As a part of generation rent here in England (meaning homeownership isn’t a possibility—ever, for many young people) we’ve enjoyed a great deal of enforced renting since 2003.
Because of the housing crisis here, that also means absurd rental costs for the most basic flats. Add into that a lot of annoying neighbours with zero concept of self-awareness.
After the latest escapade, we’re moving flat. So we decided to go down memory lane and recap every issue with neighbours over the years. Huzzah!
The Worst of Flatmates & Neighbours
Our rental history feels like that episode of Frasier where he’s looking for somewhere quiet to get some solitude.
There’s a quiet flat with our name on it somewhere out there, England!
At uni halls, we got lumped next to rap loving Frazer (irony overload) who thought nothing of it of coming home at 3am and ramping his music up to maximum volume.
Also forgot his key once and couldn’t get in. Solution? Batter relentlessly with his knuckles on the front door at 4am until someone woke up to let him in. One day had some issue and yelled “FUCK!” as his solution.
Yes, he was a prick. Not wanting to put up with that further, Mr. Wapojif moved to a new part of the halls. And it was all rather glorious from there.
Apart from Nasty Louise, who just hated everyone and thought everyone was too loud and annoying for her.
Except she had no problem letting her hall door slam violently shut at whatever time, usually waking up the entire dorm we were in.
Mr. Wapojif had a personality clash with a 19-year-old domineering young lady always referring to the househare as “her” home.
She eventually fell out with everyone in the property, but partying happy Mr. Wapojif didn’t help matters by winding her up (such as drunkenly bringing home items nabbed from the street—such as an amazing red chair—oh, to be 19 again).
Eventually, the red chair was ejected from the houseshare after a unanimous vote (not involving Mr. Wapojif) it went against the decor of the living room.
2006: Putney, London
Moved to London to study for MA. Got lumped with one of the world’s most spoiled individuals, 28-year-old Iranian from a wealthy family.
Spent most of his time stoned, stealing everyone else’s food, not doing any washing up, and being incredibly goddamn obnoxious. Peak annoyance was when this “never having any money” individual suddenly came home with a £5k DJ set blasting that at full volume.
Was horribly spoiled and moody when not stoned. Extremely irritating when stoned. Father forked out £30k+ for him to study in London to make something of his life, spent the time lounging about stoned.
2007: Fallowfield, Manchester
Moved to Fallowfield and met a great bunch of folks in a massive houseshare. Except one, who refused to speak to us.
Except for the women. He liked the women. And regularly made passes at those even in relationships.
2009: Longsight, Manchester
Big apartment block, one 40+ year old who liked rice pudding would regularly wander about the premises in only his speedo underpants.
2010: Warrington, Cheshire
Flat robbed by a bunch of chavs the estate agents allowed to move in as they felt “sorry” for them.
The chavs demolished their flat, robbed Mr. Wapojif’s, and had off with his DVD collection. Unquestionably the worst experience we’ve ever endured under an estate agent, whose incompetence knew no bounds.
2011-2015: Salford Quays, Manchester
Moved to a fancier apartment block to avoid chavs and burglaries. Revolving door of neighbours followed until 2017, most of whom were fine and dandy. Apart from two bad eggs.
Exceptionally rowdy young couple living downstairs, would regularly have screaming matches always from 1am through to 5am.
Objects were thrown. Screams of “I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!” were commonplace, as was the rote response of “FUCK OFFFFF!!!” These arguments happened at least 20 times over a three year period before the couple split up and moved out.
2016: Salford Quays, Manchester
New bloke moved in downstairs. Clearly considered himself a brilliant singer as he spent an enormous amount of time bellowing his favourite tunes at the top of his lungs.
Despite being crap. And at whatever time of day he felt like.
Shut the hell up after Mr. Wapojif dropped him a strongly worded letter. But also had an indoor smoking habit (illegal in England), which the block’s ventilation system sucked up and pelted out into Mr. Wapojif’s flat.
After several months of pursuing the neighbour’s estate agent, he was forced to stop.
2017: Prestwich, Manchester
Finally into a terraced house (renting)! There for six months, forced to move out due to amorous neighbours who also had a screaming match on their first night there at 1am.
Lots of make-up sex followed, too, which Mr. Wapojif was forced to listen to due to the paper-thin walls.
Yep. Moved out immediately after that to escape two utter cretins.
2019: Trafford, Manchester
In current flat, one neighbour thought it a brilliant idea to blast his music at full volume whatever time of bloody day he pleased.
Eventually confronted by an angry Mr. Wapojif and has since shut the hell up. This is where being a balding bloke comes in handy, ramps up the scare factor.
2020: Trafford, Manchester
Pot smoking neighbour on the other side suddenly begins a campaign of toilet visits, peaking at 30 visits in the space of 40 minutes, each time violently slamming down the toilet seat and waking up Mr. Wapojif.
Eventually left our editor in a state of manic paranoia due to lack of sleep and fears of toilet seats. Issue came to a head 7th January 2020 after waking up our editor at 12:30 am, followed by relentless toilet visits, showers, and door slamming over the course of six hours.
We left our noisy neighbour a note the next day and he was “upset” and claimed to be unaware of being noisy. Despite being incredibly bloody heavyhanded and clearly lacking in self-awareness. Is potentially a casual drug dealer, too.
2020: Into the city!
And that’s it. We’re moving flat! What will the next adventure bring!? More noise, no doubt, but it can’t be as bad as constantly being woken up by a geezer and his absurd toilet requirements.
You’ve not had a great night’s sleep ruined until you’ve been woken up for the sixth time in one night by your neighbour slamming the toilet seat down in sharp, clanking fashion.
Or vomiting copiously. Or screaming in agony while getting out of the shower, for some reason. Or heading off out at 3am and slamming their front door because they’re either buying/selling marijuana.
Dealing With Noisy Neighbours
Anyway, we have a nicer flat in Manchester city centre to look forward to. Our advice to anyone out there with noisy neighbours:
- Deal with it immediately. Make it clear you won’t tolerate what they’re doing.
- Start with a polite letter or a fuming confrontation. Whatever you want! The former is best, in many instances the neighbour will be oblivious they’re making a noise and will react accordingly.
- Not sorted it? You can report them to the council and/or estate agent if it’s persistent anti-social noise. That can result in major fines, depending on your jurisdiction.
- Move out! Obviously a bit more difficult if you’re not renting, but if you are just try your luck elsewhere.
Obviously use your best judgement here. If your neighbour is clearly a slobbering maniac, they’re not going to give a toss about your polite requests.
Living in a block of flats heightens the chances of all the above, but even if you’re living in a house in the countryside all it takes is one dickhead and your peace is shattered.
Hell is other people, eh? As clarified by Jean-Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness:
"[The saying] has always been misunderstood. It has been thought that what I meant by that was that our relations with other people are always poisoned, that they are invariably hellish relations. But what I really mean is something totally different. I mean that if relations with someone else are twisted, vitiated, then that other person can only be hell. Why? Because ... when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves ... we use the knowledge of us which other people already have. We judge ourselves with the means other people have and have given us for judging ourselves."