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Author Topic: Bring it on Crazy Lady!
Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I have posted about our neighbour before, but as a quick summary:

Mr Embra and I are trying to buy a house. It's a big modern maisonette with massive South facing windows and a stunning view. We are currently renting the house in the hope we can go ahead with the purchase sometime soon.

Sadly, the neighbour is as mad as a box of frogs. She apparently has unlimited time on her hands to compose threatening letters in pseudo-legalese.

About 2 months ago we had some friends round to see the place and have dinner. The neighbour came up at about 8pm to yell at us because the friends' kids were making a noise: we thought fair enough, and apologised. About 3 weeks after that we got a letter accusing us of "continually banging about", and referring back to the Evil Twin (TM) incident. We could only assume the rest of the complaint was about us doing totally unreasonable things like shutting windows and doors, eating with cutlery, that kind of thing.

Anyway, last night we got another letter from her. This is our “final written warning” as we are now apparently deliberately harassing her. Funnily enough the cause of this outburst was our having the same family round for dinner (this time with two aged grannies in tow – damn those punk rockers, The Inkspots). The next step will be to get ASBOs against us, and the Seller, and his wife. The Seller (our landlord) has asked the police to come and have a wee word with her about noise nuisance and what ASBOs are actually for. Sigh.

The thing that annoys me most is that she probably is hearing us moving around, and it probably is annoying her. She cares for her elderly mother, who is by all accounts pretty unwell. As I’ve said before, I have lived downstairs in a badly insulated flat, and perfectly innocent actions by our neighbours did sound like Chipperfields Circus on moving day. But we are not throwing wild parties on the balcony (not until the sun comes out anyway [Wink] ) and we are not holding ceilidhs in the hall. This is not sheltered housing or a nursing home.

I know we’re going to be advised not to consider buying the place even if it were the last house in England. But why should she get to bully us out of town? As far as I’m aware she’s got a long history of this kind of behaviour, but she’s never once brought a case of any kind. Part of me says, “bring it on, Crazy Lady!”

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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What's an ASBO? Is it like a US "restraining order," which can be used to prevent Person A from contacting, or getting within a certain physical distance of, Person B?

There's no reason she should be able to bully you out of town, but IMO, that's not the real question. The real question is, are you willing to put up with her craziness in order to buy your place? If so, I agree: bring it on, crazy lady! But if she's going to make your life miserable, I don't think you should buy the place just for the sake of not getting pushed around.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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vanilla
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Right now, it sounds as if her letters could be seen as a form of harrassment and you could turn around and charge her.

You say you are going to be purchasing the flat, is it possible to set up a time with her when you have people over to sit with her (and hopefully the landlord) in her flat so you can hear the offensive noises? Then, if you agree with her that the noise levels are too loud, the two of you could split the cost to insulate the ceiling/floor between your two homes. This might be the only polite way to settle the problem without turning the problem into a full on war between you and her, which I'm sure you do not want considering you will be living with her for some time.

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I swear, it was funnier in my head.
Yeah, I used to be pink. vanilla_pink.

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Para
Deck the Malls


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All I can think is that this neighbor may not be in the best of mental health. If she's caring full-time for her ill elderly mother, she's probably constantly a little on edge and the slightest thing sets her off. Being the constant caregiver to someone elderly really frays the nerves.

Plus she could be a bit jealous. You guys have friends and family coming to visit you, and she may not and be subconsciously looking to fault you for her unhappiness.

Or, as you say, she could just be crazy.

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"But what of the golden spider-duck and the squat crimson pig?"

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forcadragons
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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ASBO : Anti Social Behaviour Order.

Normally given out to teenage hooligans.

Edit: Link to Wikipedia article

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We're sorry to bother you at such a time like this, Mrs. Twice. We would have come earlier, but your husband wasn't dead then.

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Darth Mikey
Deck the Malls


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Have a small party and invite the woman and her mother over. Sole Caregivers often are stressed out physically and emotionally. Or at the very least take two plates of food over, say if you're cooking on the grill or whatnot.

Like someone else said, maybe she feels lonely and left out.

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Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.

-Rat Thing B782

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Unfortunately it seems to have got beyond the "quiet chat" stage, otherwise that would have been my first thought. I don't want to give her any reaction at all: if we were the owners of this place I would ignore her letters completely (Mr Embra suggests a "loony bin" by the door, where we can drop them as they arrive).

If this is something she's going to do every month or so (i.e. whenever we have the temerity to have guests over - see, we're not real party monsters!) then I can probably cope with it. If she does persuade some shonky solicitor to represent her in a nuisance case then I would be really ticked off.

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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From the brief chronology you gave, there may never have been a "quiet chat" stage.

Good luck, Embra.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Looking down the road to purchase, is there anything you can realistically do to keep things quieter for your neighbour in the way of sound insulation?

Maybe even some thick carpeting with a good underpad just as a start?

I too have been the downstairs neighbour and I know that sometimes noises that really don't seem loud to you upstairs are very intrusive to the person downstairs.

That said - yep, your neighbour sounds nuts!

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Phaedra
Jingle Bell Hock


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I can appreciate why you don't want to be driven out of a home you love Embra but it may be worth thinking about the potential for this situation to escalate.
I fear that this womans behaviour is likely to get worse rather than better. People with this personality style often become more vigorous in the behaviours you describe rather than less as they get older and it can make life a misery for all concerned. They are also notoriously difficult to reason with.

It can also be difficult to sell a property on if things escalate to police visits and formal complaints about noise etc.

Do you really want to be the focus of such negative attention and forever limited to tiptoeing about and shushing your guests?

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PallasAthena
Xboxing Day


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I am a little confused here. Is this a house (as in single family stand-alone) or a flat (as in people live above/next-to/below?

If it's a stand alone house, I would be seriously weirded out that she was listening through the windows. If it's a flat, I'd try soundproofing, but I would SERIOUSLY reconsider buying it. Of course if it was a deal you just can't pass up...

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"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about." --Ray Nagin

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Orpheum
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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How old is she?

Any chance you can outlast her? You know - put up with it for the year or two it'll take for your clomping around to drive her completely bat-guano forcing her to head to the nutfarm (or heavens forbid, the mortuary)?

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A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

Willy Wonka

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2ys4u
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Am I the only one thinking of this movie?


I feel your pain.. it sucks to have horrible neighbors.

GL with it!

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"Guns and butter."

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RingKeeper
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by 2ys4u:
Am I the only one thinking of this movie?

That's the first thing I thought of, too! [Smile]

I was also wondering what kind of house it is. I'm assuming she lives in an apartment downstairs.

I don't really have much advice. I will say, as a totally non-confrontational person, that there comes a time when confrontation is necessary. If it continues you can just let her know that you understand her frustrations, but you are perfectly within your rights to entertain guests. Write it up in semi-legaleze.

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There are just some things a dog can't explain to a monkey.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Just ignore her and go on with business as usual. Has worked for over a decade for me.

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/Troberg

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Darth Mikey
Deck the Malls


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You could always send her a batch of fresh cookies. Here's one of my favorite recipes:


CAT POOP COOKIES


[Big Grin]

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Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.

-Rat Thing B782

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Dogwater
Happy Holly Days


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Hey, I love crazy neighbors. You always have something to talk about or do!

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As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

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quiltsbypam
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:
(snip) If she does persuade some shonky solicitor to represent her in a nuisance case then I would be really ticked off.

What about a nuisance case by you? This does sound rather like harassment. It might be a pre-emptive strike. If some form of soundproofing doesn't work. But either way, you might want to keep a log of every exchange and letter, so if a suit is brought by her, you can show how she's harassed you. Either way, good luck with that.

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"No Biblical hell could ever be worse than the state of perpetual inconsequence." Beatrice in Dangerous Beauty

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Venus
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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KEEP THE LETTERS! Nothing beats a papertrail.
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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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The house is a bit of an unusual construction: there are about 14 properties in a terraced block. From the road, you can see the top floors, so the place looks rather like a row of terraced bungalows. We enter our house and have living room, kitchen and dining room at street level. We go downstairs to our bedrooms and bathroom, which take up half the floor area of the upper level. Our neighbour's house interlocks with ours so that she goes down a flight of steps to her front door, and her entrance hall and bedrooms are on the same level as our downstairs, directly under our dining room and kitchen. She goes downstairs again to reach her living room etc. The block is built into a hill so that by the time you're at the back of the house, you're looking out at a nice downhill view. Does that make sense?!

Darth Mikey, you are a very kind person, and we will do our best to absorb her with kindness, but I don't want to start any kind of relationship with her. Although there are some bits and bobs we may improve in the way of sound insulation, I don't want to feel under an obligation to be responsible for the noise she hears, as long as it arises from us doing bring reasonable things. We already avoid being in the dining room after 9pm as it's over her bedroom. But I don't want to tiptoe around - we have a responsibility to behave reasonably, and not to play loud music after 11, but I don't want to give her the idea that we will do whatever she wants to provide nursing-home conditions for her mother. I wonder if her neighbours on the other side have been similarly bothered with letters...

Phaedra, you're right of course - we have been advised by most people not to touch the place, mainly because of the difficulty of resale. As far as I know she has never made any formal complaints about anything - the letters seem to fulfil her need to deal with things. In fact, our landlord has contacted the police because of her history, but I don't know if anything will come of it. I'm interested that you think she may get worse as time goes on - that's certainly something to think about...

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
KEEP THE LETTERS! Nothing beats a papertrail.
Good advice. Any hard evidence is good, unless, of course, it points an accusing finger at you. If it becomes nasty, hard evidence always beats "...but she said..." and "...but she did...".

quote:
Does that make sense?!
Not really, except that you have some common walls and floors/ceilings, which I guess was pretty much the point.

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/Troberg

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Darth Mikey
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:
...Darth Mikey, you are a very kind person...

Well, not exactly. My initial response was to suggest a calculated campaign of harrassment, gauranteed to drive her completely insane while providing entertainment for yourself and your party guests. All captured on video of course.

However for legal reasons I figured I better not post that.

But thanks for saying that anyway! [Razz]

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Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.

-Rat Thing B782

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Not really, except that you have some common walls and floors/ceilings, which I guess was pretty much the point.
True [Smile]

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Neffti Noel
We Three Blings


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Embra, it sounds rotten.

Is your landlord prepared to elaborate for you about exactly what happened in the past to lead him/her to involve the police? People often contact the police to log what they consider to be harassment, either to let off some steam "officially" or to ensure a log is kept for reference should things escalate (I know this because I used to take these calls myself and I often had the impression the caller just wanted to let it be known that they had contacted the police, rather than insist on any action). However, informing the police that your neighbour is annoying you is not the same thing as the police actively getting involved. If your landlord has had occassion for the latter, I would be concerned about that and want more details (although he may not be under any legal obligation to fill you in).

Could this actually be an existing feud between your neighbour and your landlord, which you are caught in the middle of? That is, does she not want to let your landlord have the pleasure of a trouble-free tenancy/guaranteed buyer for the flat? If so, it could just be possible that once you own the place and your landlord is out of the picture, she'll simmer down.

Just another possible angle to think about! Apart from that, I'd say - beware of the bitter bonkers bint.

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I don't want to be too hard on the lady (btw, thanks for the PM, Phaedra [Smile] ), but the landlord has called the police himself on a previous occasion. Personally I don't know if I would adopt this tactic - she seems not to follow through on any of her own threates and I wouldn't want to escalate things or give any support to feelings she may have of persecution.

We know WAY too much about the landlord's previous gripes with her: she has previously complained that she can hear the noise of the toilet for example, and when the landlord's wife was pregnant (and using the toilet more often than usual) she took to banging on her ceiling to protest. The council's environmental team came out and apprarently performed all sorts of "simulations" (!) to assess the noise, and concluded that although the toilet is audible in her flat, it's nothing new and is just a feature of the block's design.

At the moment the best response to her seems to be to ignore anything that doesn't come from a solicitor or the Court (and, as I say, nothing formal like that has ever reached us). Any future response would then be based on the fact that she has no evidence of what she is alleging.

Beautiful view of sunlight through raindrops from the flat on Sunday to compensate!

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Be sure not to overlook the range of solutions available via hired goons - for a fair hourly rate, two or three goons could knock her on the head, roll her up in a carpet and dump her head first into an abandoned exploration shaft [lol]

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Phaedra
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
Be sure not to overlook the range of solutions available via hired goons - for a fair hourly rate, two or three goons could knock her on the head, roll her up in a carpet and dump her head first into an abandoned exploration bore [lol]

[lol] [lol]

Location of suitable abandoned bore holes availailable from Jay Tea for a negotiable fee perchance? [Wink]

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Ssshhh...you'll expose my sideline. And the fee's non-negotiable.

 -

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Tarquin Farquart
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
Be sure not to overlook the range of solutions available via hired goons

I love the personal touch you get with hired goons...

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I shall baffle you with cabbages and rhinoceroses in the kitchen and incessant quotations from "Now We Are Six" through the mouthpiece of Lord Snooty's giant poisoned electric head. So there!

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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What I can't understand is why she hasn't moved herself long since! If she has had noise problems with every owner or tenant then, by now, she should have realized that the problem is not the people upstairs - it is that there are any people at all upstairs.

I wouldn't want to live somewhere where I could hear my neighbours toilets flushing. Where every normal household noise is perfectly audible. I can certainly see someone not being happy about that.

But, and this is where the crazy lady part comes in, for her to continue to live there and complain, about perfectly acceptable non-negotiable noises, is nuts!

If anyone should move it should be her. She truly is (if she isn't already) going to drive herself crazy living like this.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
She truly is (if she isn't already) going to drive herself crazy living like this.

It sounds to me as if she's already somewhat off-kilter, and she enjoys it - why would she move?

I think anybody willing to devote so much time and energy into being such a needless pain in the arse has got to being doing it out of love...

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Phaedra
Jingle Bell Hock


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It would make no difference if she moved Christie. The complaints are a manifestation of her paranoid personality style. The mistake often made with these unfortunate souls is to take the complaint at face value...it is in fact a vehichle for her to express her distorted thinking and that will go with her wherever she goes.

My sister has become increasingly paranoid over the last decade and is endlessly complaining about her neighbours. Currently she is in dispute with the people next door in a house she has in France. She is unshakeably convinced that they chose roof tiles in a colour they knew she would find offensive and is trying to evoke some non existent French planning law to get them to change it. Absolutely barking poor love. [Frown]

She also gets very antsy about her English neighbours over stuff they plant etc. At least they only have to put up with her for six months of each year.

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