Unless you live in a farm sorrounded by cattle, sheep or rolling meadows, having neighbours close by is a part of urban life.
This is even more if you live in an inner suburb where houses are very close to each other, and in my case even share a wall.
I actually liked this aspect of living. As someone that has grown up in apartments, I felt strange when we lived in a quarter acre block house in Sydney, being disconnected. When we went to live in Carlton in a terrace I felt confortable. I liked going to bed knowing that on the other side of the wall there was another person or family. It gave me a sense of connectedness. However this work if people know the consequences of how behaviour would impact on your neighbours.
After 32 years of living in the inner suburbs I must say that I have been pretty lucky. Of course there have been occasions where someone next door had a party which went on late, but that is to be expected you are not living in a monastery after all.
But my luck has run out. I finally have the neighbours from hell.
Firstly a bit of background. The house next door is owned by someone who lives overseas and I think is on a short term contract. She has plans to renovate the place (which is a bit run down) and we saw the plans and we were OK with it. There was a long term tenant which we hardly saw, which is fine. But the lease was terminated because the owner wanted to start the renovations.
These should have been started almost two years ago. But because either the owner of the house is having her work contract extended, or she hasn’t made her mind up there have been a succession of tenants who are on short six months leases.
As a house owner I am not going to be disparaging on renters (heaven forbid!) But I have come to realise that people who have been given six months to rent a place may have a different approach on the place where they live. Can I venture that their sense of commitment is not as great?
Before the current crop we had a bunch of French backpackers which had their moments. Being fancy free, uncommitted and with lots of dope being smoked they tended to have a very fluid concept of days and nights. Sometimes they would talk loudly in the middle of the night, or play music. It was not that often. But overall it was OK.
Then they fixed up their kombi and at the start of winter they went. Probably to warmer climes in the north. For a few weeks the place was empty, we saw the real estate agent outside the house showing potential renters and we got a feeling that it wasn’t easy to find someone for just six months.
Anyway one day we saw these guys move in. As I was locking up my bike they started they introduced themselves. They were these four guys in their 20’s, all kiwis and very friendly. After being ingnored by the stoned French backpackers was nice to have neighbours that actually acknowledge you. They were mechanics/tradesmen, which was good according to my partner as they would have to leave early for work, so no more ‘fluid’ times as the previous occupants had.
The next weekend they had a house warming party, which is fair enough. We were actually amused at the fact that we saw a van which had ‘kegs on wheels’ written on it. They invited us, but we declined as we knew that it wasn’t our kind of party, especially when we went around to give them a couple of packets of chips as a goodwill gesture and we saw this contraption.
We have never seen such a thing before, all we were told was that it was used for drinking beer. We knew then that the party would be loud. Well, that’s to be expected in the inner suburbs on occasions.
The sound of the ‘party’ was loud but it wasn’t happy it was more aggro. What I could hear next door in the backyard was males, only males, swearing and shouting. Not at each other but at things and in general. They were burning staff in a drum and I could hear the frenzy of burining anything they could lay their hand on. It defenetely smelled like they were buring stuff that shouldn’t be burned, so I quickly closed all the doors and windows and cowered in my house.
As part of the burning frenzy they took one of the palings of the fence, so the sticky nosed neighbour I am I took a picture.
They came afterwards to apologize, which was nice. They stated that some people from the nearby pub ‘crashed’ their party. Well, we didn’t have any reason not to believe them.
But their contrition didn’t stop some of them to arrive late at night and turn the music on. So out we went and ask nicely if the music could be turned down after 11 pm, especially on weekdays (the law states that no music disturbance should occur after 10). But then it happened again and I had to go to knock on their door, but the music was so loud they didn’t hear me so I shouted to turn it down from the backyard. Which they did. But really how hard it is to understand that music at that volume can be a nuisance at 2 am. This time one of the guys had a girl. When we went again to discuss issues nicely with them the guy in question wasn’t there, but another blanched ‘that was my ex-girlfriend!’ Charming.
Then a week or so later it happened again. I was in bed awoken with my partner being pissed off again and my anger rising. So I jumped out of bed knocked on their dor and in my daggy windcheater and pijiama pants I shouted “Four fucken times I’ve asked you to turn the fucken music down, so turn the fucking thing down!’ Funnily enough the thing worked as the loud music only happened once more but only for a minute or so. Being in a rage and swearing is very unusual for me. But when we hear them talking (and they always talk LOUD) they drop the four letter word as a normal interjection. So maybe it wasn’t unusual for them.
The other problem is the cars. They have turned their backyard into a garage.
That wouldn’t be a problem really. Except when they rev their engines and produce toxic exhaust fumes.
Look at these pictures. This is my backyard on a nice sunny day.
Now this is a sunny day as well. That is not fog. What you see is exhaust after the neighbours have revved their cars to the max. When that happened was when we were having a BBQ with friends in the backyard and we had to run inside. Any food we couldn’t take with us was contaminated and had to be thrown out.
And they continue to burn stuff. Which means that we cannot put our washing out unless we are at home, and we have to be on the lookout in case they start a fire again and retreive our clothes, which haven’t dried as yet.
What to do? The only choice is to contact the landlord and the real estate. Of course we can call the police but personally I don’t want to reach that stage.
One day we will have our peace again.