Readers’ Scoop – A Tenant Speaks

Readers-Scoop-Logo smallI’m a tenant living in a beautiful 2 bedroom basement apartment, my landlord who lives upstairs with 4 kids is a very nice and considerate person. At the same time, there are always times when its noisy where I’m not sure if I should approach him.

What is the normal time that it should be quiet on an average night is it 10PM, 11PM? What time should kids come downstairs in the morning 6AM, 7AM? On Friday night or Shabbos afternoon when I want to take a nap what is expected?

Would the readers of the scoop please let me know what arrangements they have and what is considered normal that I should expect from living in a basement, I know it wont be perfect.

Please lets stay away from landlord and tenant bashing and keep the comments mature and productive.

Thank you.

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  1. welcome to reality , unless you live in a compound far removed from society like osama bin laden it won’t be mattet how hard one tries to keep idea put ear plugs on and enjoy your nap.

  2. Where a landlord resides in the same building and adjacent to the tenant, it is not uncommon for some provision of a specific “quiet time” to be specified in the lease. Absent that, Lakewood has a noise ordinance. I believe it applies to noise that can be heard 50 feet from a residence, and so it would not strictly apply to your case because you are nearer. However, it might provide a guideline that can be discussed. I believe the ordinance has a 10:00pm quiet time, but you should check. I’ve never heard of an arrangement providing for peace and quiet in the afternoon to accommodate a nap. Any special arrangement for an early quiet time on Friday night that is desired for personal religious reasons is a point that should be discussed when negotiating a lease. Regarding mornings, the village where I live forbids the garbage collection contractors from entering prior to 6:00am, and I have heard of other situations where noise is discouraged prior to 6:00am. The newspaper deliverers come in earlier, but they are fairly quiet.

  3. Wow you read my mind I have the same issue my landlord is a nice fellow but there are times I get really frusterated,like 12 at night when I’m sleeping and he is doing work in his kitchen fixing some table and waking me up. As well as shabbos afternoon there are kids playing right outside my basement window. So I decided simply to move. I currently live in a development basement and I will start looking for a more private apartment even if it means more spent on rent and I sugest you do the same because no one and nothing is going to change the current situation for you. GOOD LUCK. A basement tennant.

  4. i try to be considerate of my tenants downstairs. after 7 pm i try not to let my kids play with loud toys all over the floor. Shabbos afternoon they need to play very queitly between 1-4 pm. even with these arrangements, it is impossible to control noise. this is lakewood, they make these houses cheaply. if i have to walk to the bathroom, inevitably my footsteps will be heard in the basement, that being said, the noise level can never be optimal, you just need to control as much as you can.

  5. Every tenant should have a claus put into the contract- bouncing balls, jumping rope, riding toys, are NEVER permited, a $50 deduction for every instance that presits more than 5 minuets.
    I failed to insert this and we suffer. Sometimes we are afraid the light fixtures will fall on us. (although, I find that persistent banging on the ceiling with a broom handle can sometimes be effective.)

  6. the simple solution is the 2 neighbors should jointly buy a carpet for upstairs which will muffle the noise. It won’t solve the problem entirely but it will make a huge difference.

  7. Here’s a simple idea: Talk to him. 9:00 pm is night time. It should be quiet. Noise before 7:00 is unacceptable. as far as Shabbos Nap, he can’t be expected to be quiet during the day, especially if he has little kids. Would you also regulate when he should eat?

  8. I think the writer is asking what sort of request he can politely make from his landlord that would be reasonable. What sort of hours can he ask for quiet, and what type of activities should be limited upstairs during those hours – obviously to the best of their ability.

    Usually young children go to sleep early. On weeknights it shouldn’t be hard to ask the adults not to make loud noises after 10 or 11 pm.

    Three hours Shabbos afternoon sounds like a lot – it’s hard for me to know the setup or the ages of the kids, but asking them which hour and a half would be the easiest for them to keep the kids away from the basement window, and to limit noisy play indoors then too.

  9. I believe in putting as much as possible in the contract to avoid unnecessary conflict in the future. Spell it out. We will make an effort to be quiet bet. _____ and ______.

    As an “upstairs” family, my rules are no noise downstairs before 7:30am. After 7pm no noisy toys. I carpetted as much of my floor as possible to buffer the noise, invested in upgraded soundproofing…Shabbos afternoon 1-4 is quiet time (one parent is up to ensure as much as possible that the noise is kept to minimum)

    When I built the basement I made sure that my playroom is not on top of any bedrooms. I think that’s important.

    I also found that a sound machine is a smart investment. It blocks out the outside noise and whatever inside noise there is.

  10. Switch places with my teenaged kids. You pay their rent as they live
    under your stampeding landlord, and we will gladly welcome you into our once quiet home.

  11. in life, there will always be people who will frustrate you and get on you rlast nerve. the trick is to LET THEM KNOW! All it takes is a phone call, or simply walking up the stairs to tell them “hey, d’you mind telling the kidds to keep it down shabbos morning?” Growing up, i was an “upstairs neighbor”, and having 11 kids in my family ka”h we sometimes got noisy and forgot ab being considerate. when it got out of hand, they would take a broom and bang on their roof/our floor and we quieted down immediately

  12. Some people in my neighborhood converge in front of my house on Shabbos afternoon to discuss philosophy, geo-political events, and the matching outfits of their kinderlach. One of them is louder than the Shabbos siren.

  13. Don’t get me started on those Shabbos afternoon talkfests. One neighbor of ours is particularly enamored with her own jokes and accompanies their tellling with a booming laugh. I pray for it to rain on Shabbos.

  14. may i suggest buying a high velocity turbo fan and keep it in your bedroom or hallway that is a solid white noise that will mask the other noises. They are not expensive. go online or to lowes you can get them for $20 to $40. I wish you all the best!

  15. Every neighbohood has somebody whose voice can wake the dead. Imagine if they all lived together in one development. Ouch.

  16. Most of these basement apts. are in new or newer homes which should have been built with soundproofing between floors. When the homes were built, it was with the intent to rent out the basements so soundproofing should have been part of the plans. It costs more, but in the long run it is worth it.

  17. I noticed something with regards to this issue…
    I am NOT bashing any renters, but I have noticed when both the upstairs and downstairs are renters, the upstairs neighbors feel less obliged to care about the downstairs neighbors. I have heard people say….”I pay good money for this apartment and have the right to live as I please without worrying about what my downstairs neighbors think”. “They knew they were renting a basement, and should have realized that it is noisy under a family”.
    Again, I am NOT saying that is the case by all, just something I noticed.
    When the landlord is living upstairs and renting out his basement, he might feel more obligated to keep his tenants happy. That might mean being specific in the lease about bed time, nap time etc. It also means that if he IS noisy and does not accommodate his tenants, then when it comes time to find the next tenant, he will have a hard time… especially if they ask the previous tenant about the noise situation.
    Just my take… don’t get all bent out of shape!
    I’m sure there are going to be some “I’m a renter upstairs and am quiet as a mouse” comments. To them I say, “Good for you! You are a great person who we should all strive to be like” : )

  18. It’s so noisy by me that I welcome the respite provided by the musical ice cream truck. Na na, na na na, na na na na,
    Na na na na na na na ………….

  19. I have been there and can comment from both sides of the coin.
    For the renter (basement) , please please invest in a sound machine especially if your kids are light sleepers. Once I bought one, I regretted not getting it much sooner.
    For the owner upstairs (especially if you once lived in the basement yourself and know it feels) . Of course it is impossible to completely control your children at all times. However , certain things should be avoided at all costs.
    Ball playing , remote control cars, and anything that repeatedly rolls or bounces on the floor.
    It is not impossible and unreasonable to avoid doing this directly over the tenants head.
    Also heeled shoes and slippers can be extremely annoying. Just be concious about it and try keeping it to a minimum.
    Just imagine your tenant grumbling and and being annoyed at you simply because of your mindlessness .
    Also if you have a family gathering, company or function , keep in mind that by around 11.00 PM your tenant most likely would like to go to sleep.
    It is not so simple when there is all that activity over there heads.
    I know it is not always possible but by being conscious you can at least avoid the worst excesses .

  20. duh if you live in a basement it will be noisy!!!! ( i do try to be quiet for my downstairs neigbors (no riding toys, bouncing balls and jumping rope _all that must be done outside) but should I tell my hungry child at 7AM sorry you can eat breakfast we need to wait until eight!

    before you rent out a basement check what room the master room is under well if its under the playroom your in trouble……chidlren wake up and like to play with thier toys…….

  21. When you go to shul, are you considerate of the neighbors? Do you stand outside shul shmoozing very loudly?

    Do you care about the neighbors? Do you care if the neighbor’s children wake up from your loud noises at shul?

    No, of course not! You’re at shul! You’re allowed to talk as much as you want. This is where we hang out!

    So don’t complain about your upstairs neighbors either. You don’t care about others, and so Midah K’neged Midah others don’t care about you.

  22. i think every landlord needs to first be a tenant, that is the only way they can understand what it is like living under someone. i lived in a basement and my master bedroom was under the play which did not have any carpet, it was a nightmare. now that i am a landlord my kids are not allowed to bring bikes, balls or anything like it into the house and if they are running around they take off their shoes. its only fair.

  23. The way the houses are built these days, you are bound to have a problem with noise. Builders build cheap houses because there is such a demand for it. Proper insulation can help to alleviate this issue. You have a right to feel annoyed because of this because it is normal when the kids wake up at the crack of dawn and are always making noise any time of day or night. Its an issue that there isnt a clear solution to.

  24. There is just so much the soundproofing helps and there is just so much you can do to keep little kids quiet. No one will ever be perfect and yet you will always have complainers.

  25. B”h I have a great landl-rd that does not allow his kids to play downstairs Shabbos Morning. Yet, I believe that that is Lifnim Mishuras Hadin. My landl-rd is a special guy and I dont believe he really has to do that.

  26. Unfortunately there is no good solution, i have lived in a basement and rented upstairs with renters under me and now finally i bought my own “single home” no tenants.
    When i was in the basement it was noisy and i made some basic arrangements with my landlord and we worked it out nicely. When i was upstairs i was extremely careful but the renter in the basement thought that the noise level in his apartment should be the same as on a private island and he went crazy if there was any walking on the first floor at night past 10PM and would bang on the ceiling, whenever i had guest for Shabbos he used to make comments to me. The owner of the house told me he has no control over his tenants.

    Now I’m finally happy, i have my own house, with no tenants
    “The best option”

  27. There are apartment buildings built for a reason! Stop complaining and move out if you’re not happy. We don’t need to hear your whining all day long!

  28. to 27: Are u so bitter that u come in from left field and jump to such drast assumptions? Do u really think that everyone who goes to shul stands outside and disturbs the neighbors? Why would u accuse the letter writer of being such a person? Are u der Aibeshter to decide why/when/where someone gets mida kneged mida???

    However, to everyone out there let’s take a positive lesson from #27 and remember that when we are INSIDE the shul – some of your neighbors are trying to daven. IF u feel the urge to talk, please take ur conversation outside. (But, of course – dont disturb the neighbors, or else u……)

  29. Kids will be kids they need to run around and let loose. I live in a basement and I understand that. The only time it bothers me is in Shobbos afternoon when they play “who can jump on the neighbors head harder” game.

  30. thank you all the above commenters, I now appreciate my single family home so much more.
    Having lived here for so many years I almost forgot the time I lived in an upstairs apartment and the guy who lived downstairs decided to have a barbecue IN his house to save on gas.

  31. I remember being a tenant somewhere, and one day asked the landlord if maybe her husband can pace somewhere else late at night. it sounded like he was pacing back and forth (assuming in learning) she couldn’t believe what I said, because it was HER WITHOUT SHOES tiptoeing back and forth (doing the laundry).
    Today’s basements, EVEN WITH “extra” soundproofing, I have yet to hear of a basement that hears as little noise as the older houses hear even with the extra sound proofing…

  32. I know someone who bought her landlady a pair of comfy, quiet slippers as a Chanukah present – I think she got the subtle hint that her clicking clacking shoes were causing the tenant distress…There is a nice way to sit down with a neighbor and have a conversation. In my opinion, there should not be an excessive amount of noise before 7:00 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m. I do not request quiet on Shabbos afternoon though I do get annoyed by the noise – that’s part of renting. I have been in my basement apartment for almost 8 years and have had 2 different families living above me over that time. They are both kind, considerate families and I yet I had to just get used to the noise. It is a fact of living under someone else – even in an apartment buildiing!

  33. My basement neighbors call to say its too loud whenever they decide its time for a nap. Well every night when I’m sitting in my study trying to learn I am disturbed by the downstairs neighbors laughing and giggling all night so loud! Is it really that funny? And when I’m eating supper I don’t need to hear you yapping so loudly on the phone. When I get rich I’m gonna throw out the tenants and live free again!

  34. It is ironic that all the time I lived in Boro Park I never dreamt of buying soundproof windows or had noise issues with neighbors.Now that I’m living in Lakewood I had to buy soundproof windows and spent thousands of dollars on soundproofing but still the inside of my house is louder then it was in BP.

    (P.S. Before you start snarling about how I should back to BP etc. let me say that I came to BMG as a Bocher and learned in the Kollel for ten years.Not only did my father learn in Lakewood my grandfather learned in Kletzk)

  35. Before you start snarling about how I should back to BP etc. let me say that I came to BMG as a Bocher and learned in the Kollel for ten years.Not only did my father learn in Lakewood my grandfather learned in Kletzk

    Well, then, go back to Kletzk! [snarl]

  36. Many people have begun constructing basements ina way that the upstairs playroom is not over the basement bedrooms. Sounds like you don’t have that.
    I would think you have no recourse other than asking nicely from the ba’al habos to have the kids play elsewhere.
    You could also move out.

  37. Before 8AM and after 7PM make best efforts to keep quiet.
    shabbos afternoon, nap time until 4 PM. the key thing is: be realistic. Tennant should not go crazy over isolated, short bursts, or low to moderate sounds during “quiet times”.

    To:45, thanks for lightening up an otherwise awfully sad string or responses!

  38. The best thing would be for you to invest in a sound machine (Marpac 580-a is a portable and fairly priced one). I had bought one for my baby, and when I saw how soundly she slept, I bought for all our bedrooms…! You will continue to use it even when you move into your own house….

    Much hatzlach, and remember it is only a test….

  39. And yes the music is A Capella because it is sefira. ( I got sick of all the comments during the three weeks)

  40. From the amount of calls I receive from Lakewood I can tell you that there is definitely a noise problem in Lakewood! We have soundproofed a fair amount of basements and here is my take on it. You CAN get excellent soundproofing done between the basement and first floor (Don’t expect a virtual silent fortress, expect real privacy) however the further into the construction you are the less effective it gets. E.g. Once the upstairs is finished as much as you will do to the basement ceiling you will still hear footstep noises (much fainter than W/O proper soundproofing). Finished Basements are really difficult and expensive. Our most successful jobs were with clients who realized the importance of soundproofing during the planning of their home and realized that their builders will do the standard (and no – extra insulation will not help) and that they need to be firm and willing to spend the extra $ to get the great soundproofing that is worth a lot more than the extra fancy molding…

  41. My LL put in extra soundproofing, but we still hear them. BH they are amazing ppel and really train their children to respect us and not make noise. They have kah 6 boys and 2 girls, so it could get kinda noisy.

    Once in a while there will be running around and really noisy over my daughters bedroom, so my husband will knock on the door and say please try to keep it down and they always respect us.

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