I live where I work, and now there’s a haunted house next to me

A reader writes:

Out of all of the problems I have had with my boss (yes, I am very actively job searching), I finally had to write you because I’m out of ideas. As part of my job, I am required to live at the college I work at. It’s a little unusual for my position but it’s not unheard of, and I obviously knew that was part of the deal along with an overnight on-call rotation when I took the job. As you can imagine, living on a college campus we have our share of noise issues but it’s generally not too bad. I am often afraid to say anything about noise because I am an administrator, and in the past I have had students complain that I complained and then I get in trouble.

I think my boss thinks my husband and I are exaggerating just how noisy it can be just to have students living around us, and with a student-run garden right outside our window and a middle-school group that plays marbles in the basement room right below us once a week. Their voices echo on the heating pipes as if they were talking in the other room and it’s very unnerving to me, so much so that when I was told there was no way the group could relocate, I started teaching fitness classes those nights so I wouldn’t have to be home when they were there.

Last night, a student group started setting up in this basement room for a haunted house. My boss had told me several weeks ago they would be using the basement room on the other side of the building (which is much larger anyway). When I texted her to tell her what was going on (they were making a lot of noise, but really just anyone talking down there causes me a great deal of stress and prevents me from relaxing in my home), she didn’t respond out of cowardice, and when I asked her if she got my texts this morning, she told me they were going to be on that side. I insisted that I can’t tolerate the screaming, yelling, and noise that comes with a haunted house in my apartment for two weeks, several hours after the work day ends. All she said was no students have complained. No students have complained likely because the room is directly below our apartment!

I have no signed documentation with the college about my rights as a tenant or terms under which they could evict us, etc. Obviously I would love to have this paperwork, but in case you couldn’t guess, there are several things lagging behind here a bit. I don’t know what to do because the noise is causing me to have anxiety attacks: I have an anxiety disorder and HR knows this because I have some accommodations at work, but my on-campus residence is technically not work, and my boss isn’t taking it seriously, and I feel like I’m just being labeled as a troublemaker for speaking up for myself.

When I saw the subject of your email, I was so hoping it was a real haunted house.

It sounds like that might have been preferable.

This sucks. I am very sure that this sucks.

But I also think it’s really likely that there’s not going to be anything you can do about it. You live on a college campus, and they are noisy. Practically by definition. College students live loudly, what with all the excitement of NO PARENTS OMG.

Is there any possibility of getting a move off-campus okayed? I think your best bet is to explain that the noise level has turned out to be untenable and that while you thought it would be workable, you’ve realized that it’s not.  And it’s not just this haunted house; you’re only a couple of months into the school year and you’re already finding ways to avoid your own home and having anxiety attacks. I don’t like the idea of you toughing this out for the next however many months.

If that’s definitely a no-go, you could try seeing if you can prevail on the haunted house, but I’m worried that even if you win this battle, you’re going to lose the very loud war. But you could say something like this: “It’s not feasible to live directly above an attraction like a haunted house, where screams and bangs and scary noises are part of the whole point of it. I wouldn’t have signed on to live in this location if that had been disclosed to me, and I’m concerned that I’m not going to be able to relax or sleep in my own home for the next couple of weeks. Are there other options here? Could it be located somewhere else?”

But I really think the issue is the whole set-up, not just the haunted house.

{ 232 comments… read them below }

  1. The IT Manager

    I would make sure to emphasize that the problem is the ongoing noise issues and not just the haunted house which will be over in a few weeks.

    1. MK

      Why is that a good idea? I would argue that the OP is hardly likely to get results if she complains about the noise level generally; it’s not realistic to expect the college administration will take serious steps to keep the campus quiet. Whilst there is a chance, though not a good one, that she might get the haunted house relocated.

      1. Helka

        But that doesn’t solve the larger problem. If she complains and the haunted house gets moved — well, great, but she’s still living in a noisy apartment that conducts voices all over the place and leaves her stressed and unhappy.

        1. Charityb

          I agree completely. It’s tempting to take a huge problem and focus on a tiny piece of it that seems easier to solve, but the risk is that the administration might decide to solve *just* that tiny problem. You’ll feel awkward complaining again once they do too, which is stressful and unfair for you.

        2. AVP

          I agree. Complaining about a particular event runs the risk of them moving the haunted house – but swapping it the Student Union elections or something equally disruptive.

          If it was just this one event it would make sense but it seems like a whole untenable pattern that’s really the problem.

        3. MK

          No, but I don’t think the OP has any real chance of solving the big problem. She might win a few smaller battles, though.

      2. Kate M

        It makes more sense to address the problem generally (since it’s an ongoing problem) rather than on a case by case basis when things are going to come up every other week or so. If she keeps complaining about new events every week, it’s going to make it seem like “well, we fixed 5 other problems for you, and you’re still complaining?” Rather, it should be seen as one large problem that needs to be addressed.

        It’s hard for me to think that out of an entire campus, there isn’t another space available for staff to live.

        1. KarenT

          I agree. I think pointing out the haunted house as the main issue makes it easier to ignore, since management will view it as temporary. And it does sound like even if the haunted house is relocated the OP still has an ongoing noise issue that needs to be resolved.

        2. Elizabeth West

          I agree too. Unless she’s supervising dormitories or something, it’s silly to require her to live on campus. Maybe in the same town, or within an X-mile radius of campus (which could still be problematic, as campuses tend to be surrounded by Greek houses and those are SUPER noisy). But to expect adults to live like that is just ridiculous.

          1. MK

            We really have no way of knowing whether the live-on-campus requirement is reasonable or not. And even if it isn’t, the OP doesn’t have a strong case to push for a change, since she knew about it beforehand.

          2. Elsajeni

            I think “on campus” could be reasonable — but “in this specific apartment on campus” probably isn’t (barring situations like “I’m the dorm parent and this is the only non-dorm-room living quarters in the building”). Is there a dorm that has a reputation for being quieter? A building where the common space is further away from the individual apartments? Heck, even a higher floor in this building that would be further removed from the noisy basement? That’s what I would try to push for.

          3. The Carrie

            It is common in student affairs, particularly housing, for employees to live on campus. That’s just the nature of the beast. Of course, they shouldn’t be able to put you in crap housing. Same arguments could be said for a place that leaked or had mold, etc etc. They should have better housing for staff, but in my experience, the apartments are usually part of dorms, and dorms are loud.

            1. Elizabeth West

              It is unreasonable, if they’re not addressing the noise factor. Just because you’re required to live on campus doesn’t mean they can’t at least do some soundproofing, or something.

              This would have been a deal breaker for me, I’m afraid.

    2. Vicki

      Three words: sound level meter.

      You can buy dedicated devices online. You can buy an app for your phone or iPad. Get one, preferably one that records. Use it. Also, set up a recorder app.

      The best way to say that something is noisy is to prove it.

  2. Random Reader

    I’m getting videos automatically playing- I have a Toyota video and a KY video that autoplay. Thankfully I have the sound turned off, but I’m getting frustrated :( I usually have the ad blocker set up, but I’m working from a different computer today because mine’s on the fritz. I tried right clicking to get the URL, but I can’t seem to get the link.

    1. Lily Rowan

      You might just have to click through on the ad to get it, because Alison has requested that people email her with the URL the ad goes to, so she can get it removed.

    2. Brett

      I’ve noticed that the loading library for the ads is broken too.
      One ad loaded over 2000 times (approximately 10 loads a second) until it finally crashed my browser. I know how many times it loaded because it throw an error in the error console every time it loaded :P
      Unfortunately, if I attempt to pull the URL for the ad library, it loads an extra 500+ times and immediately crashes the browser, but it appears to coming from navdmp.com

      1. Annie

        This has been happening to me, too — browser crashes that make it impossible for me to determine or report the problem through the route Alison has requested.

  3. Kristine C

    Invite your boss and/or someone from HE over for coffee or dinner. Perhaps if they hear it first-hand….

      1. Rana

        Can you tape it? (Though it sounds like she’s aware it’s a problem but is uninterested in fixing it, unfortunately.)

        1. Stranger than fiction

          This was my thought, tape the noise and send it to this lady and anyone else responsible maybe even her boss if possible.

          1. Cucumberzucchini

            There’s also a decibel app you can download to measure how loud it is. I think ambient noise is like 45 decibels?

            I would have someone else with another smart phone record you using the app for evidence.

  4. Kyrielle

    Another thing to explore is whether your anxiety disorder makes letting you live off-campus, or letting you live on-campus in a different location that is likely to be quieter (and not above any kind of shared space like that!) a reasonable accommodation.

    I know when I was in college, more years ago than I care to admit, we had older and newer buildings and the sound issues varied from building to building – some were pretty tolerable.

    Otherwise, I’m not sure what else to tell you, except that you have my total sympathy.

    1. HM in Atlanta

      I like this idea. You’re not saying you can’t live on campus, you’re saying that you need an accommodation for this job requirement.

      1. LBK

        I think the challenge is going to be that this is a big requirement for the job – typically the whole point is that you’re available instantly if you’re needed for something on campus. Unless this is a city campus where there’s likely to be housing available right next door, I’m not sure they’ll be willing to flex on that.

        1. Kyrielle

          Even in that case, on-campus but in housing that’s not above a shared space, and if possible in a building with better soundproofing, might help while still keeping OP available if needed.

          1. LBK

            If there’s other on-campus housing that would be better then that’s definitely an option; my point was that asking to move off campus might not be considered a reasonable accommodation under the ADA since it would severely limit the OP’s ability to meet the expectations of the role.

            1. WorkingMom

              In most college campuses, there are certain dorms that tend to be louder/busier than others. Perhaps there is an on-campus dorm or building that is more geared towards Junior/Senior students, who by nature may no longer be as rambunctious? (Since the “no parents” excitement as worn off?)

              I haven’t spent significant time on a college campus since I was a student, so maybe this perception is not reality, but hoping there might be a “more quiet” building to take advantage of!

              1. Talvi

                A lot of campuses also have separate dorms reserved for grad students and mature students – I expect these would be quieter as well.

                1. Natalie

                  If they have student family housing (fka married student housing) that might be another good option. Those are often duplexes and tend to be quieter, especially at night. Kids and parents aren’t typically up having a rager at 1 am.

          2. TL -

            I know my campus only had one or two actual apartments available; most of the residences were clearly for college students, so there may not be anywhere else. (They had one position where they offered on-campus housing, but that was in a building that was generally quiet and had no dorms in it, either.)

    2. Haunted (OP)

      Unfortunately I don’t think it would be considered a reasonable accommodation. I am required to live on campus as part of my job and my pay is adjusted accordingly because I don’t pay rent, so the value of rent is essentially part of my compensation. Even if they thought it was reasonable for me to be on call from off campus housing, they probably wouldn’t think it’s reasonable to pay me the additional $10k or so to make up the difference of no longer being compensated in that way…and I certainly can’t afford to just live off for no additional pay.

      1. Student

        Well, they aren’t actually giving you the $10k or whatever extra value, are they? They’ve provided substandard housing that you regularly have to flee from.

        1. Anx

          It’s not so much that it’s substandard housing, though. It seems more like the housing isn’t a good fit and there’s no recourse because OP is neither a student who can complain to housing nor a regular tenant who can break a lease and move.

      2. neverjaunty

        You should talk to a lawyer who handles landlord/tenant issues. Even if you are required to live on campus, I would be astonished if the college had zero obligations regarding your housing, and things like ‘the heat works’ and ‘quiet enjoyment’ are generally assumed.

          1. neverjaunty

            Yes, I know what ‘quiet enjoyment’ means, and we also both know that if an apartment is infested by so much noise that the tenants can’t function, that can be a violation of the right of quiet enjoyment.

            1. Green

              Not to get into a legal debate, but quiet enjoyment traditionally applies to “enjoying” (which doesn’t mean having a pleasant time but rather possession and use) without interference from hostile claimants rather than more generally without nuisance. While an “infestation” (?) of noise could potentially interfere with your right to possess and use your property, this probably doesn’t rise to this.

              However, whether something is a nuisance is determined by a number of factors: location and environment (here on a college campus, in college housing), whether it is severe and pervasive (a time-limited haunted house may or may not be sufficiently severe and pervasive), whether a reasonable person would be unable to use the property for its intended purpose as a result of the noise (it sounds as though the OP is abnormally sensitive to noise as a result of anxieties and unrelated PTSD), etc. The law generally expects us to put up with unpleasantness that results from other people using their property reasonably, even if it inconveniences us.

              Anyway, “heat works” is usually in a city code or state statute, as well as common law (“warrant of habitability”). “Making other people be quiet” usually isn’t. Consulting with a lawyer here probably wouldn’t be fruitful for the reasons above.

      3. Fifi Ocrburg

        “really just anyone talking down there causes me a great deal of stress and prevents me from relaxing in my home)”
        Earplugs, white noise machines, asking the college for extra soundproofing? If someone just talking is so distressing, I’m not sure that the administration will be able to do much to completely block all all sounds.

        1. MAM

          I used to work in res life and Currently live on because of my husband. It’s loud sometimes….it’s a colle campus. We sleep with a white noise machine on and now I’m he deepest sleeper. Does it suck sometimes? Yeah. But I think it’s the nature of the job (to a certain extent). We rarely ask students to quiet down and try to be flexible….for example, a student playing loud-ish music but at 3pm ona Saturday unless it’s vulgar or I can’t carry on a convo, I let it go.

      4. Shan

        I had a really similar job! I used to work at a college apartment complex and I was required to live there, and I also got my rent compensated for my work, and I was also part of an overnight on-call rotation. I just wanted to say that you really, REALLY should have a lease or some kind of documentation that you’re working in exchange for rent. In my case we had both. From your letter it sounds like you’re aware of this, but I just wanted to let you know that it’s probably hindering your ability to get help, since the lease outlines what kind of accommodations the landlord needs to provide. What if you had a major problem, like your heater going out? A lease would help you prove that it’s part of accommodations. Without a lease, there’s nothing saying they’re responsible for your accommodations, and they won’t really face any repercussions for giving you terrible housing or ignoring your issues.

        I don’t know what you do or what your boss do for the university, but I’m wondering if your boss is the right person to complain to. If you don’t work with the housing department, then honestly I’m not sure what your boss could even do about it. I’d find whoever is in charge of housing and take it up with them (and tell them you need a lease). I actually worked in housing as a property manager, so when kids got extra rowdy or noisy, I had the authority to tell them to knock it off. :)

        And I hate to say this, but I really doubt they’d pay you more to live off-campus. At my old job, you were required to be on-campus…rent was paid for, but that was seen as a perk for dealing with the inconvenience of being on-campus. Even though an apartment there might normally have a value of $10K/year, it probably costs them a fraction of that to let you live there rent-free. Asking for that amount to go somewhere else is not only going to cost them more money, but they’re also losing the convenience of having their employee on campus for their on-call rotation. Not that I’m defending them, but I just want you to be prepared for what they might say if you asked to live off campus.

        1. Alice

          Plus you are saving money in transportation and possibly meals if they give you a meal card and maybe laundry too.

  5. Ad Astra

    A few things:

    1. I am tickled that “Are you haunted by your last bad job?” is among the related posts. Are those generated automatically?

    2. Even though college students tend to be loud, I don’t think every faculty/staff member who lives on a college campus would have an experience as negative as what the OP is describing. This is a special brand of suck.

    Who gave the OK for students to set up a haunted house directly below an occupied apartment? That’s crazy. Surely there’s a better location for something like that.

    OP, is it possible for you to move to a different place on campus? Or can you stay with a friend/family member for the next two weeks to at least avoid the haunted house disturbance? Neither of these suggestions solve the underlying problem, but it sounds like a temporary fix might be enough until you find a new job.

    1. Helka

      Who gave the OK for students to set up a haunted house directly below an occupied apartment? That’s crazy. Surely there’s a better location for something like that.

      This is what I’m wondering. That’s incredibly thoughtless, and frankly the fact that the OP was not only not asked, but actively told the students were going to be somewhere else, makes me side-eye pretty hard.

      I don’t know where the OP is located, but it seems likely that there would be some level of landlord/tenant legal rights even without the explicit existence of a lease agreement — that’s typical for most of the US, from what I understand. (I don’t know how housing law differs abroad; if the OP is not in the US obviously what I’m saying is moot.) If you are living somewhere that does not belong to you, the owner of the property you are occupying has certain legal responsibilities toward your living space, whether or not you signed a lease or have been given documentation of your rights and responsibilities. And that’s exactly for situations like this, where you don’t have an explicit agreement but your landlord is making things untenable for you and threatening your health. It would be worth looking into.

      1. Cat

        I don’t know that the OP benefits from treating this like a normal landlord/tenant situation. It’s not, really. The complaint is noise, which is an unavoidable side benefit of living in a residence hall that also serves a community gathering function. (I mean, it sounds like the acoustics are particularly bad in this building but things like weird acoustics are also a pretty predictable part of being in a dorm.)

        I think probably the test is: what would the admin say to a student who complained about the thing? If it is noise after specified quiet hours–or something physically dangerous–they better be on it. If it’s noise during the hour when students are likely to be running a school-sanctioned Haunted House or middle school students are likely to be meeting during a marbles playing group? I think the student would be told those are legit uses of the space and I think the OP is going to have a hard time bringing that complaint to the administration as a tenant.

        As an employee might be a different matter – if OP’s boss values them as an employee, they might be able to work all sorts of things out and probably should (because adults with options aren’t going to want to put up with that stuff so they’re going to have a hell of a time keeping anyone in that position). But I think that’s a somewhat different approach.

        1. fposte

          I like the student complaint comparison; I think that’s a good way of looking at it.

          I also think that the tenancy laws could be relevant (assuming they apply to the school) in areas like supplying power, unsafe conditions, etc. But this would be more like having to live in the farmhouse as part of your farm job and then discovering you can’t take the smell. Understandable, but not something that the law is likely to consider your landlord obliged to control.

          1. neverjaunty

            It’s more like living in a farmhouse and then finding out that instead of putting up with there being animals around, you’re expected to tolerate a slaughterhouse on your porch.

        2. kbeersosu

          As someone who did live in for the first six years of my career as a residence hall director, you should have the same rights as any other student living in a hall. And this comparison to a student complaint should not be necessary, but may be a good way to go. Other thoughts that I have:
          – On every college campus that I know of there are policies in the Student Code of Conduct or Residence Hall contract related to reasonable noise levels in the halls. I would encourage you to look up the policies there and find out how you can report these issues. Now, they do have to be specific to a student or group, but I think that at least would give you a route to go.
          – On our campus we do have to use HR at times to mediate issues that we have as employees/tenants. When we had issues with maintenance staff randomly keying in to our apartments to address maintenance needs, we had to help HR/maintenance understand that they can’t treat us just like we’re students. Many of us have pets in our on-campus apartments, families, children, etc. It’s a huge safety and privacy issue.
          – Beyond the haunted house issue at the moment, I would see if you can identify easy fixes for the other noise issues. We once had facilities come in and soundproof a wall of a staff apartment because that staff member had a young kid and the noise from the other side of the wall (a student room) was keeping her child awake. It wasn’t too costly, so they were willing to do it.

        3. Ad Astra

          For some reason, I’m not picturing OP’s situation as having a room in a residence hall. In my head, it’s an old building — perhaps designated for OP’s department — that’s mostly office space, but with a small apartment built in.

          I would be surprised if a residence hall has sanctioned activities that are loud and located directly below the rooms, because that would be a problem for student and employee alike. Most of the res halls I’ve been in were relatively quiet, except for occasional shenanigans.

          I could be completely wrong, though. I hope OP shows up to chime in on this, because I’m curious.

          1. Cat

            I would have assumed having a single apartment in an office building would be a code/zoning problem, but I don’t know either.

            1. So Very Anonymous

              A friend of mine taught for two years as a temporary lecturer at a small liberal arts college — she lived in an apartment in a campus-owned house which was also an office building. The offices were on the first floor and there were two “guest” apartments on the second floor — the campus made those apartments and a handful of others IIRC available to visiting profs. Couldn’t say how the code/zoning worked though.

          2. Anonyby

            In the dorm rooms I lived in at my university, every communal area was above and/or below someone’s dorm. If there was a sanctioned event going on (or pretty much anything during daytime hours), you were pretty much out of luck. Same if your window happened to overlook a quad where something was happening, as the windows did nothing to block sound.

          3. TCO

            My college had a dorm with a notoriously creepy basement, and they did a haunted house in there every year. I think there were dorms right above the basement (and possibly even RA-type housing). Another dorm held a big dance party in its basement every year. The difference is that these were one night a year. I can’t imagine having it last two weeks.

          4. Haunted (OP)

            It is a room in an apartment style residence hall. Quiet hours are not in effect when the marble group/haunted house are going on, but we have 24/7 “courtesy hours” which I obviously feel this most certainly violates, so that’s why I thought it was reasonable to speak up. When I asked my boss what she would do if a student complained, that’s when I was met with the response of “no students have complained;” she seems unwilling to answer my hypothetical question on that.

          5. Honeybee

            I would not at all be surprised by that. I was a live-in residence hall director, and common areas are very commonly located below/under/right next to occupied rooms (sometimes residence hall director or RA occupied rooms). For example, RAs are often at the end of a hall, and the common area is often there too. This is especially true for residence halls in urban areas with less space where accommodations may be more cramped.

            And sometimes students have unsanctioned activities that are loud, too. When I was an RHD I lived down the hall from a group of upperclassmen who threw a small party in their dorm room what seemed like every other Thursday night. It wasn’t overly loud and they were always done by quiet hours, but thin old walls and doors that opened and closed to let in a flow of students meant that I did hear their music somewhat. I usually let it slide – they weren’t wild or crazy or even extremely loud…it was just the nature of living in shared accommodations with 18-22-year-olds.

      2. fposte

        My guess is that the boss isn’t seeing this as the problem the OP is. So the boss doesn’t think it’s that big a deal if the haunted house is initially planned to be on the west side of the basement but the students end up on the east side, whereas to the OP it’s huge.

        I think that it’s likely this basement room is an established activity space that’s been used for well before the OP moved in, and that it’s coexisted with people above it previously. So while I totally get why the OP hates the effects, I suspect it may just be considered to be part of the deal of living there. Which is why I think the OP should just focus on negotiating for off-campus housing rather than trying to quiet down the use in the facility–I think the latter would be an uphill climb.

        1. TL -

          Do you think there’s any benefit to exploring soundproofing of the apartment? Maybe there’s something not heinously expensive the university could pay for that would help the situation.

        2. Haunted (OP)

          Actually, it’s a locked room in the basement. The only use it has gotten in the time I’ve been living here is from the marble group, so it’s only an established activity space for that group, and I brought up the noise issue when we first heard them and got nowhere.

          1. fposte

            But you haven’t been there that long, right? What I’m saying is that probably the use of that room for stuff, whether it be the marble group or something else, predates your tenure there and is an established pattern of building use. It’s going to be an uphill battle to have the college simply not use an available open space.

            One possible creative approach–find out why the student group didn’t want to use the alternative space and see whether you can help an effort to make that space more attractive for marbles, haunted houses, etc. Rather than run them out of the space below you, lure them in to space away from you. In a nice way :-).

            1. Ultraviolet

              I like that! Or maybe OP can spearhead an effort to turn the room directly under hers into a quiet space for studying/reading/whatever. The basement below a staff member’s apartment is probably a good candidate for that.

          2. Ultraviolet

            Any chance the marbles and/or haunted house noises are impacting the student residents as well as you? If so, that could help you push for getting the basement soundproofed a little better.

  6. Nikki J.

    I’m an ex-reslife person myself, so I feel you! I lived on campus as a grown adult professional for 6 years spanning across 3 colleges and very different environments. One of the connecting factors to them all was yes, noise. It was always noisy at some point no matter what campus apartment I lived in. Luckily for me I was the Hall Director for the buildings I lived in so I had pull with the students. I assume the reason your position is on-campus because of the on call responsibilities. I know you addressed this with your boss, but have you talked with the Hall (Resident) Director for the building you live in? Not sure the set-up on the campus you are on, but I assume there are some kind of other live-on staff like yourself.

    1. Haunted (OP)

      Firstly, thank you! And there is another live on staff person who oversees the building I live in. In our last department meeting, the same day I wrote in, the advisor of the student group who is setting up the haunted house thanked him and my boss for letting them use the space! I like this other live on person well enough, but he’s a bit of a favorite of my boss and so I think a dead end. He would definitely defer to her judgement on this.

      1. fposte

        But that sounds like you haven’t even approached him about this–have you? If the overseer of the building didn’t know you were hoping for other space to be used, he couldn’t really factor that into his decision.

        Even if you don’t get what you want from him, I’d talk to him just to go on the record as there being a noise problem and your requesting accommodation other than the basement room for loud activities whenever possible.

      2. These are the droids

        wait… you asked specifically where this Haunted House would be set up / flagged it as a potential concern weeks beforehand, then your boss ok’ed the students setting up directly below you and didn’t give you a heads up? Um, yeah, I’d consider bringing this up with HR.

      3. Honeybee

        Yes, but the RHD may be able to do other things to help you out. For example, they may know the student group using the space, so they can email the ringleader and ask them to remember to keep it down; they can be sure to visit the event space while the event is going down to monitor the noise, and they can talk to the advisor for this student group to remind the group to keep the noise levels down. They can also have their RAs be on high alert for extra noise coming from this event. These are all approaches I might’ve taken as an RHD depending on the situation.

  7. fposte

    Yeah, I think this is going to be a tough one. Jobs that require you to live in-college generally take that requirement pretty seriously; often there’s a considerable break on the rent as well, which I hope you’re getting.

    Would living off-campus and perhaps losing a housing subsidy be something you and your husband would be willing to do? If so, I’d propose that. It doesn’t sound to me like your problem would really be solved just by relocating the haunted house, since it’s been ongoing since moving in, and in general the college is going to prioritize the student experience over the administrative dorm lodgers.

  8. Rowan

    Advice to OP: try to avoid reading more into interactions with your boss than might actually be there. You said they didn’t respond to your text “out of cowardice” — there’s no way you could know this. Maybe she was very busy. Maybe she was somewhere with no cell coverage until it was too late to respond. Maybe she was having a serious think about what she could do, or consulting with others about it. There are a million reasons, and most of them aren’t negative. Always assuming the worst about someone — even if it’s true! — will probably make resolving the situation to your mutual benefit much harder.

    1. The IT Manager

      +1 I noticed that as well and I couldn’t figure out a good way to say what you just said, but, yes, ascribing negative characteristics to your boss will just make it harder for you to work with her and therefore harder for you until you can find a new job.

    2. Haunted (OP)

      Yeah, admittedly after I submitted my letter I realized there was some emotion in there that I should have left out, but my frustration got the better of me. And I actually do know that she saw them because she sent a screenshot of a text my husband sent to her back to him and he just replied “Yes?” – maybe I’m presuming again, but we believe she accidentally sent him the screenshots of his text because she was sending them to someone else to then complain about us.

          1. fposte

            Because she doesn’t owe a response to every text or a sharing of her every action about this. I think you’re hoping for a level of responsiveness that would be, in my experience, unusual with landlords even in a paid-rent situation.

          2. TL -

            She was busy, she saw the text and meant to reply but then something shiny crossed her path, she didn’t think it was a big deal because it was just a screenshot from his wife… tons of reasons.

            Really try not to read into what she does or doesn’t do and why she does or doesn’t do it. The most likely explanation for her behavior is that this is not a top priority for her and it’s just not going to be, even if it’s a huge priority for you. Try to focus on finding a good solution (ask for soundproofing, make other places enticing, talk to campus housing or HR, look into a white or pink noise machine), rather than why your boss is behaving the way she is.

          3. tango

            Secondly, why is your husband texting her? I get that it’s a bit different of a situation in that you’re getting housing provided by your employer and the noise is bothering your husband also who lives in the housing. BUT still, in my mind, anything to do with the housing outside everyday normal type tenant needs (like a sink leaking that needs to be fixed) should be left to the employee to bring up to their employer.

            1. fposte

              Since it’s residential, it’s possible they’re both technically employees. That was a pretty common head resident arrangement at one school I went to.

          4. catsAreCool

            She probably didn’t say what she was doing because not everyone is the kind of communicator who will let you know what’s going on to try to solve your problem. Sometimes people are really working pretty hard to fix something but they neglect to tell the person they’re trying to help what’s going on. Sometimes the person thinks “Why tell anyone about it unless it’s solved?”

            1. catsAreCool

              It’s also possible that she ignores it. I’m sorry.

              But if you try to think the best possible scenario, it can end up making a positive difference in how you interact with her, which might increase her willingness to be helpful (assuming that she isn’t being helpful).

    3. Business Cat

      Fellow anxiety sufferer here! It is really easy to ascribe malicious intent to someone’s silence when you are particularly anxious about the situation you are waiting for a response about. It helps to try and be as gracious as you can, otherwise you run the risk of having a brusque, panicked reaction that won’t help your interactions with this person. Even if they aren’t doing everything they could do to help you, by dwelling on how unhelpful they are being you are only amplifying your own anxiety and you certainly don’t deserve that.

  9. KR

    To be honest, your boss doesn’t seem to be very interested in speaking to you about your living arrangement and acting as your landlord. I would tell her, “I hate to keep bugging you about the ongoing noise issue at my apartment. Is there someone else I can speak to about my housing so that I don’t have to treat you like my landlord?” (Or some other better way to phrase that). Work on getting the formal paperwork in place (you could say it’s for insurance reasons or for taxes or something that you need all the correct paperwork in place). It will give you standing to complain about these issues.

    1. Mpls

      Who *is* the landlord in this situation? Is it the boss, or is there someone more appropriate to consult (housing office?), and that is why the boss has been non-responsive (it’s not really the boss’ job, but they’ve been bad about giving the correct contact information)?

      1. Rana

        That’s a very good question. I would have assumed that Res Life or physical plant would be a more likely candidate.

      2. Honeybee

        The “landlord” in terms of physical space (appliances, fixtures, etc.) is probably housing and/or facilities/physical plant, but they wouldn’t be able to help her out with noise complaints about residents. That would probably be residential life. (Although at some schools housing & res life are one office.)

  10. LBK

    Oof, this is a tough one because I assume part of the purpose of the basement is that it’s accessible and available to students for events like this, so it’s unlikely they’d be willing to start restricting what can be done there. I really think your only viable option is going to be trying to get them to move you to another building.

  11. librarianna

    My friend, her husband, and their baby lived in a dorm for a while. When the guys below were being too loud, she went with her baby and asked them nicely to please be more quiet because her baby couldn’t sleep with all the noise. They were very embarrassed and were quieter after that. That probably won’t help with the haunted house, but you might be surprised at what asking nicely can do!

    1. Merely

      But it sounds like even normal speaking volumes stress out the OP. She very well can’t go down there and ask middle school aged children to play marbles completely silently.

      1. 2 Cents

        I have anxiety issues and I know what she’s referring to, with the extra noise. I’m afraid that if it were me in that situation, I’d either ask to move off campus or quit for any other job, asap.

        OP, are you speaking with a counselor about the anxiety issues? (This is not to “fix” this situation, but just in general.)

        1. Haunted (OP)

          Thanks 2Cents, I am working with a counselor to try to manage healthfully, but in this situation it’s clear you understand that leaving my own home for several hours every night seemed unmanageable.

  12. Katie the Fed

    OP – are there are other staff who have to live on campus? Can you research where they are located and ask for similar accommodations?

    This is a bad situation and it’s unlikely to get better if you stay where you currently are.

  13. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon

    I don’t know if you have something similar in the US, but I believe that in the UK you can make anonymous complaints to a local noise enforcement team (or have your husband make the complaint – then it isn’t tied to you and your work, and your husband is afforded the same rights as against any other landlord) and they can work with the students/with the college to resolve ongoing noise complaints.

    I lived next to students for far longer than I should, and I really do feel for you. I am sending you so many good vibes, and hoping that your job search goes well.

    1. Bend & Snap

      University laws are odd in the US–campus police are the ones to call and can even supersede ACTUAL police in university matters–this is where a lot of campus rape reporting and investigations go wrong.

      1. Ad Astra

        Depending on the school, many campus police are actual police, and not simply security. At my large state university, campus police had jurisdiction over the campus and could ticket, arrest, etc., the same as the city police could. But yeah, I’ve heard very different tales from other schools.

        1. TL -

          My campus police transitioned into actual police my senior year and it was a big deal (but ultimately, I think, a wise decision.) They actually because part of the city’s police department and, I think, were held accountable to them rather than the university.

          1. Bend & Snap

            This seems to be the key. All the campus crimes that get swept under the rug seem to be the ones governed by universities.

      2. Honeybee

        And even if the actual police don’t legally supersede, in practice they often forward these issues back to campus police. At my old campus a noise complaint called into NYPD would simply result in NYPD calling our campus public safety office and telling them about it.

    2. LBK

      I’m not sure a police officer is going to respond to complaints of on-campus noise. Maybe if the OP lived off campus, but I’m pretty sure if you called up and said “I’m on a college campus and it’s so noisy!” they’d laugh at you.

  14. BadPlanning

    Is it a requirement that you stay in the place currently assigned? Or just somewhere on campus? Does your campus have a special section for married or family student housing?

    Can you invite your boss over for dinner on Marble Night? Or maybe October 30th? “Oh gee, yes, it is normally this noisy.”

    1. BadPlanning

      On a side note, I was hoping for a real Haunted House too. I have a friend who used to work at a school in a particularly old building. It seemed like everyone had a spooky moment story from staying late one night.

      1. Charlotte Collins

        Alison, can you do a Halloween-themed post? Something like weirdest unexplained experience at work? Please, please, please!

        1. Jennifer

          This reminds me of my coworker complaining that the auto-flush toilets were flushing themselves at the crack of dawn when nobody but her was there.

    2. Episkey

      I was going to also ask about married/family student housing, or perhaps if your college has a special dorm/etc for graduate students? In my experience, they tend to be a bit more responsible/quiet than undergrads. I lived in an apartment as a grad student with another grad student couple right below me and we never had issues with each other — except once — I had friends over and she was still studying for finals. As soon as she came up and asked if we could be a little quieter, we totally understood and shut the hell up because…finals. Ours were over so we didn’t realize some departments still had them ongoing.

  15. Charlotte Collins

    I’m assuming that the OP is living in some kind of residence hall. My experience is that there are supposed to be quiet hours in the hall, and the OP should have every right to be able to address the fact that quiet hours aren’t being observed with RAs and other staff. (And anyone who kowtows to students complaining because they’re “getting in trouble” is ignoring the fact that the students are the cause of the trouble.)

    I agree that the haunted house should have never been OK’d in that location, and the OP or her boss should try to track down how that happened and how fast it can be moved. (I was really hoping for an actual haunted house, too!)

    I’m really hoping that this is an older hall, because this is very poor design otherwise. (The newer halls where I was an undergrad always had the lobby/rec areas very separate from the living areas. But older halls were built back when there were strict lights-out times and didn’t always have this design.)

    My heart goes out to you OP – and rest assured that the loud students are probably annoying some of their peers as well. I remember once having to ask my RA (who was pretty useless – I was glad she was only my RA for one year) to enforce quiet hours (24/7 quiet time) during finals week, because people were blasting music and shouting. She told me that their finals were over and they were moving out, so it was not reasonable for me to expect her to enforce the rules. Apparently, the fact that I still had finals to study for just made me a grouchy killjoy. (She didn’t enforce the rules other times, but the fact that she was one of the loud people that week made me pretty angry.)

    1. LawBee

      This was one of the joys of my experience at a women’s college. We never had quiet hours in our dorms because we never needed them. Our dorm rules were so relaxed compared to what I heard from my friends at co-ed schools. Clean kitchens, clean bathrooms … come to think of it, I probably had a nicer quality of life in my junior/senior dorm than I do now, lol.

      1. Charlotte Collins

        This was a women-only floor! In a building where *all* the floors were women only. (It was an older building, and it was part of a complex, but the only way to the other buildings was through a tunnel. Weirdly, it was one of the oldest buildings on campus but no one thought it was haunted…)

        It was when I was able to move to a 21 and older/grad student floor that noise was no longer an issue.

      2. CollegeAdmin

        I had a walk-in closet in my dorm room for my last two years of school at my women’s college. I wanted to pack up that space and take it with me when I graduated!

        (Our kitchens were always trashed though. Very disappointing.)

      3. Ad Astra

        Huh, interesting. I lived in a sorority house for two years in college and quiet hours were a real sticking point, especially the 24/7 quiet hours in place during finals week. Some people are apparently incapable of lowering their voices.

      4. Kelly L.

        The most random thing I noticed when working at a women’s college: there were almost never any loogies on the sidewalk.

      5. Bend & Snap

        I went to a women’s college too and had that same experience. So nice!

        Then I went to a local state school for a weekend and watched some drunken guys throw a metal pole through a window for fun.

          1. Honeybee

            I’m a women’s college alumna too – I went to Spelman College, and my experience was 1) similar to yours in that as an RA I rarely had to enforce quiet hours and our bathrooms and kitchens were usually clean and 2) verrrry different from the men’s college across the street and the undergrad residence halls I lived in as a grad student when I was a hall director. One time we watched as some drunk undergrads stumbled around on the roof of their fraternity house, which had no railing. (That was the one fraternity house the university didn’t own, so…we couldn’t do anything about it.)

            1. L.A.

              Plus 1 for women’s college alumnae! I went to Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame. We had quiet hours – they were definitely necessary, especially in the first year dorms, but even when we moved to the other residence halls you’d always inevitably have ladies shrieking as they ran down the hallways. Sometimes those ladies were me and my friends. It’s just sort of what happens when you’re 18-22. That being said, I now work at a co-ed institution and I’ve ended up on campus into the late evening on Thursdays and it makes me want to curl into a ball how loud it is. Some res halls are blasting music onto quads and all I can think of is how wonderful my nice, quiet women’s college was.

    2. TL -

      It sounds like it’s normal noise that’s bothering the OP, not out and out partying until 3 am. And – I think my dorm’s quiet hours were between 12 and 6 am or something like that? I only asked for them to be enforced once (my bed should not vibrate from your bass, ever) so I’m not entirely certain.
      Given that it sounds like these things are happening between 5 pm – 9 pm range (she can avoid them by teaching classes in the evening), I don’t think the quiet hours are going to apply here.

      1. Kerry (Like the County in Ireland)

        But it also sounds weird that it’s a college but she says a middle schol group are playing marbles in the basement. There’s things I expect from young people 18+ and different things from the 11-14 age group. Also, student complaints being taken so seriously souns a little weird to me as someone with experience with college and 8th grade and high school boarding students.

        1. Cat

          I would imagine that it’s a middle school group that is being mentored by the college students or something like that? Either way, if it’s middle school students it can’t possibly be that late at night, which might explain the reaction to the OP when she complained about it.

          1. fposte

            Right; this is an organized, approved activity, in a room that’s otherwise locked. It may even relate to the institution’s overall relationship with the community, or to an ongoing research project. That doesn’t mean it absolutely has to be in the room below the OP, but this isn’t just kids wandering randomly into the OP’s space.

        2. T3k

          Where I went to college, there was an on-site daycare center so it was common to see little kids around the center of campus (the daycare was right next to it) and for Halloween, some reason the community thought it was a good idea to have trick or treat in the dorms for 5-10 year old kids… specifically, the dorm I was located in freshman year. Thankfully they didn’t require students to hand out candy, and instead have those interested sign up so they get this label to put on their door to say they’re participating.

          1. Charlotte Collins

            We had kids trick or treat in my dorm (they were from the on-site daycare run by the early childhood ed faculty and students), and I loved it! But it was very well organized and definitely opt-in only.

            1. ImprovForCats

              I would have gotten such a kick out of that (although agree it should be opt-in) but I love seeing kids in costumes. . .might be the only I miss having left the suburbs.

              If anything was iffy, it was probably allowing small groups of Girl Scouts (like, 4-5 at a time) to sell in the library. Brilliant strategy on their parts, though.

      2. Charlotte Collins

        The marble playing is pretty ridiculous, but it does seem like some of the noise is when you wouldn’t expect complete quiet. However, it sounds to me like some of it is probably going later into the evening, and I would expect a haunted house to be open later. But I’m not really sure based on the OP’s letter how early the noise is starting or how late it goes at night.

        And quiet hours can really vary – my university had different levels of quiet hours and times based on the floors that you lived on.

        1. TL -

          Yeah, the haunted house is a separate issue (and one that will probably be late and loud.)

          My university had a few floors with quiet hours for freshmen and the upperclassmen dorms had different reputations so there was some variety but nothing that would really mess with a 9-5 lifestyle, I don’t think.

  16. LawBee

    That sounds TERRIBLE. Just imagining myself in this position was enough to make me twitch. I do feel like your apartment should be included in the accommodations for your anxiety, since living there is a requirement of your job – maybe you can talk informally to an employment attorney and see if that’s something to be explored.

  17. Charityb

    It does sound like half the problem is bad design. The OP describes being able to hear conversations through the pipes as if the speakers were in the room with her; I’m not sure it’s reasonable to ask that the students not talk at all while the OP is home.

    While the students are being inconsiderate in terms of the haunted house and other extra noise, I do think that they are entitled to make some sound while in their own homes. The issue is that the administration is being thoughtless in their treatment of OP, essentially giving her no rights while she is in her home and encouraging the students to behave as if no one lives above them. The administration is the “bad guy” in this situation; they’re the one making an employee live in this situation and they’re the ones not working to promote mutual respect between their two tenants.

    1. The IT Manager

      I would not consider the students inconsiderate. They presumably asked for a location to set up a haunted house and were told to use this basement location. This is something to do with building management and placing the Haunted OP in a living space that picks up normal sounds from the meeting room below her. It’s 50% poor design, and 50% poor management to think someone could live in the conditions the LW described.

      1. Charityb

        I totally agree that majority of the blame is on the building and management, but I think getting the OP in trouble because she complains about the noise is a pretty mean thing to do. They have to know by now that the noise is bothering her and they’re persisting. I don’t blame the students for this situation since they didn’t get to pick where they live or where OP lives but they apparently aren’t trying to keep the noise down even a little bit.

        Again, I don’t think that there’s too much they can do differently about the broader since even normal conversations bother the OP, but hosting a haunted house when you live underneath someone else after you already know that they are sensitive to noise is pretty much disregarding your neighbor completely.

        1. fposte

          I think it depends on the complaints. “Don’t play frisbee loudly on the lawn at 3 a.m.” is a very different complaint from “Don’t play frisbee loudly on the lawn at 3 p.m.”

          I was thinking that this might be a big enough group of students that they wouldn’t all know about one another’s encounters with the OP’s situation, but you might be right that they just could be souring on the OP as she’s souring on them.

          1. Charlotte Collins

            I wonder if the students aren’t actually aware of the set-up. It’s possible that they know the OP works there but aren’t aware that she lives there. Perhaps they don’t realize that there are people living in an apartment on location? Granted, noise is annoying in an office environment (there’s a reason my ear buds are in right now), but not in the way noise invading your living space is annoying. So,t hey might think the OP is being cranky but not realize that this is her home.

            1. Charityb

              That’s a good point. I kind of assumed that this was all the same group of students but that’s not really a fair assumption since it sounds like this basement is used for activities for the entire campus and even outside groups like the middle school marbles group. I think it’s a little crazy that the administration thinks that this arrangement makes logical sense though; it’s the equivalent of living on top of a convention center or a student union. It’s not reasonable for the OP to have to put up with that noise all the time and it’s not reasonable for students to not be able to have normal conversations at all because of the building’s architectural quirks. 24/7 quiet hours are probably unenforceable for an entire year.

        2. Kyrielle

          But this isn’t someone hosting a personal haunted house in their room, this is a group of students (who may or may not normally even be in this building?) who asked for a space for a haunted house and were given a room in the basement below the OP.

          Which is not the students’ fault, and these particular students may in fact be totally unaware of the issue.

          1. Charityb

            That’s a good point. I think I made a bad assumption that this was just one group of students the whole time. It’s probably different people each time, and that just highlights the problem of leaving it up to the OP to complain about the noise to every single person who uses that space. The administration really should let her live somewhere else, even if it’s just elsewhere on campus with better acoustics.

  18. AndersonDarling

    I’m seeing this from a different angle. Is it the boss’s problem that the living accommodations are not working out? Or is it HR’s problem? I would assume that the OP should be making complaints to HR because they were the ones who negotiated the living arrangements and they are the ones who can make changes. The OP’s boss may be ignoring the complaints because she simply can’t do anything.
    I’d skip the boss and just work this out with HR.
    (Or the boss may have arranged the contract, so I’m off base.)

    1. fposte

      I’m just seeing this as a bad fit; an in-residence job on an active campus requires a pretty high tolerance, and it doesn’t sound like the OP is ever going to be truly comfortable there. I totally get that–it would be a bad fit for me, too, at this point in my life. I suspect it sounded less disruptive in theory than it turned out to be in reality.

      1. Sara M

        I agree. I feel for you, OP, but this may not be the right job for you. You need your quiet and recovery space from work, and living on campus isn’t compatible with that.

        I’d look for temporary measures to get through this contract, and I’d be jobhunting. I’m so sorry–I wish I had better advice.

        1. Meg Murry

          I agree. If (big if) OP were able to move to a different apartment space on campus, I suspect she would find similar issues with noise coming in through the walls/heating ducts/windows/floors/ceilings. Living on a college campus is just plain loud – I can’t imagine they would be able to find her another space that would be quiet, unless there is some kind of mythical staff penthouse apartment on the top floor of a high rise. And even not on a college campus – living in any shared housing space close to your neighbors is generally noisier than living in a private house by yourself.

          I am also curious whether OP’s job requires her to live in this building (for instance, is she a French tutor who lives at the French house?) or just in a campus provided apartment, and if she might be able to apply to move to a different apartment for next year, or even next semester. But even so, I suspect moving will just bring up a new set of problems with different noises, or smells, or lights shining in the windows or some other circumstance that I couldn’t even think of. I wonder if this is a known issue – where I went to school, it was known that some of the staff apartments were pretty mediocre and some were large but loud, others were tiny but had good heating/AC, and a very few in the newest buildings were actually really pleasant. Apparently every time someone took a new job there was a domino effect of everyone moving up the chain to the next nicest apartment, and it was always one of the crummiest ones left for the newest staff members.

          OP, is the sound coming in the pipes directly in your apartment, or do the pipes in the basement make a weird echo? Would putting foam pipe insulation (available at Home Depot, it’s pretty cheap) deaden the noise? It might make it cold if you are blocking your heating pipes, but maybe just a little bit would kill the noise? Alternately, can you get a big box fan or other white noise? I don’t think that would help with the haunted house noise, but maybe it would at least help for marble night?

          I feel for you on the Haunted House though. Have you found out the hours they will be running it? There was a Haunted House run out of a dorm basement at a nearby campus when I was a kid, and it was geared at elementary aged kids – so it wasn’t all that loud, and I think it only ran for a couple of weekends on the early evenings (like Saturday from 4-7 pm) – not late at night like I think you might be fearing. So maybe it won’t be as bad as you fear? I almost wonder if it is the campus near where I lived (the basement used for activities, next door to the student garden sounds like it) but I suspect this kind of setup is actually pretty common on lots of college campuses. If by some chance it is that college (the building is known as the dirty hippie co-op) though – be aware that the Haunted House might not be the worst of your problems – there are crazy parties that happen there in the spring once the weather warms up.

          So basically, this was my long, rambling way of saying OP probably needs to live off campus for her next job, because it sounds like campus living is not for her.

  19. Student

    Your boss is a coward. Take advantage of that. Just move off campus.

    Move somewhere close by, so you can still fulfill whatever this job requires of you for being on-call. What’s the boss going to do? Fire you for moving, after you made it clear the living situation was untenable and tried to be reasonable about it? No. Boss is a coward, boss won’t say anything or do anything that would cause the boss serious inconvenience.

    What would you do if this was a bug infestation? Or utilities problem? Or anything else more “socially acceptable” as a problem at a university? Serious question. You do what you need to do to ensure your housing is reasonable.

    1. Artemesia

      the rent is part of her compensation — this would cost her thousands that she doesn’t have.

      1. Charityb

        That’s probably the issue actually. If she moves off campus, her pay probably won’t increase automatically to accommodate that. Even if she had permission, it might not do that.

    2. Zillah

      What’s the boss going to do? Fire you for moving, after you made it clear the living situation was untenable and tried to be reasonable about it? No. Boss is a coward, boss won’t say anything or do anything that would cause the boss serious inconvenience.

      I really disagree with this. I think it’s a theoretical discussion in any case, since the OP said above that housing is a part of their compensation and they can’t afford to move off campus without a substantial raise, but even if that was an option, you’re making some pretty significant jumps here that I don’t see a lot of evidence for.

    3. neverjaunty

      Yes, Boss could very well fire OP and her husband (who are both employees) for moving. We already know that Boss is happy to confront OP about students complaining about OP. I don’t think it’s a stretch to guess that Boss could and would fire OP.

  20. GigglyPuff

    I feel you OP. I’m currently leaving my apartment for neighbor issues, the secondary one being noise. They play their radio on the patio, which is less than ten feet from my bed. So while it isn’t “loud” enough for multiple people to report it, I’ve spent way too many nights on my couch.

    Having to be awake or having to wait until your neighbors go to sleep, so you can, is one of the worst.

    1. Malissa

      I leaned out my bedroom window one night and told my neighbor I could hear everything she was saying at she sat in her driveway 10 feet from my window. She didn’t realize it. Life was much quieter after that.

      1. GigglyPuff

        Oh, they know. They really really know. My complex mgr basically told me to call the cops after certain hours, there was nothing they could do before city noise hours, even though complex rules had noise limits starting an hour sooner. Anyway they definitely know, have gotten multiple letters, and came and cussed me out after the last one they got. As it’s gotten colder, they’ve gotten better, since they don’t go outside as much, and the #1 reason I’m leaving is their cigarette smoke since they smoke inside, it comes into mine. Fun.

        I don’t mind regular apt noises, but music for 12+ hours every weekend, some weekdays, until midnight or later. It slowly drives you up the walls, and has even made me paranoid about noises now.

        1. Elizabeth West

          I hate people like that. Truly, madly, deeply. They make me wish bad things. In my neighborhood, it’s houses, but there have been issues with pocket bikes (dumbest thing on earth) and boom cars. There is a special place in Hell for boom cars.

          1. Honeybee

            Ugh, I think you live in my old neighborhood, except you said houses. I lived in NYC so it was all apartment buildings, but we had the same problems – pocket bikes zipping around making odd noises, boom cars rolling down the block at 2 am, and – the best – a group of teenagers who used to sit outside on their stoop during the summer and boom loud music from a stereo from approximately 12 am to 5 am or whenever the cops finally came to make them stop. A bunch of us neighbors essentially took turns calling the police.

    2. HeyNonnyNonny

      Say something!
      Our townhouses have outdoor patios that are right next to rooms– not everyone uses theirs as a bedroom, but we do. I had to ask our neighbors to be quiet on their patio one night, and it seemed like they just didn’t realize that’s where we were sleeping and we could hear them. They’ve been very considerate since!

      1. Artemesia

        I had a neighbor who rolled his parrot out in a giant cage into his driveway right under our bedroom window at 7 am or so — the thing would shriek, imitate car alarms and repeat over and over again ‘hey,Mom’ ‘hey, Mom’ ‘Hey, Mom’ . . . ..

        We liked to sleep in one weekends and it was driving us nuts. He did delay the parrot roll out till 8 am when we asked him to do so.

    3. Lindsay J

      Yeah, not a tenant problem (everyone in my small apartment complex is quiet, and the walls are thick) but I work overnights and so sleep during the day. I’ve done this for a long time and can sleep through most things.

      However, there is a huge luxury apartment tower going up about a block from me. And they have to drill out the roads to lay down sewer pipes or whatever other infrastructure stuff to serve this apartment complex. With that comes beeping of machinery backing up, big truck engine noise and brake hydraulics hissing, hammering, construction workers yelling, etc. Today they were jackhammering right outside my window for what felt like hours.

      Most things I can tune out. That I couldn’t. And there’s nothing I can do about it because they’re working at a reasonable time of day for the rest of the world (start at about 8:30 am I think). I was not a happy camper this morning.

    4. yasmara

      Our next door neighbor used to smoke on her back patio…which was about 6 feet from our bedroom window. There was nothing we could do, but it sucked and even with the window closed, it seeped in.

  21. Ultraviolet

    This sounds miserable and I’d totally hate it. But I think you might be stuck with it until your job search pans out. These are the living quarters always occupied by the people in your position, right? Living there is basically a key part of the job. I don’t mean that it isn’t worth asking about off-campus housing (or maybe university-owned housing right next to campus?) but I wouldn’t put much hope in it.

    For what it’s worth, it sounds like you were left out of the loop in an unfair way with the haunted house business. But I don’t think bringing that up would help this particular issue.

    Can you switch dorms/units with someone else in your position? Maybe someone else wouldn’t mind the noise as much, or would prefer your assignment for different reasons.

    Can you ask about some soundproofing in your living quarters, possibly as part of an accommodation?

    1. TL -

      Yeah, the OP might have a harder time if the people who have had her job before her have lived there without complaint. The boss might be working under the assumption that it’s a reasonable place to live, given that it’s on a college campus, because people have lived there without complaint many times before.

      1. Ultraviolet

        Or more cynically, that they can always get somebody willing to live there for the job, so it’s not really a priority for the boss to improve the livability.

    2. Ultraviolet

      Also, I think it would be a good idea to push hard for that paperwork you haven’t gotten yet. There could be something in there about your rights in this situation. (Even if it’s “you have to put up with absolutely anything that happens in the basement,” that could help you refocus your thoughts to other ways to help yourself.)

  22. Charityb

    I totally agree that majority of the blame is on the building and management, but I think getting the OP in trouble because she complains about the noise is a pretty mean thing to do. They have to know by now that the noise is bothering her and they’re persisting. I don’t blame the students for this situation since they didn’t get to pick where they live or where OP lives but they apparently aren’t trying to keep the noise down even a little bit.

    Again, I don’t think that there’s too much they can do differently about the broader since even normal conversations bother the OP, but hosting a haunted house when you live underneath someone else after you already know that they are sensitive to noise is pretty much disregarding your neighbor completely.

    1. Natalie

      Eh, it doesn’t sound like the students are “persisting” in anything but sanctioned school activities during normal hours. If they are having average-decibel-level conversations in their own dorm rooms or their student garden and still getting complaints, they’re perfectly justified in complaining right back, particularly since they probably don’t know that the OP’s apartment has weird acoustics.

    2. TL -

      But it could actually be really important to the student group that’s hosting – and they may have limited spaces available.

  23. TCO

    I wonder if OP might find some relief by doing some DIY soundproofing. Add fabrics (rugs, drapes, wall hangings), full-wall bookshelves, or fans and white noise machines. It won’t fix the entire issue, and it won’t overpower screaming from a haunted house, but perhaps it could make the daily noise a little more tolerable.

    1. Anon for this one

      Yeah, I would really recommend this.

      I basically live in this situation, except with less noise but bonus people in my house. Essentially, my parent works for a college in a capacity that gives them a house (sorry, being deliberately vague!) and I live with them. We’re also required to host events in our house regularly, and Parent works out of the home office. I have some social anxiety, and it did take some serious getting used to.

      Luckily, we also live in a pretty quiet part of the campus and have well-insulated walls and windows, so sound isn’t too much of a problem. (well, apart from at specific times of the year). I have my room at the top of the house, far away from any guests, and have lots of soft furnishings to absorb noise.

      Can you try and create one safe, quiet room? Wrap the pipes that transmit noise in pipe insulation, hang really big heavy curtains (with lining), get a white noise machine (or use a website or app: pink and brown noise covers voices slightly better) and ask about double glazing any windows if they’re single glazed right now?

      I really feel for you: it took me a full year to get used to living here, and I still have occasional ‘unexpected human in my nice safe house help’ moments. I think long term either moving within campus or some serious sound proofing are the only real options, but maybe temporarily getting one room quieter might help you relax. Good luck!

  24. Malissa

    My read on this is the OP has done good by scheduling to be out when the marble people are there. But expecting to leave or live with a haunted house under you is a whole different deal. I can think of two ways to (sorta) solve this:
    1. Noise cancelling headphones/earplug. Yeah it might suck to wear those in a place where you shouldn’t have to, but it does eliminate the noise problem.
    2. Go to a doctor to get treatment. There might be some meds that can help with this. I’d also ask HR if this could be covered under workman’s comp.
    The permanent solution would be finding a job that doesn’t require living in the fifth circle of Hades.
    My solution wouldn’t work because being too drunk to be on call probably isn’t the best plan here…

  25. TCO

    I wonder if OP could find a bit of relief from the daily noise with some DIY soundproofing. Add fabrics (rugs, drapes, wall hangings), full-wall bookshelves, and fans/white noise machines. They won’t eliminate the screams but they might help absorb some of the other noise.

  26. Dr. Pepper Addict

    I live in a college town and like every other college town I’ve been to, there are apartment buildings off campus but still within walking distance. I don’t understand why it’s so imperative for OP to be on campus and so close to work. What type of administration job is so important that you have to be so close when you’re on call? I mean if OP got an apartment that’s a 5 minute walk away from her building, she could drive there in one minute. I agree with Alison that the problem here is the setup, not the Haunted House.

    OP I really sympathize with you. But I think your well-being is more important than a job. If you really have exhausted all other resources, I would just quit my job and move immediately. I know that’s easier said than done. I know that’s scary but it’s not worth you having to constantly live with having panic attacks.

    1. GigglyPuff

      That’s what I was wondering. I went a small women’s liberal arts college, but we still had off-campus apartments that were owned by the college. About 1/3 were for students, but the rest was rented out to the public.

    2. TL -

      I’ve definitely been to campuses where that’s not actually feasible (high cost of living, not near apartment neighborhoods, no guarantee of parking on campus) so having it as a requirement of the job might be valid.

      My campus, there weren’t any apartments truly within walking distance and there were no roads through campus, only around the edges, so it did actually make sense to have the reslife person in the apartment in the approximate middle of campus (a ten minute walk from anywhere on campus.) Though my university used a building that allowed for relative peace and quiet.

    3. College Career Counselor

      It’s probably not imperative to be on-campus, but the salary is probably so low (when you don’t include the rental allowance) that the OP can’t move off-campus anyway. It may not have actually originally been a requirement, but higher ed has a way of turning what started as a work-around into tradition, if not full-blown requirement.

      1. Elizabeth West

        That would be a big fat no for me. After living on campus during my first round of college, I say nay on doing it again. I didn’t even want to stay in the dorm after freshman year (when we were required to live there).

        1. College Career Counselor

          This is one of the many reasons why I’m in career counseling and not residence life.

    4. Honeybee

      At my university the student services administrators in the on-call rotation lived on campus up several branches of the management tree – I think all the way on up to fourth or fifth-line response. We had apartments that were close enough, but part of it was cost. There were specific apartments that were designated for on-campus personnel and moving to a different apartment would change the cost of the accommodations to the office, and might not even be possible because of space concerns. My university was in a very high cost of living area so paying for non-university owned apartments within a 5-minute radius was not an option.

      I would be a residence hall director again because I generally like living with students and don’t mind the noise so much, but I would definitely tell anyone who didn’t want to live with college-aged students and/or needed quiet and privacy to definitely not take any student services job that required living on campus – even if you didn’t have to deal directly with residents. Because, eventually, you will deal with them. Even the faculty in residence and upper-level student services administrators dealt with residents directly – mostly, their college-aged neighbors who were curious about them and saw the in the hallways or out and about on campus with their children or whatnot.

  27. Tara R.

    Can you try talking to the college students? If I was on a team setting up a haunted house and someone came to me and said “Look, I live right above here and I just can’t handle the noise that’s going to come with this”, I would find another place or give up the idea. Period.

    1. Honeybee

      I think that’s a generous estimate of what most college students would do, though. In my experience, quite a lot of them would say “Well Dean Smith gave us permission to use this space” or “We have the requisition for this space” or “We use this space all the time for events.”

      1. Ultraviolet

        I agree. Even if they felt bad about it, most students would probably not give up that space. It is possible that reminding them they need to finish by the time they agreed to and be relatively quiet during any cleanup would help. But that would address just a tiny part of the OP’s problem I think.

      2. Allison

        Yeah, you’re right. I was in marching band in collage, and we had rehearsal on the football field from 9-11 pm one weeknight per week. Our towns noise ordinance kicked in at 10 pm. One fall we got two noise violations. We (or at least, I, I can’t speak for all 150 of us) felt bad for whoever we were keeping up, but that was the time athletics gave us the field, and we needed to practice then. So we got a dispensation from the police and continued to practice (loudly) until 11 pm. I assume the haunted house club would feel similarly.

  28. Not Today Satan

    This is awful. Everyone I’ve known who lived on campus as an adult (at least professors, I don’t know about reslife workers) had soundproofed units in the dorm specifically for this reason. You have my sympathy, OP. I live near a college, and am surrounded by off campus student housing, and I hate it because of the noise.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian

      It IS awful. My university-department-head boss lives in a very nice residential neighborhood within walking distance of campus. A group of parents started renting the large house next door to his for their college students, who would have loud parties and constant traffic in and out of the house. As soon as he could, he bought the house and rented it to a nice quiet couple, just to keep it from being rented by the college students again. Fortunately, it was the only house in the neighborhood that was being used that way; one can only afford to buy so many houses in order to stop the problem!

  29. T3k

    This letter is bringing back nightmares from my junior year in college. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had noise anxiety and even hearing whispering voices coming through my door from the lobby was slowly driving me nuts, nevermind other noise issues, so I really feel for you OP.

    Since going to an RA/RD is really out of the question, my suggestion is, is there a dorm on campus for upper classmen that has apartments available you could move to? My college had what was known as the “place where seniors go to die” upperclassman dorm because it was so quiet and I freaking loved it. If not, I’d really suggest finding an apartment right off campus if possible.

  30. Haunted (OP)

    I just want to say thanks Alison for responding, even if you think there isn’t much I can do! I am still feeling a bit stuck about it, but hoping for a resolution before the end of next week. As I understand it they may actively be considering the other side of the building where I was originally told it would be, but so far nothing has been said directly to me about it.

    1. Mabel

      Can you get insulating material to wrap around the pipes? Of course this won’t work if they’re inside the walls. If it would help, there is insulating material that can be put on walls.

      I used to live in a very well-insulated building, but each apartment’s front door was, of course, not insulated, and they conducted the most noise. When my partner and her dog first moved in, the dog would bark when we weren’t home, and the neighbors on either side never heard it, but the people across the hall sure did. I felt terrible, and I started researching sound-proofing materials that could be installed (glued?) to the door. Fortunately, we did some additional training with the dog, and he stopped barking in the apartment.

    2. Anon for this

      I have some sensory issues so I can totally sympathize. When there are people trimming hedges or mowing the lawn outside my office I literally cannot work. I browse the internet until they are done. But, I also learned that when a noise won’t go away, I eventually get used to it and am not as bothered by it anymore. The building next to mine is under construction. (Knocked down and being rebuilt). There were days I thought I was going to cry from all the unpredictable noise. Sudden booms, etc. But, a week or two in, I found myself getting work done and not that on edge from it anymore.

      I know you shouldn’t have to put up with this in your own house. However, have you ever forced yourself through the noise (rather than escaping the noise) to see if you eventually adapt to it. If you haven’t, I would suggest trying it with this haunted house since you at least know there is an end point. Your anxiety might get worse first but then you might find it gets a lot better. Obviously talk to your therapist or doctor first.

      I basically learned that I do adapt, I just take a heck of a lot longer to do so and I’m much more miserable in the process.

      1. Carpe Librarium

        One problem I can foresee with this is the OP getting used to the noise over the course of 2 weeks then, just as OP is able to tune it out and live happily, the haunted house packs up and OP can’t relax without the soothing soundtrack of bloodcurdling screams at erratic intervals.
        Maybe that would move OP’s job search into new and exciting territory?

      2. misspiggy

        It’s a good experiment to try once or twice, but some people go through hell because their brains just won’t adapt in this way.

    3. Meg Murry

      Could you or your husband “volunteer” to help, and then “helpfully” suggest that the other half of the basement is better [because it’s spookier, because it has less windows, because it’s closer to the doors going in and out, because it’s larger, basically any reason you can find]?

      Alternately, as a nuclear option – does the local fire chief know the basement is being used for these activities? Does it have proper egress (doors/stairs leading directly to the outside, properly lit emergency exit signs, fire alarms and/or sprinklers)? Our local fire chief is known to be a real jerk about shutting down any event in a basement that doesn’t meet his very strict egress standards, even one off special events that are taking reasonable crowd control measures. One “concerned resident” phone call might shut it down.

      1. TL -

        I would not suggest calling the fire chief. That’s only going to harm the students, who have probably worked very hard on this + spent a good deal of their club’s limited budget + will probably find out who did it. (And the op may earn a reputation that will be detrimental to doing their job correctly.)

  31. Lizzieb

    I’m having a hard time feeling a ton of sympathy on this one. The OP took a job with college kids and agreed to live on campus, in a residence hall. Did you really think it would be quiet? To me, this is like taking a nighttime job as a taxi driver and then complaining that you have to drive drunk people. It sounds like totally normal res hall noise is bothering the OP. Complaining about how the college uses its space isn’t going to go far. Honestly, it’s no wonder the students have complained that you’re complaining. Your expectations sound totally out of line with the requirements of the job.

    1. Kyrielle

      But did OP reasonably expect acoustics where people talking on other floors in conversational voices, particularly in a gathering room in the basement, sound as if they were in “the next room over”?

      That’s TERRIBLE acoustics, and it’s going to make the loud nature of on-campus college spaces even worse. Because yes, college kids are loud – but that’s not even “people being loud” – it’s people being normal, and horrible acoustics. Thus, anyone being loud and screaming will sound like they’re screaming “in the next room over” presumably – which would be awful.

      If the space can be better soundproofed, that would be great. Otherwise, getting out is in OP’s best interests. But I don’t think a reasonable person would anticipate acoustics THAT bad when measuring how the living quarters would affect them.

      I can see being willing to tolerate “college dorm” levels of noisy but not being able to sleep when it sounds like a horror story is being enacted in your living room, or marbles are being shot under your refrigerator.

      1. Ad Astra

        Yeah, when I lived in a college dorm, I couldn’t hear people speaking in normal voices on a different floor while I was in my room. It doesn’t sound like the boisterous nature of college living is the issue; it’s the acoustics of this particular building, and the fact that they continue to schedule loud activities in a basement directly below residents’ apartments.

      2. Formica Dinette

        “But did OP reasonably expect acoustics where people talking on other floors in conversational voices, particularly in a gathering room in the basement, sound as if they were in “the next room over”?”

        I think this is key. I’m imagining this situation is similar to something some friends of mine went through. For many years, they lived happily in an early-20th-century building that had been converted into apartments. When new upstairs neighbors moved in, they began doing something the old neighbors had never done: sitting in the kitchen and talking late at night. Even though the kitchen was two floors above my friends’ bedroom, it sounded like the neighbors were *right there*. My friends asked the neighbors to move their late night conversations elsewhere–like the living room–but the neighbors refused. Eventually, my friends gave up and moved. The neighbors weren’t being too loud; it was just weird acoustics.

  32. xarcady

    Has the OP ever invited the boss to the apartment when noise downstairs is happening? That’s what I’d do with a landlord who was ignoring my complaints about the noise. It is possible that no one, except those who have lived in this apartment, realize the extent to which noise carries.

    And if the powers that be can be brought to realize this, they might also be persuaded to add some sound-proofing to the basement and the OP’s apartment, if they can’t be brought to ban activity in the basement room below the OP’s apartment.

  33. Allison

    I share a balcony with a neighboring apartment, and in September a couple college kids moved into it and would have social gatherings on the balcony, which would often be noisy. And they smoked awful, skunky weed out there which only made it worse. But any time I got annoyed, I’d remind myself that unless it’s interfering with my sleep, there was no reason for me to interfere with their good time. Besides, it was temporary, sure enough now that it’s too cold to be outside without a coat, they keep the parties inside.

    If this haunted house is running late and interfering with your ability to get enough sleep, that in turn impacts your work, so it’s a totally legit reason to complain or request a move. If it’s just annoying and you have to turn the volume up while watching TV in the evening, or keeping you from having a quiet dinner, that makes the situation less than ideal but you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone that it’s a problem unless you invite someone with influence over for dinner. Soundproofing may be the best compromise.

  34. UsedToDoSupport

    I waited until this afternoon to comment because I hate going first!

    Honestly, this living situation sounds like great fun to me. It also sounds like this simply isn’t the right job for you. It may be you need to just call it and leave the job and the apartment now rather than wait for a new job to materialize. Your living situation just isn’t right for you and it’s bound to affect your health.

    1. misspiggy

      Trouble is, it’s the OP’s husband’s job and home at stake too – so no income at all if they leave.

  35. The Strand

    Is it possible for you to detail more about your position? It sounds like you do work in student affairs because you have on-call rotation. It’s rare for non-RD positions to be on-call, and can actually indicate poor management on the part of the school, lack of staff, or stinginess (getting you to work for less money). If you are an Associate Dean and living in on-campus… It’s pretty rare, but that would also be a huge red flag, in that you feel that the RD who runs the dorm has more say than you do.

    On the one hand, I agree that noise comes with this role – during the day, and non-quiet hours. But it was agreed on that the haunted house location was supposed to be in one place, and then moved without communicating this to you or making allowances for you.

    Here’s a scenario I can imagine: your supervisor says, “It’s going to be here,” to you, about the other location. Due to miscommunication or confusion, weeks later the RD tells the student group they can have the other location. They start working on it; the supervisor tells the RD this was a mistake, but doesn’t want to undermine her staffer by pulling the plug. When you complain, she then forwards the message image to the RD to show that this was an issue, rather than taking the bull by the horns, and stalls you on a direct answer, hoping you’ll just accept the turn of events.

    So, I lived on campus for two different student affairs positions, where I was managing students and had on-call responsibility. My second position, I was at a horribly managed school struggling to turn over a new leaf. You might be overreacting, but you might also be in an extremely unprofessional environment, as I was. Do what you need to do for your sanity.

    In hindsight, things I learned:

    1) Earplugs.

    2) Most of the time, the people who are actually in these positions are themselves not that long out of college (one of my colleagues was a recent graduate, aged 22, and had only worked as a RA; I started one position six months before I graduated). Because these people transition directly from college into an authority role, into an environment that they are (as graduates) already very accustomed to, this leads to overconfidence about their knowledge and ability. For example, my young colleague believed she was qualified to provide psychological counseling and training, instead of referring students to our actual, licensed psychologists on staff.

    This could be why your supervisor doesn’t see the haunted house noise as a problem, because she still lives a lifestyle tied so closely to her own college years, keeps late hours, and overtly identifies with the students. (The worst RDs want to be “friends” with their RAs and students; they have difficulty setting boundaries or enforcing rules).

    3) A college campus can be a microcosm of every problem in the world, and that’s even if it’s well-managed and has excellent staff. If your campus is an actual mess, this could partly be why your supervisor doesn’t see this as a problem. “It’s just noise”. My main concern, when I was handling on-call, was that none of the kids died or got injured on my watch. If I’d been on call or in a meeting where we had a sexual assault or a bomb threat, or where one of us had to go to the hospital with a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning… Yeah, we could become very blase about a little noise.

    4) How your school handles the relationship with helicopter parents says a lot for how your needs will be valued and managed alongside that of “customers,” excuse me, “students”.

    5) Last but not least, my experience has been that a certain personality type is more likely to head into residence life: cheerful, even perky, extraverts. That is OK. I definitely get energy from being around other people.

    Now, I had two “perky” colleagues who pressured me, constantly, to have my social life revolve around students and the campus. I needed an outside life for my own sanity. Later on I really thought about how weak their boundaries were. They rarely left campus; their outside social lives were limited. I didn’t sign up for that.

    I would look hard at the boundaries your colleagues have for themselves. Do they essentially live the same lives as their students? Do they draw any lines for themselves? Are they very extroverted and expect you to be the same? Is that why they can’t get that well, having a Haunted House below you for several days is taxing on the nerves, and not, you know, “fun”? I’m assuming that you work a normal 8-5 schedule too.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think that in a pinch, Student’s solution might be worth it. It has been done before. If you have to quit this job, you’ll have to move anyway. I wish I’d moved part-time into another location, frankly, before I quit that last job.

    Crazy story about one of my predecessors in this last, terrible job I had in this field. She loaded up a moving van on a Wednesday morning, in the dead of night, long before the semester ended, and then escaped into the night.

    Don’t let it get to this point. Talk to your counselor about strategies. Get a pair of earplugs. Find a trusted friend or family member whose house you can visit once a week.

    1. Haunted (OP)

      You seem to have a good grasp on my situation, and a lot of insight that I appreciate. I am not a RD but we are an institution in a rural location where people wear many hats to cover lack of enough staff overall. Most of my co-workers are as you describe; the extroverted perky type, and I am (as you can guess) much more introverted which is why I am in more of an operations position rather than directly supervising any halls. My supervisor is most definitely extroverted, perky, a cheerleader-type, and the administrative assistant and I have occasionally been frustrated when a student or helicopter parent will ask about a policy, the admin assistant and I will clearly explain it to them and why we have it, and then when they complain to my supervisor about the policy because they don’t like our answer and she will make an exception for them. I have told others close to me that students know they can just go straight to her and she’ll give them their way. So yes, I think that’s why she either can’t understand it or doesn’t want to upset the student group by going back on allowing them that room.

      I probably won’t up and leave in the dead of night, but I am looking to move anyway to a larger city in my search, and I am surprised that several people have said this job isn’t worth my health, definitely gives me more to think about.

      1. neverjaunty

        Working for a manager who violates policy and undermines staff because she’s spineless is itself a reason to switch jobs, really.

  36. Alex

    I have a similar problem, although not quite as dramatic with the whole haunted house thing! I also live in campus housing because I need to be on-call for students. I’ve been living there for a year, and last year I had no problems because the apartment below me was empty. This year, two students have moved into that apartment, and while they are generally nice and courteous people, they definitely live the student lifestyle of coming home in the wee hours of the night (think 2-3am, even on weeknights). There is a common entryway for both of our apartments, and the door dividing my apartment and the entryway is a very thin, wooden door (not an exterior door). I asked maintenance if they could replace this door with a heavier door, not only for the noise, but also for safety (I’m not worried about the students themselves, but the fact that my downstairs neighbors could forget to lock our shared outside door, and then anyone could come in the entryway and my thin wooden door is not great protection. Anyway, maintenance said no, because “if they say yes to me they will need to change all of the inside doors and they don’t have this in the budget.” Frustrating.

    1. UsedToDoSupport

      Pretty easy job, I would come over and do it for you if I could. Save the old door and put it back when you move. Not that I ever every did anything like that in college. lol

  37. neverjaunty

    “I have no signed documentation with the college about my rights as a tenant or terms under which they could evict us, etc. Obviously I would love to have this paperwork, but in case you couldn’t guess, there are several things lagging behind here a bit. ”

    The first thing you need to do, OP, is get that paperwork. Immediately. Do not pass Go, do not take “oh, it’s not ready yet” for an answer. I will bet you a banana split that there are things in that paperwork about your rights that Boss and housing don’t want you to see, like telling you that you have the right of quiet enjoyment of the properly, who you can complain to, and what your rights are.

    This is not “lagging”. This is a legal document that is being withheld from you.

    1. Haunted (OP)

      I think you’re right that I definitely need to get a license agreement in order no matter what, and I happen to know my state covers right to quiet enjoyment whether it’s written in a contract or not.

  38. Cucumberzucchini

    I really feel for you OP. I had a really hard time adjusting to living in my campus apartment as a JR/SR (lived at home before that.) I’m a troubled sleeper and any noise keeps me up. Then when I hear noise it makes me anxious about not being able to fall asleep and then I have a harder time falling asleep from the anxiety.

    The only thing that allowed me to survive, not become a sleep-deprived zombie, was foam earplugs. This isn’t going to solve all your problems but at least for sleep it should help. It won’t help bass vibrating your bed though :(

    I also had the noise problem with my condo. My downstairs neighbors were horrendous and no amount of police or condo board involvement helped. I finally had to move.

    Then I moved to an older house with no sound-proofing with a ton of nearby train intersections. The train horn blares a million decibels multiple times throughout the night.

    So I’m on about 11 years of sleeping with ear plugs now. Blah. I dream of the day when I afford to re-insulate and re-window my entire hours and soundproof my bedroom and … somehow keep my husband from snoring.

    At least in my experience nobody cares about students making noise on campus, so unless they can move you to an honor dorm that might be quieter I’m not sure there’s much else you can do.

    I’m curious if devices like this really work, not sure if they do but something like this might be worth trying:
    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/170649-sono-a-noise-cancelation-and-isolation-device-that-sticks-on-your-window

  39. Carpe Librarium

    There are apps you can download to your smartphone that are great for monitoring noise issues – my dad used one to document a neighbour’s dog barking in the night.
    The app will record noise levels, the noises themselves, the start times and end times etc. An objective record like this might be one way of supporting your argument for how frequent and how disruptive the basement sounds are.
    Just be sure to check your local laws regarding recording conversations, you may need to look for an app that records the volume and duration of the noise but doesn’t capture the noise itself. Since you’re out of the apartment during the marbles gathering, that could be a good time for clean data – no ambient sounds from you in your apartment.

    Seconding other commenter’s suggestions of exploring soundproofing options.

  40. entrylevelsomething

    I just want to offer sympathy- that sucks, and it’s appalling that you fear retribution if you complain. When I was a resident advisor in college, three of the residence directors lived in our (very large) dorm building. When any one of them had a noise complaint, we got a call/text on the duty phone and were expected to deal with it ASAP.

  41. Patty

    You need to get that space occupied by something quiet, like storage… I’m guessing there are projects that you can influence, like setting up a student lounge elsewhere, that include cleaning up another area and moving that stuff into the space below your apartment.

  42. Kate Heightmeyer

    [I]When I saw the subject of your email, I was so hoping it was a real haunted house.[/I]
    I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  43. Mr. Charles

    I really swear that my office building is haunted. The building I am in cannot keep a night security guard for more than two days. One morning coming into work I found one of them hiding under a desk in our office mumbling something about the eighth floor and it sees all. He really freaked me out, because I am on the seventh and their are no offices on the eighth floor, even though I have heard footsteps above me during the day.

    1. M. S.

      What used to be there ?

      If it was an IT department, Leave a 6 pack of Mountain Dew and some Doritos to appease the spirits of the coders there :)

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