Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    Unfortunately, I doubt it's something that could be cured. I'm telling you this because as a landlord, I own the 2 family house I live in, and there was a tenant downstairs who once complained to us, more than once, that our footsteps upstairs bothered him and his wife.

    I owned this place for over 16 years now, but only a tenant who was there for only 3 years had this problem. However, I have a basement unit underneath this tenant unit which I use as an office and rec area, and I can tell that when my tenant walks upstairs, it's noisier than most other houses or buildings that I lived in, and I have since concluded the problem has to do with the very construction of the house. Yes, the light fixtures, the covers on them, shake as yours when they walk, and I since changed them to other fixtures where the covers are screwed on tight.

    As to my wife and I being noisy, we don't wear shoes walking around the house, we go barefoot, if I even get to walk around the house. My wife often complained that when I came home from work, I promptly go over to the sofa, lay down to watch TV all night, read the papers, and often fall asleep right there.

    My wife is not into cooking much, though she's not a laying down on the sofa type, she makes a quick meal, then sits down in front of the computer afterwards. As you can see, when the guy downstairs asked us to wear slippers, and walk around softer, there is not much more I can do as I don't walk around the house at all, and when I do, it's on my barefeet. Oh, I do run to the bathroom once or twice, so I promsed the guy downstairs I would tip-toe, the one or two times I get up to walk around.

    This couple moved, over ten years now, and since then, we've had two small daughters who constantly run around, sometimes jump, with another tenant there for over 8 years, and not once had this guy mentioned anything about noise. Other than that, they were a very nice couple, who moved back to their native Ireland, we still exchange Xmas cards after all these years, so there were no hard feelings.

    When I was a young boy, a couple who was my "Godparents" lived in the 4th floor of a walkup, and as a child, I asked why not the first floor. He explained to me that footsteps from people walking upstairs always bothered him, and he had always chosen to live in the "top" floor, and wouldn't have it any other way.

    My suggestion is move elsewhere when you can, and live on the "top" floor, or somewhere where no one else lives upstairs. But, I beleive it has more to do with the construction of the house, than anything. Hopefully, your lease is only one year, if you can't get out of it sooner.

    Finally, having people downstairs where noise bothers them so much is a big inconvenience for us too. You think it's normal to tip-toe to a bathroom everytime you have to go??

    You can ask the Landlord, but you'll get a hard time, so it's easier if you just wait till the lease ends.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,948

    Lightbulb Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    Are there any upper floor units available in the building? Your landlord might let you switch units - but they are under no legal obligation to do so. If nothing is open you 'could' ask the people upstairs if they would be willing to switch too. You never know.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Yucaipa,Ca (so.ca)
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    In the 90,s i lived in a studio apt downstairs & i know exactly what you're going through. I put up with my upstairs neighbor for 5.5 yrs. Sometimes he was quiet & sometimes not. I have not lived in a apt since 1-99 & i never will again. I had problems with neighbors next to me over the years as well. Apartments are just a big house with your own private living quarters. Your best bet is to break the lease & find another apt with no apt above it. Good-luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,948

    Exclamation Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    Quote Quoting steel
    View Post
    Your best bet is to break the lease.
    IMHO - that is horrible legal advice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    Hi, thanks for sharing your experience. I agree with you that the problem largely has to do with poor construction. But this appears to be a pervasive problem. I do not understand why the housing authorities in this country are not stricter with sound insulation requirements.

    If I had known about the structural problems, I would not have moved into a bottom level unit. And needless to say, when I get out of here, I will only go for a top floor unit.

    However, simply because this is a construction problem does not mean that the upstairs neighbors should not make an effort to mitigate the problem. After all, there is NOTHING the people downstairs can do. And they are suffering from the upstairs people stomping. They also pay the rent and they have the right not to be disturbed to the extent that I am. As I said in my post, I have already tried earplugs and white noise. But they are not effective.

    Also I must point out a misconception -- that walking barefooted is supposed to be quiet. This is not the case. Many people (my upstairs neighbors certainly included) would plonk down their weight on their heels when they walk. This causes a big impact on the floor, causing vibration that spreads down to the downstairs units which gets amplified on the way due to the structure of the building.

    On the other hand, I always wear slippers in my apartment (my personal habit) and my walk is silent. I have tried walking barefooted myself just to see the contrast in terms of the noise produced. There is a big difference - when I walk barefooted, I cause vibration on the floor.

    So in this case, a change of habit is perhaps all it takes to mitigate (if not completely solve) the noise/vibration problem. My upstairs neighbors promised to wear slippers but I could clearly tell that they are not.

    However, I am here not to bitch about my neighbors. I was hoping to get some legal advice on what action I can do so that I am no longer subjected to this constant assault of noise.

    Quote Quoting SChinFChin
    View Post
    Unfortunately, I doubt it's something that could be cured. I'm telling you this because as a landlord, I own the 2 family house I live in, and there was a tenant downstairs who once complained to us, more than once, that our footsteps upstairs bothered him and his wife.

    I owned this place for over 16 years now, but only a tenant who was there for only 3 years had this problem. However, I have a basement unit underneath this tenant unit which I use as an office and rec area, and I can tell that when my tenant walks upstairs, it's noisier than most other houses or buildings that I lived in, and I have since concluded the problem has to do with the very construction of the house. Yes, the light fixtures, the covers on them, shake as yours when they walk, and I since changed them to other fixtures where the covers are screwed on tight.

    As to my wife and I being noisy, we don't wear shoes walking around the house, we go barefoot, if I even get to walk around the house. My wife often complained that when I came home from work, I promptly go over to the sofa, lay down to watch TV all night, read the papers, and often fall asleep right there.

    My wife is not into cooking much, though she's not a laying down on the sofa type, she makes a quick meal, then sits down in front of the computer afterwards. As you can see, when the guy downstairs asked us to wear slippers, and walk around softer, there is not much more I can do as I don't walk around the house at all, and when I do, it's on my barefeet. Oh, I do run to the bathroom once or twice, so I promsed the guy downstairs I would tip-toe, the one or two times I get up to walk around.

    This couple moved, over ten years now, and since then, we've had two small daughters who constantly run around, sometimes jump, with another tenant there for over 8 years, and not once had this guy mentioned anything about noise. Other than that, they were a very nice couple, who moved back to their native Ireland, we still exchange Xmas cards after all these years, so there were no hard feelings.

    When I was a young boy, a couple who was my "Godparents" lived in the 4th floor of a walkup, and as a child, I asked why not the first floor. He explained to me that footsteps from people walking upstairs always bothered him, and he had always chosen to live in the "top" floor, and wouldn't have it any other way.

    My suggestion is move elsewhere when you can, and live on the "top" floor, or somewhere where no one else lives upstairs. But, I beleive it has more to do with the construction of the house, than anything. Hopefully, your lease is only one year, if you can't get out of it sooner.

    Finally, having people downstairs where noise bothers them so much is a big inconvenience for us too. You think it's normal to tip-toe to a bathroom everytime you have to go??

    You can ask the Landlord, but you'll get a hard time, so it's easier if you just wait till the lease ends.
    Hi,

    Apparently all the top floor units are all occupied at this time. This is a 3-story building. I live on the 1st floor and the stomping neighbors the 2nd.

    Quote Quoting 525601minutes
    View Post
    Are there any upper floor units available in the building? Your landlord might let you switch units - but they are under no legal obligation to do so. If nothing is open you 'could' ask the people upstairs if they would be willing to switch too. You never know.
    Yes, I do very much want to break the lease. But of course I want to do this legally, rather than just pack up and go. I want to know if there is any legal basis on which I can request a termination of the lease, due to the hardship that I am being subjected to.

    And needless to say, when I get out of here eventually, I will make it certain that I live on the top floor.


    Quote Quoting steel
    View Post
    In the 90,s i lived in a studio apt downstairs & i know exactly what you're going through. I put up with my upstairs neighbor for 5.5 yrs. Sometimes he was quiet & sometimes not. I have not lived in a apt since 1-99 & i never will again. I had problems with neighbors next to me over the years as well. Apartments are just a big house with your own private living quarters. Your best bet is to break the lease & find another apt with no apt above it. Good-luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    Sorry, I thought I mentioned there's really not a "legal out" in your case.

    You cannot really say the people upstairs is at fault, creating a nuisance, as it's mainly the fault in building construction. They can do you a favor, tiptoe around their apartment, but if you ask me, it's really an imposition, as my tenant ask me to do the same, and I felt like an idiot tip-toeing around my own home.

    You can try and see if the management office can work with you to let you off, and often they have a waiting list, and get someone else in right away. They might ask you to pony up, or you can volunteer, some cleaning expense.

    I also found the most annoying thing in these cases is the "light covers" shaking, so you can ask the managment company do something. What I did was I took off the covers, and used table lamps, in my unit below the tenant unit where it was noisy, before I had a chance to change the light fixtures.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation because I know EXACTLY how you feel. I am in the exact situation as you. I am in the process of trying to get out of the lease that I just signed less than a month ago.
    Here is some information that I found: http://www.caltenantlaw.com/breaklease.htm
    Noisy neighbors are included in reasons to break a lease.
    There should also be some information in the lease agreement like
    Resident shall refrain from creating, or allowing to be created, any noise that is disturbing to other residents betweeen the hours of 10pm and 8am.
    or
    Quiet Enjoyment: Resident shall not violate any criminal or civil law, ordinance or statute in the use and occupancy of the premises, commit waste or nuisance, annoy, molest or interfere with any other Resident or neighbor. Any such action may result in the immediate termination of this Agreement as provided herein and by law.

    Tenants have a lot of rights and any discrepency in the lease could result in null.

    I wish you all the luck in the world. I would like to hear the outcome!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    Hi Milano,

    Thanks for replying to my post. And I am sorry to know that you are going through the same situation.

    I had actually also read the www.caltenantlaw.com article (thanks for referencing it all the same). And felt greatly empowered and encouraged. I also consulted a lawyer on Oct 5 about my situation and legal rights (my school provides free legal service). And one of the options he recommended is exactly the one mentioned in the caltenantlaw website. Basically he said that I should write a letter (Certified Letter with Return Receipt Requested) to the landlord, asking them to resolve the problem immediately. And if the problem is not resolved in 10 days, I could then write another letter (also Certified RRR), giving notice to vacate.

    Therefore, on Oct 7, I sent out the letter (remember to also put the tracking number in the letter). They received it the next day, and came to talk to my upstairs neighbors that day.

    Since then the noise has been reduced noticeably. There is much more peace and quiet now. And I can no longer record any noise using my camcorder (Previously, I had been making daily recordings of their stomping). I do think that the problem has been resolved more or less now. So there is no reason for me to take the next step (that is, to give notice to vacate and move).

    However, I am still monitoring the situation. If the noise problem re-occurs at any point, I will then proceed to the next step. Of course, I will have also made video recordings of their stomping.

    I will keep you posted on this!

    Good luck to you milano. And the caltenantlaw article is really useful. Previously I thought I had no legal basis to protect myself from the stomping and some of the replies from this board tell me the same - how discouraging AND misleading.

    I hope you can immediately take action about your situation.
    Just some advice:

    1) Try to make video recordings of the noise. And when doing so, establish the time in your recording.

    2) When writing the letter, put the certified letter tracking number in the letter.


    Quote Quoting milano
    View Post
    I am so sorry to hear about your situation because I know EXACTLY how you feel. I am in the exact situation as you. I am in the process of trying to get out of the lease that I just signed less than a month ago.
    Here is some information that I found: http://www.caltenantlaw.com/breaklease.htm
    Noisy neighbors are included in reasons to break a lease.
    There should also be some information in the lease agreement like
    Resident shall refrain from creating, or allowing to be created, any noise that is disturbing to other residents betweeen the hours of 10pm and 8am.
    or
    Quiet Enjoyment: Resident shall not violate any criminal or civil law, ordinance or statute in the use and occupancy of the premises, commit waste or nuisance, annoy, molest or interfere with any other Resident or neighbor. Any such action may result in the immediate termination of this Agreement as provided herein and by law.

    Tenants have a lot of rights and any discrepency in the lease could result in null.

    I wish you all the luck in the world. I would like to hear the outcome!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Terrorized by Stomping Neighbors Upstairs

    Hello,

    I would like to provide an update on this matter.

    I have since sent three certified letters to the management office, the last one addressed directly to the CEO of the company.

    They then moved my upstairs neighbors to another unit. So right now no one lives above me. And I hope it remains like this until the end of my lease.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Quiet Enjoyment: Upstairs Neighbors Excessively Loud in Florida
    By sbtc2233 in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-18-2011, 04:34 PM
  2. Identity Theft: Terrorized by Boyfriend Who Charged Me with Identity Theft
    By terrorizedbybf in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-22-2009, 06:43 PM
  3. Quiet Enjoyment: Very Loud Music from Upstairs Neighbors
    By Roommate51 in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-05-2009, 11:03 PM
  4. Quiet Enjoyment: Noisy Upstairs Neighbors With Kids - What Can I Do?
    By r_beau in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-12-2007, 08:39 AM
  5. Quiet Enjoyment: Continuous Noise from Upstairs Neighbors
    By Janero in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-31-2006, 06:43 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Landlord-Tenant Forms
Expert forms for all states. Residential & commercial. Immediate download.




Untitled Document