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Old 22.09.2010, 13:23
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Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

We received a letter this week from the property management company stating the following changes to our contract re: building rules.
1- Daily lunch time between 12-13:30 is now considered 'quiet' time.
2- 'quiet' time now starts at 18:00 in the evenings.
3- Children are not allowed to ride scooters or bicycles in the paved courtyard between the two buildings.

Background info:
There is a building A on the main street, then there is a paved courtyard with a grassy area therefore our building B is not on the main street which is ideal for families with kids. This was one of the main reasons we decided to rent here, and I suspect this is the case for the other families in our building. The courtyard is mainly used by kids.
Our contract states that quiet time is all day Sunday and between 22:00-07:00 daily, but they also say that they are free to amend the contract as they see fit.
Apparently a resident (or more?) from building A has requested this rule change which seems a bit drastic to me, unreasonable, and heavily biased against families with children.
Building B is occupied mainly by expats with kids and on a sunny day it isn't uncommon to find up to 10 kids playing in the courtyard. When a kid falls or they are getting loud one or more of the parents are usually out handling the situation. The kids range from ages 5-10 and are all normal, playful children from different backgrounds. There are no vuvuzelas, slingshots, firecrackers, or alcohol in their normal play.
A few weeks ago one of the residents of building A came to each door on our building reminding us of 'the rules', I politely apologized if the kids were being loud and immediately asked my boys to remember to keep their volume down when playing. Now this letter...
Our kids are in Swiss school, we are learning German, and we are doing our best to integrate by respecting the local culture and rules.

I want to start some sort of mediation with the property managers but wanted first to get some opinions on whether these new rules seem as unreasonable to others as they do to me. They seem to deviate from what I thought were the 'normal' city standards.

sorry for the lengthy description, I really appreciate any suggestions.
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Old 22.09.2010, 13:55
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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sorry for the lengthy description, I really appreciate any suggestions.
you probably have to move . Quiet from 18.00 is unreasonable ... even for those without kids.

And what about the noise from trams, the road , other apartment blocks etc ...

Start complaining about any sounds that happen in these time from Block A ... formally to the landlord.
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Old 22.09.2010, 13:58
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

Property management who is willing to take the money from many families and then imposing quiet time at 18.00, sounds ridiculous to me. Maybe you could try to get together with the other families and show your concerns as a group (or at least talk together). Maybe you will achieve a (oh-so-swiss) Kompromiss and find a middleground, say quiet time starts 20.00.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:01
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

So-called "quiet time" starting at 18.00 is totally unreasonable. Most people come home from work sometime between 5 - 7 pm, dinners get cooked, TVs get watched, showers/baths get taken, so on and so forth. To expect you to walk around on tiptoe for more than 12 hrs (until 7 the next morning) is ridiculous. If I were you I'd contact the Mieterverband Basel http://www.mieterverband.ch/bs_top.0.html

Good luck!
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:02
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

Hold a meeting with all the tenants in building B invited.

These new rules are completely unacceptable, the Swiss laws are stiff enough. If people don't like noisy children they should move to the country, and not impose their requirements on everyone else.

Do not sign any acceptance of these rules, and then they cannot enforce them. Got to the Mietverband
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:02
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

The only unreasonable thing that I see is the quiet time being enforced from 1800 hrs. Mine starts at 1900 hours and I thought I had it bad.

The only thing I can think of is to speak to all your neighbours in Building B and ask if everyone is willing to stand as one, to negotiate with the landlords / agency of Building A to compromise on a change in the timing - say 2000 hrs. 1800 hrs is ridiculous.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:04
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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you probably have to move . Quiet from 18.00 is unreasonable ... even for those without kids.

And what about the noise from trams, the road , other apartment blocks etc ...

Start complaining about any sounds that happen in these time from Block A ... formally to the landlord.
I'm really hoping moving is not the answer, I just want to find a fair solution. This is all about the fact that they don't like children playing outside.

Unfortunately, building A has smaller apartments occupied mainly by older people without kids.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:07
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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Property management who is willing to take the money from many families and then imposing quiet time at 18.00, sounds ridiculous to me. Maybe you could try to get together with the other families and show your concerns as a group (or at least talk together). Maybe you will achieve a (oh-so-swiss) Kompromiss and find a middleground, say quiet time starts 20.00.
I'm even willing to go 19:30. Kids are never out past 20:00 and that is only on summer months. I'm also willing to go no bikes, but scooters should be allowed, and no football.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:09
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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I'm really hoping moving is not the answer, I just want to find a fair solution. This is all about the fact that they don't like children playing outside.

Unfortunately, building A has smaller apartments occupied mainly by older people without kids.
Ahhh the good ole kids vs grumpy older people conundrum!

Its very difficult to balance the needs of these two parties. Whilst I totally understand that kids need to be free, run and have fun, it might get a little much for older people who just want their peace and quiet - and it does get drawn out in the summer months when the weather is better and days longer - hearing the children run about and playing does the head in of the grumpier farts.

Dont move and dont fight fire with fire. It only makes thing worse - you and everyone in Building B have the same objective: let your kids be allowed to run free for a reasonable time. Work together and stand your ground. In the meantime, try finding out if 1800hrs is indeed considered "unreasonable" in the eyes of the law through the mieterverband.

Also, are you on friendly terms with anyone in Building A? Maybe have a chat and suss out the situation? ie if the whole building petitioned for that rule etc etc..

Good luck and I hope you get this sorted soon.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:10
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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The only unreasonable thing that I see is the quiet time being enforced from 1800 hrs. Mine starts at 1900 hours and I thought I had it bad.

The only thing I can think of is to speak to all your neighbours in Building B and ask if everyone is willing to stand as one, to negotiate with the landlords / agency of Building A to compromise on a change in the timing - say 2000 hrs. 1800 hrs is ridiculous.
The 12:00 to 13:30 is normal I guess?

I think we will all stand together and negotiate some more reasonable terms, the awkward thing is that we are all expats. I don't want it to turn into a Swiss vs the aliens.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:12
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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And what about the noise from trams, the road , other apartment blocks etc ...
At a rough guess, if any of the flats in Block A have rooms facing both sides, the noise from the road etc. is part of the problem. The occupiers may be trying to get away from one lot of noise and find themselves with another racket to put up with when they use the other rooms.

I'm not saying the ruling is fair and I question whether it is possible to enforce it, but finding out exactly what the problem is might help towards finding a compromise.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:19
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

Obviously, the problem is Building A being caught up between noise from street and noise from court yard. Semantics being the explanation of most problems, people do not share the same definition of "unreasonnable". I am not sure if you will get a better result with confrontation or mediation, it depends how many of you in Building B are willing to reach out in the same way.
Generally speaking, children outside will be considered as a credible source of noise nuisance, so it is all about organizing times and space for the benefit of most people possible. Keep in mind that the Mieterverband is not only a place to complain but also a place to get info about what is usance in that area so that you evaluate how your claim may be considered if taken further to a more official place. But your message sounds like you know what a mediation is, so good luck.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:21
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

If it helps, change of conditions is normally sufficient grounds for termination of contract without notice. If several families threaten this then you will have pretty decent leverage over the landlord.

As previously stated, the Mieterverband is your friend.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:28
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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The 12:00 to 13:30 is normal I guess?

I think we will all stand together and negotiate some more reasonable terms, the awkward thing is that we are all expats. I don't want it to turn into a Swiss vs the aliens.
Yes, as far as I know, the usual standard quiet times are: 1200hrs - 1330 hrs, 2200hrs till 0700 hrs but each building or gemeinde will have different rules, and how strictly enforced these rules are by your neighbours.

It says on my contract, 1200 hrs - 1330 hrs and 1900hrs till 0700hrs, and all day Sunday - which supercedes any other rules but I've got pretty relaxed neighbours who dont mind musical instruments on a Sunday (as my other neighbour who also has a piano tried, but I havent) and a building with zero kids. Just one dog and two pianos.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:33
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

If it all goes against you, I'm all for the getting building B up in arms against build A, then play within the rules but..

Get the children crates of vuvuzelas, slingshots, firecrackers but no alcohol. Instead of alcohol get them mountain dew.

CK
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:36
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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At a rough guess, if any of the flats in Block A have rooms facing both sides, the noise from the road etc. is part of the problem. The occupiers may be trying to get away from one lot of noise and find themselves with another racket to put up with when they use the other rooms.

I'm not saying the ruling is fair and I question whether it is possible to enforce it, but finding out exactly what the problem is might help towards finding a compromise.
I'm not sure the street noise is the issue because the road has very little traffic, and, I believe the building is pretty well sound proofed on the street side. It's all about the kids because the building A balconies face the courtyard...
Part of the problem is that when we have good weather they have all their windows open and I have noticed an echo in between the buildings, but the kids should not be faulted for this. I'm actually hoping for cooler weather so that they can close their windows
I also have a feeling that the building A issue is no more than one or two of its residents.
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:42
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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If it all goes against you, I'm all for the getting building B up in arms against build A, then play within the rules but..

Get the children crates of vuvuzelas, slingshots, firecrackers but no alcohol. Instead of alcohol get them mountain dew.

CK
That and pogo sticks! That was my first reaction: "I'll show them noisy kids"
but, I wouldn't be able to stand it myself for too long
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Old 22.09.2010, 14:47
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

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I'm even willing to go 19:30. Kids are never out past 20:00 and that is only on summer months. I'm also willing to go no bikes, but scooters should be allowed, and no football.
that's it.. no bikes but scooters, no football, no shoes but sandals, 18.00 in winter, 21.00 in summer, no yelling but singing, no vuvuzelas but laughter, no fireworks and no parade but talking and then shake hands. They won't know what happened.
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Old 22.09.2010, 18:05
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

is this at a block in Sankt Johanns-Ring? I ask as someone i know has recieved a very similar letter and has a similar building lay out.
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Old 23.09.2010, 00:18
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Re: Changing the rules re: "noise" rules

How does the property management define "quiet" ?

If "quiet" after 6 pm means no more piano, nor drilling-machine, it's not so abnormal (in our house, playing music should stop after 6 pm, but "general noise" after 10 pm), but if it means no noise at all, there is hardly a chance that anybody could respect that rule...

About bikes and scooters in the courtyard: do (elderly) people from building A use that courtyard too? Do they have to cross that courtyard?
Reading your post made me think that my grandma would fall down if kids would play on bike or scooter around her and that she probably would be afraid to go out and cross the place. Could that be a reason ?

The explanation of the property management is kind of poor in my eyes.
I think it would be usefull to have further explanation from them before going to the Mieterverband.

Good luck

Last edited by FMX; 23.09.2010 at 00:21. Reason: Mistake in reading the OP
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