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Noisy neighbor - that's me!

(225 Posts)
sluttygran Fri 19-Feb-21 12:46:51

I have just been visited by my neighbour's daughter, who complains that her mother's life is being made a misery by my noisy grandchildren.
My neighbour lives in the flat downstairs to mine, and I have always been very careful to step quietly and not to bang around, because she seems very sensitive. I have had numerous complaints about my washing machine running, and my vacuum cleaner, which is very awkward, as I don't use either unduly.
Anyway its come to head during lockdown as my daughter is in my 'bubble', and brings the DGC to tea most afternoons. They are always gone by 6pm.
My granddaughter age 7 is a very quiet child, but my grandson age 3 is quite boisterous. He doesnt scream or shout, but he runs around a lot and I daresay his little pattering
feet can be heard downstairs.
I am at a loss for what to do - I can't nail him to a chair for the 2-3 hours he's here!
Normally the children would be at school or nursery, but of course Coronavirus has put paid to that. The weather has recently been too awful to take them out very much, and so Nanny's house has become a refuge in the afternoons.
My little grandson has been seriously ill, and the stress of that added to the lockdown and everything has led to DD becoming very anxious and depressed. She gets afraid shut up in her own house, although she's ok when her husband gets home, and she feels happier when she's with me.
I understand that my neighbour doesn't like her afternoon naps disturbed, but I don't know what to do.
I can't turn my back on my family when they need me, neither can I expect a 3 year old to sit quietly all day, but I do understand that my neighbour doesn't like children around.
She's threatening to call the police and has also said some quite bizarre things about my sewing machine running all day. I dont sew, and have nothing running apart from the usual domestic appliances.
I'm tempted to tell her to take a running jump, but she's elderly (as am I!), and besides, her daughter seems very wound up about it all.
What do Gransnetters think?
Is there anything I can do, or should I just be philosophical and let them complain?

aggie Fri 19-Feb-21 12:53:41

Some people hear noises that aren’t there , like your sewing machine . Sounds like she is ill , not bad
Maybe ask the daughter to listen to the noises herself and see if they are real ?

Peasblossom Fri 19-Feb-21 13:06:56

I think you might be surprised at how much noise travels to downstairs in some flats. My OH had a flat when I met him and you could hear everything from above and below but above was especially loud. Bangs and thumps.

Any possibility of compromise? Could you go to your daughters some afternoons? Could you keep the children in the living room and kitchen so that if her bedroom is under yours that would be less noisy. Would you mind if she put on some music to drown out the worst? I had to do that in OHs flat sometimes.

It may be hard to accept that what is pleasurable to you is making her life a misery but that is how she feels.

M0nica Fri 19-Feb-21 13:09:17

It is really difficult to be in a situation like yours. We had that problem when we were first married. In the end we solved it by buying a house, and having met the future tenants of our flat, I think the person below us would soon have been looking back on us and quoting us to the new tenants as 'perfect' and how quiet we were.

But our solution is not everyone's and if you are settled and happy, why should you move.

I think the best thing to do is be polite and kindly sympathetic to both mother and daughter, but point out that some noise from your flat is inevitable and that you are not unduly noisy. If they threaten the police, do not worry about it. When the police hear that you are not holding noisy parties orplaying loud music, that you are just a lady on your own living quietly I think they will first refer your neighbours to the local council. If the lady below complains about your sewing machine and you explain you do not have one, they will probably speak to social services.

In situations like this, most of us do what we can, but at a certain point have to say. 'I have done everything I can. I am not prepared to go any further' and leave them to seek help from the authorities.

NellG Fri 19-Feb-21 13:10:39

Oh gawd, this is an awful situation to be in and I really feel for you.

They can report you to the police, but nothing will happen - this isn't a criminal matter unless you are causing a breach of the peace, which you clearly aren't. They will be advised to report it to Environmental Health, and the worst case scenario there is that they will set up recording equipment in her flat and realise there is no problem.

It sounds like she's driving her daughter mad with it too, maybe the daughter just needed to be seen to be tackling it?

In all honesty I'd just let them complain and let the issue run. It will be proved that you're not causing an issue. But do ask the daughter to deal with it through official channels and not knock on your door. You have the right to live in peace too.

eazybee Fri 19-Feb-21 13:11:01

Ask the daughter if she has heard the noises and if you can visit the flat when your grandchildren are there to listen.

If your daughter is anxious I suggest you visit her at her own home to support her; it really isn't fair to expect your neighbour to tolerate the children's noise every day when they are not residents.

Luckygirl Fri 19-Feb-21 13:15:37

Pop some earplugs through her letterbox.

Ashcombe Fri 19-Feb-21 13:22:05

This is a difficult one. I expect the daughter has her ears burned by her mother with the moans about things - it happens and she could well be at the end of her patience with her.
Would it be possible to keep some slippers at your home for your DGS which would perhaps muffle the sound of his footfalls? For some of the time at least, could you make a game of it with asking him and his sister see who can run on tippy toes and be as quiet as mice?
I understood that nurseries were still fully open throughout the lockdown so he should be able to attend at the moment. Things will improve with better weather, as it will for us all!
Good luck!

mumofmadboys Fri 19-Feb-21 13:25:21

Could you ask your DD to limit her visits to one and a half hours so you can be seen to be taking the neighbours complaints seriously?

LauraNorder Fri 19-Feb-21 13:25:46

Maybe you could invest in a small pop-up tent, fill it with cushions, books, pencils and toys. Read stories and encourage colouring, drawing, playing with little cars or dolls, jigsaw puzzles, building blocks. All of that would discourage the little one from running about.

Septimia Fri 19-Feb-21 13:25:52

When DS lived in a flat the person - I'm assuming it was a man - could be heard walking about. From the sound he was presumably wearing outdoor shoes and walking on a hard floor rather than on carpet. The most disconcerting thing was that you could hear a noise that sounded very like him peeing in the loo from a great height.... shock

The noise certainly does carry downstairs! But that is pretty normal in a lot of flats. My only suggestion is that maybe you could put an extra layer of floor covering down when your GS is visiting.

Urmstongran Fri 19-Feb-21 13:31:16

Take her a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates. Lovebomb her & apologise and just say you’re doing your best in trying times. Lockdown won’t last forever. It’s good to be neighbourly.

ClareAB Fri 19-Feb-21 13:36:56

You live in an apartment. Of course people will hear other residents.
That being said, I suffer with noise, live in a rural area where everybody seems to own and use a chainsaw and for some it can be unbearable.
Could you offer to buy her some wireless headphones so that she can watch TV, listen to music or audiobooks? That and a drawing from your grandchildren saying thank you and a box of chocs could go a long way to pouring oil on troubled waters.

aggie Fri 19-Feb-21 13:44:17

I think it’s the unreal noises that are are the woman’s problem , she needs help

sluttygran Fri 19-Feb-21 14:04:45

Thanks for all your suggestions - I think I will try the 'love-bombing' idea, as I can't do much about the other problems.
I already have thick rugs down, and the children wear slipper-socks indoors.
My daughter can't really limit her visits as she is my carer, too, and though I support her a great deal emotionally, she also looks after physical stuff that I can no longer manage.
DGS's nursery school was closed because of Coronavirus amongst the staff, and we couldn't send him to different one as he is epileptic and has his own key-workers who are au fait with his management
He'll be returning to nursery 3 days weekly from next week, so that will help, and of course improving weather will enable more trips outside.
I rarely visit my daughter's home, as I can't manage the stairs to her bathroom. I struggle with getting upstairs to my flat, but I only have to do that once a day if I venture out.
I think that the pandemic has been the major cause of everyone's distress - it magnifies little problems which might not have bothered us at other times, but it can't last forever.
I can't help feeling that my neighbour is a little unkind - she rarely has a good word for anyone. Whether it's her nature, or an infirmity I don't know, but I don't want to cause hostility.
I have decided to offer flowers and cake, and to explain that I will do my best to avoid disturbing her, but shall firmly point out that I have a right to enjoy my family's company in my own home.
I hope that this will bring about a peaceful resolution!

Witzend Fri 19-Feb-21 14:07:32

Have you got hard floors or carpet, OP?

humptydumpty Fri 19-Feb-21 14:13:48

Having lived downstairs from a family quite happily for some time, my life was turned upside-down when they had there carpets removed, and the floors sanded down. I could hear everything that happened after that, down to a coin being dropped on the floor above, so I have to say I absolutely sympathise with your downstairs neighbour.

You say you have thick rugs, but presumably they don't cover the whole floor. Would you be able to buy some carpeting (a cheap offcut perhaps) to put under the rugs, to ensure the whole floor is covered?

Urmstongran Fri 19-Feb-21 14:15:46

I think you’ll not regret my suggestion sg.

Your neighbour will soften because you’ll have shown you do care. And it’s so much better than fanning the flames.

Tensions and feelings run a bit higher in this awful pandemic. People are sick of lockdown!

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 14:20:28

I live in a downstairs flat, and have done for over 30 years.
You're doing nothing wrong at all, and your neighbour will have to accept that, just as I have, through the many different tenants who have lived above me.

Some have been noisy, some quiet, (one lot bloody awful!) but I've been able to hear them all.
Having a wee, having sex, arguing, all of it.

People are entitled to enjoyment of their own home, are "the rules", and it's unreasonable for me to try and curtail their enjoyment.

sluttygran Fri 19-Feb-21 14:21:07

Hi Witzend
No I have carpets and thick rugs, everyone wears slipper socks, and I have rubber noise-absorbing mats under washing machine and tumble-dryer. To be honest I'm a little baffled at the amount of banging and thumping that is complained of, and totally baffled about the 'sewing machine noise', which is apparently heard day and night!confused

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 14:23:54

I swear all of my neighbours sound as if they're roller skating up and down the long hall.
I've no idea what it is, but it's a noise I've heard for years now! smile

Some have had hard floors, some carpets, but I can still hear their lives being lived.

Lollin Fri 19-Feb-21 14:31:23

Do you have fitted carpets sg? I was very surprised to discover a neighbour below could hear my every step after I discovered lovely wooden floors and decided not to have carpet fitted. I did the “love bombing” explaining that I’d save up for carpets. Fortunately she knew someone who was replacing some lovely carpet that they let me have for free - phew!

MissAdventure Fri 19-Feb-21 14:37:35

Its louder and a sharper sound if people have wooden floors, but it still thumps and reverberates if children run around on carpets.

justwokeup Fri 19-Feb-21 15:13:56

I think your daughter should be your priority and it's lovely that visiting you helps her. Perhaps you could tell the lady underneath that you're helping your daughter out until school reopens but you'll try to muffle the noise if possible. Slippers have been suggested, could you get a thicker carpet or rug? The 'sewing machine' could be a problem with her ears unfortunately. My friend could always hear a man snoring from the flat below. I couldn't hear anything so it was very puzzling. Turned out it was the beginnings of her ear problems. Please don't ask your daughter to reduce her visits as it's a temporary situation.

justwokeup Fri 19-Feb-21 15:15:56

Sorry crossed posts about the carpets!