A few years ago, my husband and I lived in a duplex flat just outside of Manchester. It was reasonably priced, close to shops, bars and public transport; we liked the area and got on well with our landlord. Sounds great, right?
The flat was in a converted Victorian terraced house with big windows, high ceilings (crappy storage heaters, but heigh-ho), large rooms, and very thin walls. It was possible to hear conversations happening in the flats at either side of us, but considering these were mostly young professional couples it wasn’t much of an issue. The couple to our right had parties every now and then, and unfortunately their flat was organised in an opposite way to ours, so their Kitchen/ dining room was next to our Bedroom; this meant that whenever they had parties, had too much to drink and got a bit loud we could hear pretty much everything that was going on. My husband particularly remembers hearing the guy misquoting the film Aliens, which is an unforgivable offence. Still, they weren’t too bad as neighbours.
About a year after we had been living there the couple moved out and new tenants moved in; they were young girls, sisters, part time shop assistants, full time wannabe Paris Hiltons. One of them was actually called Paris. They seemed harmless enough at first. A few days after moving in they had people round (we assumed for a housewarming party), they played very loud dance music until about 4am, and it sounded as if there were a few disagreements taking place. We gave them the benefit of the doubt, but the behaviour was repeated the next night, and the next night. We went around the following afternoon to explain that the walls are quite thin, that we both have to get up early for work, etc. The girls apologised, said they would keep the noise down and to let them know if they were too noisy.
The next week they repeated the behaviour every day. It soon became apparent that once they had started drinking they lost all inhibitions and would play music at full volume until 5-6am or until they passed out, and we had to get up for work. This issue escalated to the point where we had to get the police involved, the landlords of the neighborimg property, but nothing we did seemed to help. The police, council and landlord were powerless to help us. This issue went on for over 9 months. The landlords agency advised that they would not renew their contract after the 6 months were up, and that they had begun proceedings to evict them. It got to the point where we dreaded going home. Peckham and Cholesterol (as my husband named them) started inviting people to help annoy their neighbours, banging on the walls and shouting obscenities at us. We later found out that they had stopped paying rent after the first two months. We also had to call Environmental Health because they were just throwing rubbish out of their windows into the alley behind our buildings.
There are videos of our experiences on YouTube (see below). We were contacted by a film company to take part in a TV program called Neighbours from Hell, but by this point we just wanted it to end.
We live in a lovely area now, and have lovely neighbours, but they have a tendency to turn the wall mounted TV’s volume up ridiculously high until 2/3 am. We have had a word a few times, but we are terrified of it turning into a bad situation like last time. I found myself apologising for asking, very politely, if they would mind turning down the TV, as if I was doing something wrong.
There used to be this very British way of dealing with things, where you would be extremely polite and turn down something if someone complained about something – you’d have a bit of a grumble, but in order to not cause a scene you would comply with that persons wishes. The appropriate response these days (yes, I know I sound like an old whiney person) is to have a go at someone if they ask you to stop doing something. I had a middle aged woman swearing at me a few weeks ago, because I asked if she would mind watching a video on her iPad with her headphones on, instead of the volume on high; yes, I’m sure that her grandchildren are very cute, but I don’t want to listen to them screaming at 7am when I’m at the train station.
Let me know if you have had to deal with anti-social behaviour.