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TROUBLESHOOTER / Neighbor’s complaints over noise are causing strain

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a male public servant in my 30s. I’m worried about noise trouble. I moved to housing for public workers with my wife and three children. The day after we started living there, my wife received a complaint from a family downstairs, saying, “Your footsteps were noisy.”

We laid down mats and tatami in our unit and strictly told our children not to make noise. However, we received a complaint again the following day. The family downstairs has a child, and when we received the complaint, we were told that their child was taking a nap. I hear a family who used to live in our unit before also received complaints from the family downstairs.

In addition, an email came from my boss, who knows the family downstairs, saying that it would be better to apologize to them because they say they will call the police.

My wife, who has become upset when our children run even a little at home, became mentally worn down and cried aloud. My wife’s feelings are the top priority, but it would be very frustrating just to move out.

How should we deal with this situation?

R

Dear Mr. R:

This kind of consultation has become common with the spread of collective housing, but it has been increasing more in recent years. Moreover, it seems that complaints from residents on lower floors have become intense.

I am wondering with sadness when we began to lose our warm gaze toward children. Children grow up while playing around energetically. If you look back on your own childhood, it is the way it was for everyone. I hope the relationship between your family and the family downstairs will improve in such a way that you can diligently offer daily greetings, and have conversations along the lines of “I’m afraid I’m bothering you” and “The blame is on both sides.”

However, unfortunately it is also true that there are some people who are extraordinarily bothered by the noise of children, and often in recent cases ordinary solutions do not work. The family downstairs seems to be that type, because in fact they made a similar complaint about the family who previously lived in your unit.

Is it possible to get your boss to properly understand these circumstances and ask them for countermeasures? It may be an idea to switch your unit with that of the family downstairs.

Otherwise, I think it is best to move out if your economic circumstances allow. Further soundproofing measures will be difficult, and I can’t stand to hear of your wife and children being frightened.

Masami Ohinata, university president

(from March 5, 2109, issue)Speech

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