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  • Story from Canada

    Hi,



    I found this forum from www.neighboursfromhell.com and since that forum had hardly any posts, I decided to post here.



    I live in a duplex in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



    I moved to this house, a duplex back in April. Even before I moved in, it has been nothing but trouble. In March my house was flooded due to the negligence of one of the builder's workers. My parents bought this place as an investment and before that I had been living in an apartment. Since they reside in Ontario (eastern Canada), I am staying here to take care of it. I live upstairs and use downstairs as an office and storage area. The neighbours live in the front half of the duplex. I live in the rear.



    The problems started in June sometime. I have one of those wireless doorbells for the side entrance. Every now and then, the doorbell would go off at different times of the day and when I went to answer it, no one was there. I figured out later that the neighbour at the front part of the duplex has the same type of doorbell and they probably found the frequency mine operated on.



    Beginning in the middle of July, they began to slam doors throughout the day. This is a wooden house. They rarely use brick here because there is the possibility of earthquakes and bricks do not stand up well to even a moderate quake (there was a small earthquake in a nearby US city about two years ago). Also using brick is more expensive. So you can imagine how the whole house vibrated when they slammed various doors. I spoke to two different people from next door twice about it, asking them to please not slam the doors. The second time I went over and spoke to one girl there, she claimed to not know what I was talking about but this man inside slammed the door loudly.



    They stopped slamming the doors but continued to make other types of noise. The living room floor is hardwood. They began to stomp on the floor, hit the walls. Again I went to speak to them, yelling at them at one point. They would stop temporarily, then begin again the next day or a couple of days after. They also made noise late at night, in the middle of the night and early in the morning.



    Eventually I called the owner/landlord of the front lot of the duplex. He apologized and said he would speak to them. This would only offer temporary solace. They would start up worse than before - set off their car alarm, let their dog off leash barking and would make more noise.



    A couple of times they came over to my place to ask me to show them how they were making the noise. The first time I did not answer. I know they were upset that I called the owner. I wasn't sure if the guy at the door was going to threaten me. I spoke to him later on when the noise got bad enough that I went over and rang their doorbell. The one girl there claimed there was noise coming from behind her place (ie. ME!). Again, they were quiet for awhile and not long after the noise started again. I phoned the owner yet again and you can imagine what happened. They also make noise at the wooden stairway outside at the side of the house leading up to their rooms. This stairway is next to the bedrooms.



    I have tried sleeping in different rooms of the house but it does not help. The sound they make reverberates throughout the house. They have apologized and even given me their phone numbers and ask me to call them instead of the owner. I have done that and they continued with their noise.



    I have tried calling the Residential Tenancy Office of the City Council and they cannot do anything about it because it involves two separate properties, although they are joined.



    I have also tried the noise complaint line of City Council and they said you must take it up with the strata council of your duplex, but there is no such council in this case.



    I figured that since they are here on student visas and they had been making noise throughout the day, they must not be attending school. I called immigration to complain and they said it is the SCHOOL's responsibility to tell them that a student is not attending class. The cruel irony is that I am an immigration lawyer. They cannot be deported unless they commit a serious crime.



    About a week ago I consulted a real estate agent about selling the place. My parents would lose money on it partly because I have not been here that long.



    They move things very late at night - midnight, sometimes 2:00 or 4:00 in the morning. They have no consideration for their neighbours. One weekend neighbours from the other side knocked at my door to talk to me about them. Apparently they complained to the owner/landlord as well.



    The last time I spoke to the neighbour the one guy complained about how much the owner/landlord was charging him for rent each month. Later on I came up with the idea that why don't I show him that there are cheaper places to rent, so I checked classified ads in the newspaper. I gave them a call and informed them. He asked for the ads I found (I marked the ones I thought would be attractive to him) and gave them to him. Later on he told me they would not be moving since they just moved back in lately (he has had friends move in and out of that place so that they can help share the cost of rent over the past several months). He said that since the lease is coming up due on Dec. 1, he may move out. They thanked me for the information and later the girl apologized for the noise they made. However, she also made the excuse that since they are students they can make some noise. I was incredulous.



    The night and the day after I called them to inform them of the cheaper places to rent, they were quiet. They start up with the noise again.



    My patience has run out because they acted up again last weekend after speaking to the owner. I complained to him about the moving in the middle of the night and the associated noise. I asked what is he going to do about it. He said that I guess I have to get them to leave and asked do you know of anyone that wants to rent?



    I've had enough. For well over two months I had difficulty sleeping. Often times they made noise every hour, sometimes beginning in the early morning, or late at night. They would drop something on the floor, hit a wall, etc. If I fell asleep, I would not be able to sleep long.



    Just the other day, I drafted a letter to the owner explaining to him his obligations as an owner and the obligations of his tenants and since this is a strata property, his obligations to the owners of this lot. I informed him of the things I have had to do to try to cope with the noise. I have seen a doctor to get a prescription for tranquilizers. He recommended customized ear plugs, which I was fitted for over a week ago. They should be arriving soon. The foam ear plugs that are common here do not filter out enough noise. One time I also obtained the keys to my uncle's office who is a doctor so that I could try to sleep on his examination table. One night when the noise got so bad, I went there to try to sleep. It was too hard so I came back to the duplex. I also told the owner in the letter how the noise has affected me physically, mentally and emotionally and since I work at home, I have trouble working and concentrating.



    I said to him that I have not decided whether to recover costs for all these various things and that it would depend upon the behaviour of him and his tenants. They must be of good behaviour up to and the day they leave. I told him that he no alternative other than to evict them since his calls did no use. I've already consulted a barrister who told me that I could sue him and the tenants/occupants for damages. I never wanted it to come this far, but i've been left with no choice.



    They've done other things as well, including placing garbage on the driveway and grass. Their driveway is next to mine, but separated by a wooden fence.



    I also warned the owner that any damage to the property, any harassment of myself are criminal offences and would be prosecuted and I would notify immigration as soon as possible in order to arrange for their removal from Canada.

    This last part was a bit of a scare tactic because this process actually takes awhile.



    The owner received the letter yesterday. He may or may not have informed them as they have been fairly quiet the past two days. Once he tells them that they have to leave, they may get much worse. I'm crossing my fingers that they don't.



    As you can see, I've tried practically everything I could before resorting to the threat of a lawsuit. The last thing I wanted to do was to provoke the neighbours. If they think they have to leave, there is practically nothing stopping them from making my life even more miserable by making more noise. Hopefully the threat of a lawsuit would make them think twice. They really enjoy tormenting me.







    Ed

  • #2
    Oh yes I forgot to mention.. one time when they were making noise at night, i phoned up the neighbour to ask him to be quiet. I told them where the noise was coming from (at the side with the wooden stairs). After that, they made noise again, stomping their feet on the floor. I hit the wall and yelled at them to quiet down. I called them again and ask them to stop. He then asked me can you please come over here to show me where is the noise? I said no, how can I show you when you stopped making it? He started yelling over the phone saying this is bull----. He said I will come over there and talk to you. He and his girlfriend or roommate come over and ring the doorbells. I don't answer. So now he and his girlfriend are screaming at me from outside my house (this is approximately 12:30 am) asking can you please show me the noise? Then he goes back to his place, hits the wall upstairs next to my living room and is yelling his head off. Not long after, I was looking outside and I saw a police car go down the street, stop then turn around and come up again. Apparently another neighbour called them.



    I'm not talking to them because the two times I went over to their place, they claimed to not know where the noise was coming from and even had the nerve to suggest that maybe I was dreaming it. They said maybe it came from the other neighbours. Well that is not possible when I feel the vibration associated with the noise.



    I do not see myself staying here for much longer, even if their landlord evicts them. I do not know what kind of tenants he will choose next. I hope he will choose more carefully otherwise he will get trouble from me. I am living in a light industrial area as well, so trucks going by cause alot of noise and I feel the vibration when they drive by.



    There is also an English as a Second Language school across the street. The kids who park at the side of my house often leave litter on the lawn. I've called the school already about this. People like to drive their cars fast down this street.







    Ed

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Ed - Ticktock



      Welcome to The forum here in Britain .



      I am sorry to read your story. It really sounds like you've been having a hard time after trying your best to stop things getting so bad :sad: .



      The first thing that sprung to my mind was that you must have some recourse to either the state (or equivalent) law or a private lawsuit. But from what you say, this sounds kind of complicated.



      We have the means to go to court to get a judge to slap an order on someone to stop causing a nuisance, I presume you'll have the same.



      We also have local government departments that can deal with noise which is deemed to be a 'statutory' nuisance.



      Whatever you have, I'd think that this advice would be sound: to keep a record of every incident. There is a resource sheet on this site for logging noise nuisance - you should log the date, time, nature of the noise and how long it lasts. You should also remark on how it made you feel or affected you. This info will be essential to any action that's taken.



      It seems a shame to have to go to these extremes though - why can't they just tone it down? Everyone can expect to hear limited 'reasonable' day to day noise, but what you describe can't be seen as such :sad: .



      To take a lawsuit costs so much money, I'd avoid it like the plague! :blink:



      It seems to me from other comments you have made that you wouldn't necessarily be happy there long term with all the other irritations in the neighbourhood (traffic, litter, noise). Even if the current tenants went tomorrow, you'll have to worry of who will move in next and will they be any worse? (hopefully not, but the doubt is always there :unsure: ).



      I would definitely look to move.



      Perhaps your folks could rent it out rather than sell up and lose money? Is this a possibility? That would free you up to go elsewhere and rent ( I assume you have an income to do this as I am not sure how difficult it is to rent in your area). Then you could get away from these factors that are impinging on your life so much.



      I wouldn't normally suggest anyone should move away, but in view of the overall environment you find yourself in, you may still be unhappy even with quiet neighbours.



      If you do stay put, take the advice of the lawyers. Perhaps after the shock of the initial letter, they'll shut up - quite a lot of NFH's do calm down when they realise things are getting a bit serious, so you may find it works this way for you!



      I think others here will be along very soon with better help & advice than I can give!



      Best of luck & let us know how you get on



      Mazza



      :nfh1:

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Ed and welcome to the forum



        Hmm, seems two things, at least, are common to UK and Canada: noisy students and NFH



        I'm afraid I don't know anything about Canadian law so all I can offer is my sympathy Even if your present NFH move out you have no guarantee that another lot of noisy students won't move in I'd like to see a law where neighbours of rented property have a say in who the landlord rents to :P



        It's also a pity that the college they are attending don't do something about them bringing that establishment into disrepute. Have you thought about recording the noise they make and playing it back to them and threatening to do the same with the college? Or writing a letter to the local paper complaining about student disorder?



        I wish I could think of something that might REALLY help, but I can't right now. Hopefully the landlord will take your threats of legal action seriously and take some positive action of his own.



        Good luck



        Misty
        "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Ed and welcome



          There's not much I can say that hasn't already been suggested about these NFH, but maybe you could ask the landlord of the property if he would have carpet put on the floors, before the next tenants were to move in.



          It sounds as though, as somebody has already said, you have more than just one issue here. Maybe it would be a good idea for your parents to rent the property to someone, and you find somewhere more suitable to your needs. Working from a home next to an NFH is always a pain in the backside, and quite honestly, the landlord doesn't really know if the people he moves in are NFH, until it's too late. So this could happen all over again...not saying that it will though.



          Sorry that I can't be of more help to you, but good luck and take care.



          Tri

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for all the replies and the warm welcomes.



            The Residential Tenancy Office that I called IS the provincial authority. The problem is that I am living on something called a strata property - basically one property that is divided into two lots with separate owners. This is why the tenants of the _other_ lot are not covered under the Residential Tenancy Act of this province. However, the Strata Property Act holds the tenants and occupants of a strata lot accountable for disturbing the use and enjoyment of owners, occupants and tenants of a *neighbouring* strata lot. So this is the law I am relying upon. It states that where there is a contravention in a bylaw of a strata property (e.g. disturbing use and enjoyment) entitles an owner to apply the Residential Tenancy Act provisions allowing for the termination of notice of the tenancy agreement.



            Here, termination of a tenancy for cause (as in this case) is one month. Their lease is also due on Dec. 1. I also enclosed a one-page and a half list of incidents with dates and times. I had the letter signed by two other neighbours who were also fed up with the noise. Hopefully this is enough to convince him to either not renew the lease or to give them the one month notice to end the tenancy.



            I've been documenting the incidents since late July. I have about 5 pages worth of material. There is something that happens almost daily.



            I spoke to an acoustic consultant a couple of months ago about this situation when there was the problem with the door-slamming. They explained how this causes the vibration and sound to travel from the neighbour's place to mine. About noise caused by other things, I think a big reason is due to how the house was built. I don't think the builder used enough soundproofing material in the floors and walls.



            You guys are right - even if these tenants move out, the next tenants that come in may be just as bad or worse. If that is the case, I don't see how I could get my parents to even rent out the place. I think people would stay for a month or two, get sick of the noise and then leave.



            I think the place will have to be sold eventually.



            About suing for nuisance - actually I got the idea from this forum! This forum and site is a great source of info!





            Thanks again for all the support!





            Ed

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Ed and welcome to the Forum



              Sounds like there's noisy neighbours from hell all over the world - sadly :sad: . Sorry to hear that yours are making your life difficult.



              It sounds like you have done everything right so far, and it's good to hear that you have other supportive neighbours living near you who are also suffering in the same way as you - it's always good to have other people on your side.



              Hopefully you'll have noticed already that this Forum is a really good support network, we're always around whenever you're feeling down or want to check something out. If you ever want to rant about your neighbours, you can always pop in to Ranters Corner.



              Do you have anything in Canada that's the equivalent of our Mediation Service? That may be something to try?



              Anyway, take care and let us know how you're getting on.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hello Ticktock



                From the description of the property you live in, I think you would have to be either deaf or more tolerant or have a silent but deaf/tolerant neighbour.

                Complaints can often, if they don't work instantly, only worsen and acrimonise a situation. It doesn't sound as if your neighbours are truly evil people. You could end up with far worse neighbours than these students.



                Sorry I can't be more encouraging, but it's highly unlikely you'll ever gain sufficient control over your neighbourhood to alter things to your complete satisfaction. Have you considered looking at any detatched properties?



                Good luck.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Ed,



                  I'm completely with Homer on this one.



                  From the way you have described your situation, it sounds like it's the set up of your building that is causing the main problems. I don't really think that a change of neighbour will completely resolve the situation.



                  I also don't think that threatening to arrange their "removal from Canada" is a smart move either (even if it was just a scare tactic). To the students, it will just look as if you are trying to throw your weight around. Threats like this (which are largely meaningless) will often only result in making a bad situation worse.



                  I wish you luck and hope that you do find some peace very soon



                  Blue Cow

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Homer@Oct 6 2003, 3:28 AM

                    Hello Ticktock



                    From the description of the property you live in, I think you would have to be either deaf or more tolerant or have a silent but deaf/tolerant neighbour.

                    Complaints can often, if they don't work instantly, only worsen and acrimonise a situation.* It doesn't sound as if your neighbours are truly evil people.* You could end up with far worse neighbours than these students.



                    Sorry I can't be more encouraging, but it's highly unlikely you'll ever gain sufficient control over your neighbourhood to alter things to your complete satisfaction.* Have you considered looking at any detatched properties?



                    Good luck.
                    "From the description of the property you live in, I think you would have to be either deaf or more tolerant or have a silent but deaf/tolerant neighbour.

                    Complaints can often, if they don't work instantly, only worsen and acrimonise a situation. It doesn't sound as if your neighbours are truly evil people. You could end up with far worse neighbours than these students."



                    They aren't truly evil but they enjoy irritating me. Twice in the last several days they closed doors loudly, one day at 3 am in the morning and another time at 5:00 am. They are very inconsiderate. I told them about how I am living in the bedroom above their garage. I know they know what they are doing - because after I complain to the owner, they behave for awhile and do not do these things. However, not long afterwards they act up again, sometimes worse.



                    I've gone to talk to them to explain that if they walk normally inside, it isn't a problem. I know because there is a similar setup in my place. So they are stomping their feet to make the noise. It's a game to them.





                    "Sorry I can't be more encouraging, but it's highly unlikely you'll ever gain sufficient control over your neighbourhood to alter things to your complete satisfaction. Have you considered looking at any detatched properties?"



                    I don't care so much about the noise from other sources. I just want my neighbours to be more considerate at the wee hours of the morning so I can get some bl**dy sleep. :sad:



                    You know, the first two months I was here, I did not have problems from them. Then they started doing little things, then the slamming of the doors very hard. Once I complained, it made it worse because they knew they got to me and made other noise. :angry:





                    Ed

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ticktock@Oct 6 2003, 10:19 PM

                      I just want my neighbours to be more considerate at the wee hours of the morning so I can get some bl**dy sleep.** :sad:



                      Once I complained, it made it worse because they knew they got to me and made other noise.* * :angry:



                      I agree Ticktock, it is just so unfair that people can't be more considerate. And it's really not much to ask is it? Plus, it doesn't cost anything either to show a little courtesy.



                      Your last comment there is so true, and a common characteristic of NFH. Once they know what gets you, they'll carry on doing it. If they're told that that type of behaviour is a statutory nuisance, they'll stop doing that and find something else to do that's equally annoying but harder to prove is a statutory nuisance.



                      :rant:



                      Hopefully you have got some other ideas from other members suggestions Ticktock?



                      Take care and good luck. Keep letting us know how you're getting on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Blue Cow@Oct 6 2003, 5:20 AM

                        From the way you have described your situation, it sounds like it's the set up of your building that is causing the main problems. I don't really think that a change of neighbour will completely resolve the situation.



                        I also don't think that threatening to arrange their "removal from Canada" is a smart move either (even if it was just a scare tactic). To the students, it will just look as if you are trying to throw your weight around. Threats like this (which are largely meaningless) will often only result in making a bad situation worse.



                        I wish you luck and hope that you do find some peace very soon



                        Blue Cow
                        I know part of the problem is the way the house is built.



                        I only started making threats because nothing else was working. I've tried being nice to them and as it is in life, most of the time, nice guys finish last.



                        Someone else mentioned mediation. Well we don't have free community mediation here. You have to pay for mediators. Also it's totally voluntary. Why would the tenants participate in this when they have not cooperated in other ways, when I have asked nicely? They are not obligated to attend.



                        Why should I pay - when I am the victim here. The thing is alot of mediators charge as much as a lawyer. So I rather put more pressure on the owner to evict them. I don't know whether he has done it yet - he has to serve them with notice.



                        I hope I don't have to start a lawsuit to get the owner to do something. I'm prepared to do it though and get an injunction to stop. If he tells me he isn't going to renew their lease, I won't start it.



                        If he will simply not renew their lease when it expires on Dec. 1, I'd be willing to tolerate them until that time. If Dec 1 comes and they are still there, I will be the one moving.



                        I'm looking at selling the damn place.



                        Thanks for listening and offering your input. I apologize if I have a bit of an edge to my post (this also goes to the guy who posted before you), but I don't mean to direct it at you. I'm just very frustrated and tired from interrupted sleep.



                        They've really gotten to me - they are very lucky I do not have a baseball bat or gun - I would have taken care of them already. However as my gf told me, it would really screw up our future together and they wouldn't be worth going to prison for.





                        Ed

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Ed



                          Have you had any response to your letter to the landlord as yet?? I wonder if he's said anything to the students yet, as they don't seem to have quietened.



                          Fingers crossed that he says something soon....



                          Take care



                          Blue Cow

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hollygolightly@Oct 6 2003, 2:30 PM

                            Your last comment there is so true, and a common characteristic of NFH. Once they know what gets you, they'll carry on doing it. If they're told that that type of behaviour is a statutory nuisance, they'll stop doing that and find something else to do that's equally annoying but harder to prove is a statutory nuisance.





                            :rant:



                            Hopefully you have got some other ideas from other members suggestions Ticktock?



                            Take care and good luck. Keep letting us know how you're getting on.*
                            Exactly!



                            They will be quiet for a short while, then test me. The noise is not enough for other neighbours to hear (except when they stomp on the floor - I heard that a couple of times when I was outside of the house), but I can hear it due to the way this house is built. They like to see how far they can push me.



                            Yes the members here have been helpful. I've thought about a detached dwelling but due to the high cost of houses here and the possibility I may end up with another NFH so I don't think that is such a great idea.



                            I think that moving back into my old apartment is a very real possibility. There was a good manager there who dealt with problem tenants very quickly and who was very helpful. I've thought about bigger apartments (that is one big reason why I moved in the first place - the place was too small for all my things) but I don't know whether they are run as well as the old one.



                            Thank you so much for your support.









                            Take care,

                            Ed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Ed



                              You're girlfriend is completely right. It's bad enough that these people are affecting your health and making your daily living a nightmare :angry: You don't want to allow them to push you to do anything outside of the law. S*d's Law (that's a British term!) says that it would probably be you that ends up being punished, and the people that are really causing the problem would probably end up getting off scott free.



                              It does seem like you are having more luck with the landlord than with the students directly Is there any way in finding out if he is going to extend the lease on Dec 1st. Your most recent letter may make him think twice.



                              Good luck



                              Blue Cow

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