How do you deal with noisy neighbours? It’s a sensitive, subjective matter that incites even the most easy going tenant to tear their hair out. I’ve had two incidences to deal with this week:
NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR
A couple in a room reported that the neighbour in the house next door was playing loud music well into the night and it was driving them crazy. I suggested they keep a noise diary whilst I looked into it. The neighbours are Polish and always seemed to be out when I went round, but after having a nosey at the state of the place (garden filled with rubbish, manky permanently drawn curtains) I decided to take someone with me. We had no joy and the other HMO tenants said they were disturbed but “were used to a bit of noise, however, the peeing in the garden is unacceptable.”
The drama “The Fear” has been on this week about an ageing gangster, losing his mind to Alzheimers, allowed the Kosovans and Albanians to move in on his “patch”. He agreed in a less lucid moment to give them houses in prime Brighton so they went round and just threw all the tenants’ belongings into the street. This led to a gun fight and there were way more Central/Eastern Europeans than there were Brits. I’m sure the intention wasn’t to portray them as mean, nasty and evil but the telly did a damn good job.
With the mean look of the gangsters still fresh in my mind (yes, I know they’re actors) I happened to bump into the neighbours today. I plucked up the courage, introduced myself and asked for “a word”. The house was an absolute s**t heap and I don’t reckon they’ll be getting their deposit back. On the plus side, they were suitably charming, promised to keep the noise down and seemed genuinely surprised they’d caused any bother.
I checked with the other house next door who replied “I haven’t heard nothing, mate”. It also transpires that my Italian couple had written notes (really don’t know how they did this as every time we have a conversation it takes three times as long while they search for words and an awful lot of sign language) but the neighbours couldn’t confront them as they didn’t know which house the notes had come from.
Conclusion: writing notes of complaint without signing them is cowardly and, in my experience, has done little to solve any problems but lots to increase ill feeling. Far better to arm yourself with a huge smile, put your case to the noisy neighbour calmly then have a threat or two up your sleeve for non compliance!
This has been a bit more sensitive: late last night I received a text from Greg in the bedsit: “the man below is doing my f***ing head in! I can’t stand another night listening to his snoring. I know it’s a sensitive issue but please do something!” What? Get into bed beside him and nudge him to turn over when he gets too noisy?! I think that’s taking my landlady duties a little too far. I had a chat with the carpet man and the builder and we decided the best bet (as I don’t want to lose either tenant) would be to fill the void in the bedsit floor with insulation and top it off with a thick underlay and new carpet. Yes, I know this is going to cost me money, but the thin carpet was put down five years ago and was only ever meant as a temporary measure. And, if that doesn’t muffle the sounds, I’ll provide free ear plugs. I do sympathise as I once woke up an entire army barracks with my snoring and know it’s a blissfully unconscious act but teeth grindingly annoying for the listener.
As we went to measure the bedsit today, I was struck by how impossibly clean and tidy it was. Perhaps Greg did learn a thing or two during his prison stint!