My neighbor downstrairs has knocked on my door a few times already complaing that we make too much noise. We don't have parties or have lots of people over, so I assume her complaints are about loud taking or laughing and maybe some music. The latest she's complained has been around 10pm (she says she gets up at 5am every morning), and has also complained in the middle of the day. I think her complaints are unreasonable for an apartment community. In the last complaint she said she'll call police/security next time. Can she have me evicted for this? What are my rights as a tenant so I can live normally in my apartment?
The problem with living in an apartment buliding are that you are just on the other side of a wall, ceiling, or floor from another person, who might be nice, warm, supportive, and friendly, or might be the neighbor from hell. Back in my apartment building days, I remember having a complaint from a neighbor on XMas day at 5 p.m. (because the radio was on) that I was making too much noise, so I know what you're talking about. Most landlords do too.
And most landlords will take complaints about noise with a grain of salt. Both you and your neighbor are entitled to quiet enjoyment of your property. That does not mean that you must live in monastery-like conditions; it just means that you have to be considerate of your neighbors. You might wish to casually mention this to your landlord in advance of any fireworks caused by your downstairs neighbor.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.
1 lawyer agrees
General Practice Lawyer
Your neighbor can not evict you. Only your landlord do that. However, your neighbor can make trouble for you by complaining to your landlord, so address the issue with the landlord as soon as you can. Your lease may have some language regarding noise disturbances that may be helpful, so read your lease again before approaching your landlord.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Only the landlord can evict you, but if your neighbor complains enough the landlord may take action against you to avoid any problems with your neighbor. Most landlords understand that some people are overly sensitive, but if the tenant is willing to sue them for failing to provide a quiet place to live, you may be sued anyway. Talk to the landlord and if you have good relationships with your other neighbors, talk to them and have them verify that you are not causing any disturbance. But you can also make sure you have rugs or carpet on the floors and keep your electronics away from direct contact with the walls so that you limit the noise issues. If you can show your landlord or any court that you have taken all reasonable steps to make your neighbor happy and that she is the only person who seems to hear this noise, you will have a stronger case than if you just say you thought she was unreasonable so you ignored her.