If you talk to a group of apartment renters, you will find that many love their living situation because they do not have to worry about the expenses and responsibilities that come with owning a house. Rather than having to deal with property taxes and maintenance expenses, all they have to do is pay the rent on time.
However if you continue the conversation, you will find out that there is also a potential downfall to living in an apartment, your neighbor. Unlike living in a house where your neighbors are usually next door or across the street, apartments tend to put a larger number of people in a much smaller space. The results can be frustrating if the neighbors do not respect each other's space.
Below you will find a list of unwritten rules to living in an apartment with other people. Some of these may appear in your lease, but many of them have come up over time in response to other people's struggles.
Keep the Noise Level DownWhen it comes to apartment living, the number one complaint is usually related to how much noise the neighbors make. Keep the following tips in mind in order to stay on your neighbor's good side:
- If you live upstairs, try to avoid walking heavily or running across the floor. While it may not sound loud to you, the sound might be amplified for your downstairs neighbor.
- Keep your radio, television, and even alarm clock at respectful sound levels. In some situations, this may require you to turn down the volume at certain hours of the night.
- Try to avoid extremely loud phone conversations or "other activities". Keep in mind that most apartment walls are thin, and it does not take much for your neighbors to hear your business.
- If you are planning on having a party, let your neighbor know in advance (and possibly even invite them over). Your music should still be kept at a decent level, especially once the party hits the later hours.
Share the Parking LotIn some situations, neighbors are responsible for sharing a parking lot. If this is the case where you live, remember these rules:
- Unless you have an agreement with your landlord, do your part to keep walkways and parking spots free of ice and snow. Your postman and pedestrians will thank you for it.
- When having company over, have your friends and family park in alternative parking spots farther away from the building. This could end up being side street parking in some areas.
- If you have assigned parking spots, never park in your neighbor's designated parking place. Also, make sure you never double park.
- Clean up after your car. Address any leaking fluids or broken parts that may be left behind on the ground.
- If you have children, avoid letting them play in the parking lot or around other automobiles. Not only will this keep them safer, it will also decrease the chances that they accidentally damage your neighbor's vehicle.
Keep Common Areas Clutter-FreeDepending on the layout of your apartment building or complex, there may be certain areas that are available to all residents. These include hallways, courtyards, yards, lounge areas, and swimming pools.
- Do not leave your personal articles at the area when you are no longer there. Try not to treat these areas like your own personal storage units.
- Be sure to clean off any grills or picnic tables after using them if your apartment has an outdoor cooking area.
- Never leave your trash outside your door. The smell you are trying to avoid in your apartment can easily take over the hallway. If you can get it to the door, you can get it to the trash can.
- If you have a party in a common lounge area, be sure to clean it up afterwards. Also make sure you replace or report any broken items after the party is over. Ultimately, you are responsible for the guests you invite over.
- Keep the laundry room clean and organized. Throw away any old dryer sheets that may be on the floor, and clean up any detergent spills. If you are able to, make sure the lint traps are clean after using the dryer.
Control Your PetsAnother common problem with apartment living is having neighbors with annoying pets. If you happen to own a pet, consider the following tips:
- If you share a common yard area with your neighbors, remember to scoop up any waste that your pet leaves behind. Keep in mind that animal urine sometimes kills grass. Be prepared to help re-seed if necessary.
- When cleaning a litter box or animal cage, do not leave the old litter or shavings in a trash bag outside your door or in the hallway.
- If you live in an upper level apartment, remember that heavier pets also make noise when they run around. Try to limit your pet's heavy exercise periods to the outdoors.
- If possible, try to limit how much your dog barks. If you know your dog barks at everything that passes by the window, see if there is a way to screen the window. If the dog barks nonstop when you are gone to work, consider a doggie daycare or having someone stop by to take it for a walk.
Pay Shared Expenses On Time
In some situations, neighbors come together to share utility services like trash collection, water, or cable/Internet. Doing this allows both parties to save money, but it also brings about an added amount of responsibility. The rules to shared expenses and utilities are:
- If splitting a utility bill, always make sure your part is paid in advance of the due date.
- If you are sharing trash collection services, do your best to actually share the trash can. Do not fill the trash receptacle with all of your trash and leave your neighbor with no room for theirs.
- No matter how tempting it is, do not steal your neighbor's WiFi connection. Even if it is left open, do not just assume it is available for your use. Take a moment to speak with your neighbor and see if they have a problem with you using it.
- If sharing a washing machine or dryer, try not to monopolize the machine. If necessary, designate certain times or days for each of you to get your laundry done.