Alice, My Landlords Hate Me

Alice, My Landlords Hate Me

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Ask Alice
Feb 10, 2015
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Dear Alice—

I live below elderly landlords; they own the building and I rent out a lower unit. The first several months I lived here, I constantly checked in about music noise and party noise and received no complaints. On a recent Saturday, I had a small dinner party that lasted until 2 AM with low music. I received an email from my landlord near the end of the party asking me to keep it down after 10, and in response I sent an apologetic email. They emailed me again, this time I kicked the guests out, and woke up to a nasty email... and then another email the day after listing new rules about noise and restrictions on gatherings for my apartment. I've been told that I'm out of line and inconsiderate. I love my apartment— it's cheap, in a great location, and I've spent a lot of time and money fixing up the place and paying rent on time. How can I repair this relationship, and is a late dinner party really so drastic as to necessitate this response?
Thanks so much,
Landlord loathing

Dear Landlord loathing,

Well, first things first, I assume you have a lease that you signed when you moved in. Whatever that lease says, thems the rules, baby. As a tenant you have rights; legally, your landlords can't change the terms of your lease until it's up.

However, you're obviously a considerate person and don't want to have a strained relationship with your landlords/neighbors. It is weird that for months, your noise was tolerable and, all of a sudden, it's out of control (in their minds). I wonder, was this the first time you'd entertained guests so late? Consider that you may not have been as quiet as you thought you were being.

Even so, this was an overreaction on their part, especially since this was (seemingly) the first time you'd disturbed them. Unfortunately, your age difference probably doesn't help foster tolerance as they are less likely to need your understanding during their late-night parties (unless they're night owl dinner-party hosts themselves).

Here's what I think you should do: bake/buy some cookies and write a short note that says, "Sorry for disturbing you the other night." You want them on your side and since this is the first time they've reacted this way, give them the benefit of the doubt (even though they didn't give it to you, be the bigger person). Maybe the whole thing will blow over; it's certainly worth a try.

Continue to abide by the terms of your original lease and if you still run into problems, be really honest (without getting defensive) and tell them exactly what you told me: you love living there, you've put a lot of time into fixing it up, you always pay on time and you really want to get along and be a considerate neighbor but you also want to have guests sometimes as per your original agreement.

If they're dead set on a quiet mouse then you may be looking for a new place when your lease is up. But would you have wanted to keep living there anyway? I think not.

Good luck!

Love,

Alice

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