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Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Noise Between Neighbors: Talk It Out

A big racket. There was a noise issue in one of my buildings between two shareholders who live above and below each other. I received hundreds of emails from them about items dropping on the floor in the middle of the night and banging on the ceiling for the person to be quiet. I sent the super in. I went in to make sure that 80% of the floor was carpeted, as it’s supposed to be. The upstairs resident even put soundproofing cushioning under the carpeting. And still there were complaints, complaints, complaints. 


Here’s an idea. I went in very diplomatically and reached out to both shareholders using email, phone and sometimes in person, and said: “Listen, we’ve tried everything. How about just talking to each other face to face? We can meet outside of the building on a bench. We can meet via Zoom, if you want to.” At first they were absolutely not going to engage with each other. And I said, “Nothing’s working here; no one’s getting any sleep. I don’t even live here, and I’m not getting any sleep because I’m getting all these phone calls. Let’s try this.” 


Lo and behold. We found out that the upstairs neighbor had just had surgery, and she was using a walker. That’s where the noise that hadn’t been there before had come from. And it turned out the downstairs neighbor had had a similar surgery, so they connected on that. Now it seems like they have become best friends. They’re talking to each other, they’re doing favors for each other, they have each other’s keys. So in this day and age with all this technology and no one really face-to-face anymore, being with someone in the same room and talking to each other really does work.

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