Neighborly Diplomacy in HOAs: A Follow-up Blog

The following is a follow-up blog to “How to Be a Diplomatic Neighbor,” the first blog written by CAP Management’s office Administrator Samira Yasmin.

This time, we look at the problem of neighborly difficulties through her position as a resident of a dense, multi-family apartment building and consider similar situations in HOAs.

Tulips

I recently have written my very first blog for CAP Management; titled “How to be a Diplomatic Neighbor.” This topic for writing did not come out of thin air. I recently moved to Capitol Hill; a dense, urban neighborhood located just southeast of Downtown Denver. I moved from a house in a suburban neighborhood – quiet, dark and spacious – to an apartment that is much smaller and comes with neighbors who are less than favorable. This is my first experience living in the city and, living in this apartment, I am quickly learning the challenges that come with it. Let me explain:

Last night I was sound asleep until I was awoken by my neighbors above me. This is not the first time this has happened, and I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last. They like to party, and judging by the days they like to do it, I am guessing they don’t have the typical ‘9-5’ schedule that I do. It is so frustrating because they tend to party quite late into the night. It’s not just the talking, but the slamming of cabinets, the music and the stomping around. I know that my neighbors are slender people, but you’d imagine they each weigh 400 pounds from the way they walk across the floor! So here I am, it’s 1:12am and I am lying awake frustrated to no end that I can’t sleep due to their good time. I’m noticing that my temper is beginning to flare. I’m trying so hard to sleep but to no avail. Instead, I find myself thinking about the related blog I wrote a week prior.

How do I go about approaching my neighbors so I don’t come off as that uptight neighbor below (because I’m really not!) but rather get them to realize that they are causing me so much distress?

“Easier said than done when you are angry and sleep deprived.”

In my previous blog, I noted that you should not take your neighbors’ actions personally (as they probably maintain no constant awareness of you), and that you should not approach them as if it were personal. Easier said than done when you are angry and sleep deprived. I could get up and knock on their door. Though, the first time I met this neighbor was via a 4:00am knock on the door. (I had to knock three times before they even heard me over the noise!). He opened the door, barely acknowledged me or gave me chance to say anything and instantly dismissed me by saying “we will quiet down,” and then closed the door. Lying awake this time, I found myself thinking about what I would say if I went up there and he dismissed me again and how angry it would make me. I could do this, though I don’t want neighbors who dislike me because they could then do things to personally bug me out of spite (i.e. turn it personal). I could write them a letter, though that could be tricky to write without coming off as condescending or otherwise offensive. Plus, it seems passive aggressive which is not my style – nor that of a diplomatic neighbor.

Although similar to many complaints I hear in the HOA management world, my situation differs because I rent in an apartment building, rather than in a condominium association. Therefore, I unfortunately do not have a management company who could issue a violation to get the point across when discussions fail (clearly not habit of the owner/operator of my building) – a perk owners in HOAs should appreciate! While I know diplomacy is the best policy in this situation, but, in all truthfulness, I am struggling with how to go about being diplomatic. So I ask, how would you go about it?

In this case, I eventually put on my headphones and listened to soft music until I fell asleep (if I had to listen to noise I preferred this over the party upstairs). The clock read 2:59am when I finally decided to put the head phones in. They stole three hours of sleep from me and as a result, I am groggy even while writing this…

Experienced homeowners and renters out there: I’m sure you’ve experienced something comparable yourself. What has worked for you? What didn’t? I’d love to hear your responses. The better versed I am in the matter, the better I can help HOA residents in situations similar to my own.

-Samira Yasmin, frustrated neighbor