I live in Australia in a block of flats. We are the middle flat of three. Each flat has a front and back balcony. Due to the nature of the flats the back doors will bang in the wind if not secured - this will be a constant loud bang, every 5-10 seconds which is loud enough to penetrate ear plugs due to its short sharp nature.
Not too soon after our upstair neighbour moved in she left her back balcony door open when she went for an early morning walk. It banged and woke us up at 6:30 am which was very frustrating. We left her a friendly note and also some supplies to attach it (normal string will break in a few days due to the stress from the wind). In the preceding days the door was secured so it didn't bang. She decided not to use our method. (although I find it difficult for notes not to be passive aggressive we attempted to write it in a light friendly manner trying to be helpful and not judgemental).
Wind forward 3 months and into a heat wave. She left her door open over night to encourage a slight breeze but unfortunately it came loose at 2:30 in the morning. This woke my wife up and then woke me up about 30 minutes later.
Here is the conundrum, what do you do at 3am when a door is banging, how do you contact the person in that house? I decided that knocking on her actual door was not ideal (as the entry way is dark and I am tall) I didn't want to scare our single female neighbour. Instead I went out the front of our property and rang the intercom bell. I rang a few short sharp rings until she answered and asked her to secure her door.
Hello, sorry to bother you but your door has been banging in the wind for about an hour, do you think you can secure it?
Note - I am English so find it hard to be rude even when tired and grumpy.
We slept badly that night but both understood it was a complete freak of nature that shouldn't happen again.
The morning after next we received a letter on our door from her. The basic gist of it was:
- Sorry for waking you up in the middle of the night BUT
- It was a complete accident AND
- You make noise during the day too which I don't complain about
(the tone felt quite aggressive as if the door banging was our fault - also noting legal sections and paragraphs felt completely unnecessary)
Finally she said something along the lines of
I don't feel comfortable with you ringing my door bell in the middle of the night. It makes me feel uncomfortable in my house and you should never do this again in future. Please refer to (section XX, paragraph YY) the noise regulations about noise.
This is the part I am asking my question about:
IF this happens again and I want to respect my neighbours wishes how can I communicate with her to close the door?
I can only think of a few ways to get in contact with her:
- Phone: She hasn't given us her number (we have given her ours and tried to arrange chats) and this might be off or on silent over night
- Front buzzer: She has specifically said she is made to feel uncomfortable by this
- Do nothing: And get no sleep while getting angrier and angrier
- Call the police: This feels like making a mountain over a molehill. As it feels like too small a thing to bother them with. This coupled with the fact that they will just ring her front buzzer anyway which I could do without calling the police. It also feels like an unnecessary escalation for something which should be resolvable anyway.
It is worth noting a few things:
- We have repeatedly tried to chat with her about it, we have given her our numbers, asked her to meet up and even arranged times. She has never messaged us (as agreed) and has always been out at times when we arranged.
- We have given her our phone number and suggested we exchange phone numbers to deal with the noise but have not received any message from her (except paper notes on the door)
- She is around our age (early 30s) so there is not a large age or maturity gap
This question isn't about what we should do with regards to her per se (we need to find a time to chat everything through) but is more about how to communicate that we want to respect her boundaries but also want to get a good nights sleep. I don't want to say "well if we can't contact you we'll call the police next time" but honestly I don't know what we would do (probably ring on the buzzer if it happened tonight). I also don't know whether calling the police is blowing it out of all proportion or whether ringing the buzzer is for that matter.
It is worth noting that we are not keen on launching formal complaints. I feel that a good relationship with your neighbours is important and unless they are being very inconsiderate then it is better to deal with them directly instead of calling body corporate or the estate agent.