Noisy Upstairs Neighbor

For the first time in about 20 years, we’re living in an apartment. It’s a temporary situation while we get settled into a new city, and we’ll probably be moving into a house in about 6 months. In the meantime, we get to deal with all of the fun that comes with living in very close proximity to our neighbors.

One problem that is driving us a little nuts is our upstairs neighbor. He’s not noisy in the traditional “loud conversations/cranks the TV & stereo” sense. It’s just that when he walks around, it sounds like a herd of elephants. Which wouldn’t be all that bad, except that he keeps very odd and inconsistent hours. Sometimes we’ll hear him walking around up there for a good 20-30 minutes at 3:00 AM, and sometimes it’s during the day or early evening.

I want to talk to him about it, especially the part about the wee hours of the morning, but I want to do it without coming off like a douche. And I’m not sure that a conversation about the problem will fix anything - the dude’s probably 45-50 years old, and it seems unlikely that we’re going to change his habits.

Any good advice from Doperland?

Get earplugs?

I’m a fan of just asking. Be as friendly as you can be, and certainly don’t be confrontational. If you’re not a dick about it, then he won’t be either.

But it could be that there’s not much he can do.

…I sympathize but honestly… if it’s that he “walks loudly”… there’s no way you don’t come off as a douche. Needing to move around his apartment is not something he necessarily can or should have to modify for your sake.
We have a slew of problems with our upstairs neighbors-parties, drum practice, excessive stinky pot smoking on their balcony that is right above our patio. One of them also has his alarm clock go off at 5:30…we can usually hear it. Sometimes it wakes us up, sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s when he has to get up, the building should have been built better. That’s not his fault.

That sounds like a combination of not enough sound-deadening materials on the floor and a heavy walker - I’m not sure talking to him would do any good, since walking around in your own apartment is just normal usage. Maybe just letting him know how bad the sound-proofing is, and ask very politely that he limit the walking after midnight? Hey, if you phrase it like that, you can even make a joke of it! :slight_smile:

With this in mind I vote for “simply not worth the bother.”

Some people are just heavy walkers. A few members of my wife’s family, through no fault of their own, sort of stomp around as they amble to and fro. Personally I think it’s because they bring their heels down too hard but what am I going to do, offer to reteach them how to maneuver on two feet?

The guy was here before you all and if you’ll be out within a half a year, I think you just have to live with it…UNLESS

If you make nice with the guy, reach a level of comfort where you can inoffensively ask, “Dude, what’s up with the three a.m. Irish step dancing?” you may be able to let him know that he might want to tread a little more lightly from time to time.

Barring that, you can’t really expect the guy to tiptoe around his flat.

And lastly, if plans change and you wind up staying there for longer than the six months, you could probably request an apartment change through your leasing office. Just a thought.

No way to talk to somebody about it without being a douche. Walking around in your own home is just something you do- you aren’t going to think about it or change how you do it. My downstairs neighbor once complained to my wife that she could hear me go to the bathroom in the middle of the night - Am I supposed to hold until you wake up ? So my vote is suck it up.

I really don’t think there is much you can say about it - as others have said, he has to walk!

It may be that you will get more used to it - if you haven’t had anyone walking around above your head for years, of course it’s going to be noticeable at first! I live in a home, and when I visited a friend who lives in an apartment I noticed every step above me for the first few days. After that, I hardly noticed it unless I was having a really bad bout of insomnia.

My rule of thumb with apartments is that if it is normal, day-to-day living noise (walking, crying baby, hearing the water in the pipes when they take a shower, etc.) that is my issue to deal with in my home. I can get earplugs or a white noise machine or something. If it goes beyond that (loud music at 5 a.m., screaming fights, huge parties, etc.) then I can ask them to please keep the noise down. In almost 10 years of apartment living I’ve only ever had to ask someone to keep the noise down once. This was loud music at 5 a.m. man and he initially didn’t take too kindly to the request but after that I haven’t heard his stereo since so mentioning it seems to have helped.

I’m now at a point where I am getting a little concerned about the fact that we are having a baby that is going to cry and I don’t want to keep my neighbors awake. I’ve purchased adorable foam padding that looks like a giant puzzle for the floor of the baby’s room and we are hoping to have a fairly content little one but otherwise I can’t figure out anything that might help keep the noise down for my neighbors. I feel like they should probably be a little understanding because it really can only be helped so much but I’d like to keep from disturbing them as much as possible.

Is he wearing hard-soled shoes? You could at least request that he change into slippers.

Is it an old building ? My landlord recently had to insulate the floor between my appartment and the unit downstairs for noise. Or he could be a heel to toe walker. Asking him to change his walking habits may be a tough sell. Since your just there temporarily maybe just bare with it.

I know my neighbours would like me to stop snoring. So would I but it ain’t going to happen. That reminds me I have to get that checked out since my father has sleep apnea.

Or you can buy duck feet and leave it at his door.

Thanks for the input all. Yeah, it’s probably not something that we can fix, the guy just walks heavily (although ironically, he looks like he might weigh 140 after a good meal). Aside from that, I never really hear him or the other neighbors, so I probably should be happy with that. The apartment building is probably only about 10 years old, but we did notice that they put very little padding under the carpets. If I do talk to him at all, it might be more about the 3:00 AM stuff than anything.

Back when I lived in apartments a lot, I had some incredibly loud and rude neighbors on occasion. One couple moved in and proceeded to have friends over with loud music starting at about midnight most nights. I’d go knock on the door and ask them to keep it down, and they’d give me the “oh, yeah, sorry” act, then proceed to crank it back up a half hour later. One night I just went straight to the main breaker box for the building and killed the power. Best night’s sleep I’d had in ages… Landlord kicked them out after all of the rest of us complained. Well, and after they stopped paying their rent. That last part probably had more influence over that decision.

It sounds to me that he’s not being an arsehole, its that the sound insulation is pretty crap.

I know this having been on both sides of the argument in the past.
I was genuinley surprised when I heard how loud it was when someone walked on my floor/his ceiling.

But three in the morning?, have a chat with him.

If he’s going to the toilet, you’ll just have to live with it.

If he’s just bored and insomniac then maybe he can amend his behaviour./

“Excuse me, could you not walk so loud?”

Yeah, that will end well…

Now, you’re suggesting that the OP ask him to wear slippers around the apartment? Wow…

Good advice.