stompy people are basically idiots who will never comprehend what they are doing wrong.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:54 PM on August 21, 2011 [7 favorites]

I guess I'll depart from the general consensus here. This guy is going about his life. He was spoken to, and modified his behavior accordingly. What's he going to do now, not have sex? Are you willing to spring for a new bed frame for him? I think the flip side of one party being courteous is the other party recognizing the inherent flaws of a rental situation. If I were you, I would move somewhere without a unit on top to avoid this potentiality.
posted by threeants at 9:22 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Did the previous tenants have carpets or rugs?
posted by radioamy at 4:59 AM on August 22, 2011

I'm pretty sure any of the passive aggressive things will just make you angry and more crazy. From experience.

Purely aggressive things might work.

Personally I recommend moving to the country, in the middle of nowhere, and then becoming horribly lonely and then moving back. Makes you slightly more tolerant of crazy neighbors.
posted by sully75 at 8:57 AM on August 22, 2011

This AskMe could've been written by me - except that yours actually sounds like he listens to others. Seconding everybody else saying people like that just don't get it - or simply refuse to 'cause they're jerks. My lease ends in 2 months, and I can't wait to get out of here. It might feel like caving in/giving up/running away, but banging your head (or fists) against the wall isn't a solution either.
posted by war wrath of wraith at 7:12 PM on August 22, 2011

In our last apartment, we had porn star screamers in the building next door. The only problem was, the way the apartments were set up we couldn't figure out which unit next door. Since this was a daily occurrence, ultimately the only thing we could do was bump up the white noise in our house. It wasn't the best solution, but - infuriatingly - we couldn't do anything about other people's behavior.

It's way more crazy making when you know exactly who the culprit is though, so if it were me I would knock on the door during proceedings and tell him the noise is keeping you awake. If he has any common decency, the embarrassment should quiet him down. If it doesn't, you are officially free to complain, guilt-free, to the landlord at will.

Doesn't anyone bite pillows anymore?
posted by Space Kitty at 7:42 PM on August 22, 2011

Response by poster: is "beds need lube too" passive aggressive enough?
posted by sockpuppet plots an escape at 12:17 PM on August 23, 2011

I would assume good faith on your neighbour's behalf. He didn't realise his footfalls bothered you, you let him know via an intermediary, and he made a subsequent effort to reduce his footfall noise. If you haven't yet let him know that you can hear the noise his bed makes, why don't you just do so now, in a polite, drama-free way? At this stage, he doesn't even know it's causing you problems. You tried communication before. Why not just try it again?

This seems an unpopular view, but to me, it's never okay to be aggressive or passive-aggressive towards your neighbours. (Or anyone, really—it's a really ineffective conflict resolution technique and it makes the world a worse place.) Ethically, there's a big difference between someone making noise accidentally in the course of their normal, everyday activities, and someone going out of their way to make noise as an act of retaliatory aggression to deliberately cause their neighbours discomfort. The first person is, at worst, careless or inconsiderate, but the second person is being an a-hole. Don't be the bad guy. Start by communicating. Don't perform acts of passive-aggression in lieu of actual communication.

It's also possible that in the future (or perhaps it's even happening right now!) you will do something that annoys your neighbour. If you skip over the communication stage and jump straight into drama/aggression/passive-aggression, you are setting the tone. I don't think that's what you want.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:23 PM on August 23, 2011

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