B.N. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I feel I am being unfairly singled out by the Property Manager at my building. I work second shift and don’t get home until after midnight. I like to relax and watch TV before I go to bed, usually around 2:00 a.m.. My next door neighbor has been complaining about the noise from my apartment keeping her awake at night so she has called the Property Manager who has called me and threatened to fine me if I do not stop watching the TV at night. I don’t think anyone else is being asked to do this so why should I be the only one who is getting harassed?
Mister Condo replies:
B.N., who doesn’t want to relax and blow off a little steam at the end of a long day at work? In America, that usually means watching TV. The problem here is that your lifestyle is incompatible with your fellow condo residents who have a reasonable expectation to peaceable enjoyment of their units as do you. For most associations, 10:00 p.m. is “quiet time” meaning loud noises must be avoided. Check your condo documents for the rules in your community but it is likely that they exist if the Property Manager is threatening to fine you for noise disturbance. Watching your television isn’t the problem, it is the sound waves vibrating from your TV through your walls that is causing a problem for your neighbor (even at a normal or low volume). If you’re like me, watching TV with the sound down low isn’t that enjoyable. However, there are some pretty good compromises I encourage you to consider. The easiest solution is headphones. If you have your TV connected to your stereo system, simply use headphones to listen to your television. The sound will be crystal clear and you will disturb no one. You can even get wireless headphones that sound terrific. There is also a device called TV Ears which works in a similar fashion. You can find them online at Amazon.com among other retailers. Same idea – you hear the sound but no one else has to. This is another practical solution.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t sound like you are being singled out. It sounds like you just need to think like a person who sleeps while you are working or relaxing after work. You wouldn’t want loud neighbors in the middle of the night and neither do your neighbors. I always say the best way to have good neighbors is to be one. Go ahead, make the first step. Good luck!