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Old 09.11.2014, 03:13
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Noisy neighbour - what to do?

With only two and a bit months left to go in Switzerland, my charmed existence vis a vis neighbours has finally ended, and I find myself in an argument-by-note with a lady upstairs.

My flat is on the ground floor and directly above the laundry room in the building basement. Normally, I never hear anything, but at night, when everything else is quiet, the noise of the dehumidifier in the drying room is quite intrusive.

It has been left on overnight a few times since we moved in, but since its obviously a noisy machine, I assumed that people had left it running by mistake. Since it's inevitably gone 11pm by the time I notice (because I'm going to bed) then its far too late to knock on doors, so I've just taken the key out of the slot and left it on top of the key box.

Anyway, it has happened a bit more regularly recently, and on Monday I went down at midnight to turn it off, and found a note on the laundry room door asking whoever keeps turning off the machine to get in touch. "Oh, hurrah!" thinks I, "now I know who's doing it, so I can explain that it disturbs me and that'll be an end to it." So, it being midnight, I scribbled a quick line in broken German to that effect, saying please and thank you.

When I went down to do my own laundry on Wednesday, there was an epistle, so I broke out the google translate - upshot of the note is that the construction of the building means that I can't possibly hear the dryer, and no-one has ever complained before, and that I shoukdn't be going into the laundry room when other people are using it.

I took some deep breaths and wrote another note, as politely as possible explaining that the dehumidifier is directly under my bedroom, I can hear it very clearly, and I don't go into the laundry room in normal hours but it was keeping me awake at midnight, so please would she not use it overnight, thank you.

Today I popped down to the basement for something else, to find a typed and printed note on the door. I haven't attempted to translate it fully yet, as it's quite lengthy, but the first line is basically saying that she's lived there for 14 years and no-one has ever complained before.

So, she's basically called me a liar twice, clearly another polite note isn't going to have any effect, my German isn't up to confronting her in person, and I'm reluctant to drag another neighbour into the argument to translate, so what do I do now?

tl;dr: my neighbour is using the laundry room all night and disturbing me, when I complain she just claims that I can't hear her.

Letting her keep using the machine overnight isn't an option. I need to sleep.

I could just keep taking her key out of the wall every time the machine is left on, but I'm now a bit concerned that she'll complain to the landlord cos she's obviously not especially reasonable.

Or, I could just cut to the chase and complain formally to the landlord myself (although I'm not sure he'd do anything, since we've handed in our notice).

Any advice on the best way to resolve this?
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Old 09.11.2014, 07:09
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

turn off the machine in another way?
speak to the neighbour and offer a chance to actually hear the machine running in your apartment?
such it up for the 14 weeks you have left?
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Old 09.11.2014, 07:35
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

It'll take longer for them to kick you out of the appartment then the time you have left. If it bothers you continue to do so. After 10 pm no obnoxious noise should be left.
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Old 09.11.2014, 07:44
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Maybe there's a good reason that the dehumidifier needs to be running? Preventing mold, etc.?
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Old 09.11.2014, 08:00
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

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Maybe there's a good reason that the dehumidifier needs to be running? Preventing mold, etc.?
Unlikely. Those dehumidifiers are used in rooms where you have air drying for clothes - hence the "key" that she mentioned, that enables the landlord to bill the appropriate person for use of the dehumidifier. If it was for the building, he/she wouldn't be relying on a resident to turn it on.

To be honest, Lucy, you started it off on the wrong foot by just turning the machine off repeatedly (you should have left a note the first time, the way I understand these locals). However, you're in the right regarding noise ordinances, and since you're leaving you probably don't care about burning the relationship with your neighbor at this point, so I would just tell her that she's not allowed to make noise after 10 (point to the bit in the rental contract that says that), refer to any other relevant laundry room regulations that exist, and continue to unplug it. I would also raise a complaint to the landlord, for the sake of the next tenant.
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Old 09.11.2014, 08:58
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Next time just take the key and send it to the landlord with a note asking them to explain the rules to the neighbor when they return it.

Or, just take the key and throw it in the trash. Repeat as necessary.
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Old 09.11.2014, 09:02
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

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Next time just take the key and send it to the landlord with a note asking them to explain the rules to the neighbor when they return it.

Or, just take the key and throw it in the trash. Repeat as necessary.
Doing this, you are entering into a war zone where she might be as nasty if not more.
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Old 09.11.2014, 09:06
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Don't you hate it when people say in an argument "I've live here x years and your the first" "I've worker here x years and ...."

What your want me to say there has never been a normal person here in the time you have lived or worked here you muppet !
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Old 09.11.2014, 09:34
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

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speak to the neighbour and offer a chance to actually hear the machine running in your apartment?
This seems the best idea to me so far.

But you should at least telephone the agent/landlord and complain, giving the neighbour's name and phone number.

As she lives above you, be careful as she could stamp on the floor all night, keeping you awake....
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Old 09.11.2014, 09:50
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Is there any other room you can move to for the last two and a half months?
Being at odds with your neighbours can make your life hell, and if you only have that time left, maybe it's better to spend your energies somewhere else. This way, at least, you can sleep. Good luck.
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Old 09.11.2014, 09:58
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

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is there any other room you can move to for the last two and a half months?
Being at odds with your neighbours can make your life hell, and if you only have that time left, maybe it's better to spend your energies somewhere else. This way, at least, you can sleep. Good luck.
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Old 09.11.2014, 09:58
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Or a pair of earplugs?
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Old 09.11.2014, 10:13
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

I think the best thing for you would be to talk with the neighbour instead of these love notes you are exchanging, because it clearly isn't working. Ask her to a cup of coffee or desserts at 11 pm on one of those days and make her hear it. Aggressiveness in such matters won't work.
Regards

Last edited by sudeepta; 09.11.2014 at 10:32.
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Old 09.11.2014, 10:17
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

1. Keep removing key if disturbance after 10pm
2. Stop leaving notes
3. Ignore any notes left for you
4. Smile and agree to anything said in direct confrontation whilst continuing steps 1 to 3
5. Leave a cracker / biscuit / slice of bread or mince pie instead of note, for sake of randomness
6. Don't let it bother you as you're leaving soon
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Old 09.11.2014, 10:19
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

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turn off the machine in another way?
speak to the neighbour and offer a chance to actually hear the machine running in your apartment?
such it up for the 14 weeks you have left?
Turning the machine itself off would require me to clamber through her hanging laundry, which seems more invasive than just pulling her key out from the wall.

Speaking to her isn't an option because (a) language barrier and (b) I can only hear the noise late at night. Also, on current form, (c) she seems likely to just say that she can't hear it and I'm a liar.

I may only have 14 weeks left, but I can't miss a full night's sleep every week!
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Old 09.11.2014, 10:21
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Do you have a concièrge (caretaker) in charge your building? Try and get them involved as they're the next link in chain of general upkeep/running of the building and sevices.
Ask them to also come and listen to the noise generated by the machine, but make sure it's after the 10 o'clock watershed.... earlier and other noises such as traffic, TVs, etc. might cover the nuisance.

You could also try speaking directly to your neighbour, but do ask a friend to come along and translate for you if your german isn't up to it (the presence of a second person might also prevent the neighbour becoming too agressive).
Aplogise for the way you started the confrontation (simply by removing the key), but explain that you have heard it before, but thought then that it was left on by accident.
Also mention that it was midnight, you didn't know who's key it was and that you didn't think it fair on the other neighbours to start ringing on doorbells that time of night to try and find out who's laundry it was.

Basically, do a bit of low-level grovelling.... she'll like that.
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Old 09.11.2014, 11:54
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

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Turning the machine itself off would require me to clamber through her hanging laundry, which seems more invasive than just pulling her key out from the wall.

Speaking to her isn't an option because (a) language barrier and (b) I can only hear the noise late at night. Also, on current form, (c) she seems likely to just say that she can't hear it and I'm a liar.

I may only have 14 weeks left, but I can't miss a full night's sleep every week!
Get a boyfriend and sleep over at his place one night a week (no gurantees you'll get full night of sleep though )

Invite the lady in, any time will do as machine noise is not dependnat on time, if she declines or refuses to accept, speak with regie and have them handle it.
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Old 09.11.2014, 12:01
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Is it possible the humidifier was run in the past in the evening and you slept through it?

you may find when you are about to move, house? country?, you can become over stimulated with all the things that need doing and this can make you more sensitive to noise, maybe help yourself by

relaxation exercises before bed, self hypnosis?,
lots of exercise in the day to tire out the nervous energy
high starch meal for dinner to help conk out
get a little list/book and write everything that needs taking care of with the move and tick off so you don't feel like you forgot anything?

that doesn't mean other people shouldn't have mercy towards you with the stress you are going through but you often wont find that from other women.

ps i also run the dehumidifier through the night when i have a wash on the line, i never dreamed it might disturb someone and at the same time its hard to remember to turn it off every night if it did disturb someone.

Last edited by CathHarmony; 09.11.2014 at 12:07. Reason: list/book
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Old 09.11.2014, 12:12
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

Seems to me she wants to make sure her laundry is dry the next day. Is there no dryer she could use which would be one hour of noise versus all night.
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Old 09.11.2014, 14:42
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Re: Noisy neighbour - what to do?

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As she lives above you, be careful as she could stamp on the floor all night, keeping you awake....
And that's when you call the police
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