My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California
I live alone in a studio apartment with a size of 14 * 11.6 feet (excluding bathroom, kitchen and closet space. The apartment above me is exactly the same as mine. However, three people live there.
The upstairs neighbors walk with quite heavy footsteps. When they walk, my apartment shakes -- the light fixture and my windows would rattle. This disturbs me a lot and makes it very difficult for me to concentrate on my studies. I have tried wearing ear plugs and listen to white noise, neither of which is really effective since they cannot really block out/mask the vibration from upstairs. And since there are 3 of them, it seems that there is always stomping at all hours.
I first brought up this matter to the management office about a month ago. Their response, in exactly one sentence, is: "Sometimes it is better when you approach your neighbor and introduce yourself!"
I therefore left a note at the door of the upstairs apartment. In the note, I politely asked them to walk with gentle footsteps as this disturbs me. There was no improvement in the stomping.
I then walked upstairs and talked to them directly about the issue. They said they would try to walk more gently. The stomping was reduced - but for about a couple of hours. And then it went back to normal.
I then walked upstairs and talked to them again. I offered to buy them slippers to wear, which would reduce the impact of the heels on the floor. They declined. But they promised again that they would pay more attention. However, once again, the situation got better - but lasted only a couple of hours.
I don't know what do to. Some people would say that noise from your neighbors is normal in an apartment building. However, this does affect me a great deal. Whenever they walk, the stomping would startle me so much so that I sweat all over my back. And when they are not stomping, I am scared when the next stomping would begin. When I am in school, I am scared of going home because of this. This means that I live in constant fear. Needless to say, this situation has affected my health and my studies.
I must also add that other than this, they are relatively quiet - no loud music or anything. I could occasionally hear them talking or slamming the cabinet doors - but those I can block out using my earplugs. The vibration from their stomping on the floor is something I can do nothing about.
I want to get out of this situation. I plan to write a certified letter to the management office requesting that they either 1) ask the neighbors to not stomp 2) release me from the lease so that I can move.
I am guessing that for request 1), even if they talk to the neighbors upstairs, the chance of the problem thus being solved is quite slim.
Therefore, I would like to consult you on the second request I intend to put to the management office - to allow me to move. My lease began about two months ago and will end only next July.
Do I have a justified reason to break the lease, given the hardship that I am going through?
Thanks a lot. This is a serious issue now in my life and I would really appreciate your input.