For many who will be moving off campus next semester, I know you are very excited about this new found freedom that you will gain with having your own apartment. Gone are the room inspections, sharing a bathroom with 200 other people and especially the no room visitation rule after midnight.
But a lot of first timers off campus do not realize all the rules and responsibilities of having an apartment. The excitement of moving into a college community can be a fun experience but can be quickly ruined by inconsiderate neighbors.
I hoped I would live by neighbors who adhered to the terms of their lease. But that didn’t happen. My neighbor above me would constantly play their music loud at all times of the morning and night. You would’ve thought my neighbor was deejaying a segment for 90.5 WANM because of how much he played his music.
Some may say there are loud neighbors in the dorms too, but at least there is a resident assistant available 24 hours a day. Unlike my apartment complex, the leasing office shuts down at 10 p.m. And that’s when my neighbor used to come to life.
I followed all procedures as far as notifying the leasing office every time the music was too loud, but I had complained over 15 times that I knew by now he should have been evicted.
So, I made it a point to speak with my manager because nothing had been done. So, I took matters into my own hands and confronted my neighbor for the third time.
We were finally able to come to a compromise. Sunday through Thursday he could not play his music loud, and Friday and Saturday he was free to play his music without any complaints from my roommate or me.
To first timers off campus: Whether it is playing music, having sex or horse playing around, one should have the right to live at peace in their apartment.
You pay rent there just like they do. If ever you encounter a noise problem with your neighbor, it is good to know what to do. Nip it in the bud when it first starts.
According to “Talking is the First Step For Noisy Neighbors” on www.uiuc.edu, you should (1) approach the neighbor about the problem (2) warn the
neighbor; (3) suggest mediation; (4) call the police; then in your last attempt and (5) sue for nuisance.
Can you believe that? According to the article, you can sue your neighbor who keeps disturbing you, and “ask the court for money damages or order the neighbor to “abate the nuisance” in legal terms.” Boy, I should have know this earlier.
Supposedly “getting a small claims court to order your neighbor to pay you money can be amazingly effective. And suing in small claims court is easy, inexpensive and doesn’t require a lawyer.”
According to the article using police reports, witnesses, your own testimony or even a recording will help you prove your case.
According to www.nolo.com, you can sue up to $5,000 in small claims court in Florida.
You are probably wondering how did we jump from trying to talk to your neighbor to suing them? Easily.
Sometimes you have to be prepared for the unexpected, because more than likely the person who is a constant noisemaker does not know they have a constant problem.
Tofind your municipality’s noise rules, you can look up the local ordinances in the local library or log onto www.municode.com.
Wakisha Douglas is a 21, senior newspaper journalism student from Alexandria, Va. She can be reach ed at firstname.lastname@example.org.