Love Thy Neighbor... As Best You Can Dealing with Difficult Residents

It’s 3:30 in the morning and your upstairs neighbor can’t seem to get enough of the new Cher album. It’s not just the techno beat that’s getting to you, it’s the volume. It’s making your china collection rattle in its hutch and your teeth hum until you just can’t take it anymore. You’re a patient person, but after a week, it’s just too much. You have a problem neighbor and you aren’t alone.

"Almost every building has a problem resident," says Fred Rudd, president of Eichner Rudd Management in Manhattan. Whether it’s a family with unruly children, a neighbor who’s loath to empty their garbage or an individual with a penchant for loud parties, there’s an endless number of reasons for tension among co-op and condo residents. Thankfully, there’s almost as many ways to avoid or curb these problems before they get out of hand.

Keep it Down!

What’s the number one cause of resident tension? "Noise is probably the most common problem, whether it’s loud music, parties or an arguing couple," Rudd says. Most noise problems can be eliminated with the installation of proper insulation. But it’s not the physical solution that’s difficult. Determining the true severity of a problem is where the real trick lies.

"Everybody has different comfort and tolerance levels," says Martha McDonald-Goupit, managing director of Caran Properties, a property management firm in Manhattan. "What’s noisy to one person isn’t necessarily noisy to another."


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  • What about a neighbor that complains about normal noise? I have now had to conine my 3yr old son to the couch, chair, or bed. He can only travel on the floor to get somewhere. Even when he does walk, heck, even when I walk across the floor I can hear my footstpes. Doesn't the downstairs neighbor have to allow for some leeway? Thank you