There are currently more than 113 million people renting apartments or homes in the U.S. – almost 34 percent of the population. That's a lot of people living in spaces where they aren't necessarily required to address every issue that arises themselves.
Problems will come up, and when they do, you expect your landlord or management company to take care of them. But how do you tell them what's going on in a way that gets results?
There's always the potential for issues to arise when living in an apartment building with other tenants. Each resident has their own style of living, their own habits, and they might not all mesh with yours.
While you can't expect everyone to live life the same way you do, you can require those around you to act respectfully. As a result, you may encounter certain situations, like these, which you might not be able to reconcile on your own.
Loud neighbors can often complicate your peaceful evening at home or interrupt that movie you're watching as their booming base seeps through your walls. Common noise complaints can come from music, the television, a barking dog and of course, that wild party that just won't quit.
Oftentimes, tenants aren't aware they're being too noisy, so it's a good idea to alert them to the issue before you write a formal complaint. If that doesn't help, or the noise goes on late into the night, it's time to take more serious action and let your landlord know what's going on.
Anything your neighbor does that affects your space or the common areas that demonstrates a lack of consideration for others fits into this category. Leaving trash outside in the hall, dropping empty cans onto your balcony from above, taking up half of your parking space with their oversized car – these are all behaviors that don't demonstrate care for the comfort of others.
Again, they may not realize what they're doing, so it's a good idea to bring it to their attention. They also may just be inconsiderate people, which is why a landlord can step in to help.
What people do in their own apartment is their own business until the smell of it invades your unit. When offensive odors begin to drift through the walls, it's time to take action. Realistically, this could be a one-time offense, where a neighbor burned dinner and you get stuck with the smell.
But if it's something reoccurring, like odors from trash, pets, or even illegal substances, a letter of complaint will help notify your landlord to take action.
Alerting management to an issue with your neighbors through a formal, written letter automatically gives you proof you've tried to handle the problem. Should the issue escalate, you can show you took every action possible because you'll have a paper trail to prove it.
In order to submit a complaint letter that will get results, make sure you're clear about the issue and your expectations. Detail the problem, how it's affecting you and what steps you think can resolve it. Make sure to put in a reasonable deadline for action, as well. And don't forget to follow up at least once, but often is better.
To further guarantee your complaint gets the attention it deserves, make sure you're in good standing with your landlord. If you're not up-to-date on your rent, send in that rent check. Additionally, double-check your lease to ensure the issue you're filing a complaint about is actually management's responsibility.
We've taken the time to put together a sample letter for a letter of complaint that you can download here. Fill in the information for sections in parentheses ( ).
(Current Address of Your Apartment, Unit #)
(City, State, Zip Code)
(Landlord or Apartment Company's Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, Zip Code)
Re: (Short statement of the issue, such as Noise Complaint; Trash in the Hallway; etc.)
Dear (Name of landlord or manager),
I'm writing to formally request your help in dealing with an issue that (has arisen/has been ongoing) with my neighbors in (neighbor's apartment number). To date, the following actions have been taken:
These previous attempts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful, and this issue is directly affecting me by (state the impact this situation is having on you). To resolve this issue, I'd like you to get in touch with (neighbor's name/the residents of unit XX) and facilitate a resolution.
I'm hoping we can resolve this issue on or before (set a specific date that's reasonable, maybe a week out).
Should you need to reach me to discuss this further, please (call/email) at (insert phone or email based on preference for communication). I appreciate your attention to this issue.
(Your Name and Signature)
(Phone Number or Email Address)
What do you do if nothing happens after you've submitted your formal complaint letter and regularly followed-up? There are other options to consider if your landlord or apartment company isn't responding.
Make sure you let your landlord know you're prepared to take these alternative steps, just be polite when you communicate.
Going through this easy process to report a neighbor complaint to your landlord or management company can help move you to a quick resolution of your issue.