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Noise from HDB Neighbor (Would Condos be different?)

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Edroche
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Re: Noise from HDB Neighbor (Would Condos be different?)

Postby Edroche » Thu, 03 Jan 2013 2:39 pm

byseeksconseil wrote:Hi,

I realize that there is another thread on this page about noisy neighbors. But I think my questions are a little different. So I am starting my own.

I came (back) to Singapore in October and moved into an HDB unit last month (renting the entire flat myself). I am having noise issues with the family living above me (4 of them). First of all, they walk with very heavy footsteps (like elephants). Second, I hear furniture being dragged throughout the day.

I feel disturbed and find it difficult to deal with. I have talked to the family twice. But there has been little improvement. I am thinking of the next two steps. 1) Approach HDB for help (I know there is mediation available - I see it on the HDB website) 2) If mediation is not successful, I will move out (probably) to a condo unit (or rather, just a bedroom in a condo unit).

My specific questions are the following:

1) Is it ok for me (the tenant) to approach HDB about the noise problem? Or, would it be more effective if the landlord does it?

The upstairs family owns their unit. I am renting mine. My agent says that it would be better for the landlord to handle the matter for me. My landlord says she is willing to do that, but at the same time, she says she would only be relaying messages, and that things might get confusing. Therefore, she says it would be more effective if I approach HDB myself, which I don't mind actually.

What do you think?

2) If I move into a condo unit, would the footsteps noise problem disappear?

I read from somewhere that some HDB units are made from cheap materials (HDB walls would float on water, I read). Therefore, I was wondering if condos are made from sturdier materials and therefore can absorb footstep noises better.

Indeed, before I moved into this HDB flat last month, I was living in a condo room as temporary accommodation. I did not hear a thing from above when I was living there, footsteps or otherwise. Of course this could mean a lot of things (maybe nobody was living above at the time?). But one possibility is that the materials in condos are better in terms of noise insulation.

What do you think?

I said earlier that I came back to Singapore. In fact, several years ago, I stayed in Singapore for 3 years as a student. For 1 year, I was living in a condo unit; For the remaining 2, I was living in an HDB flat. I did not hear anything from my neighbors above. I am quite surprised that I am hearing footsteps from the family above this time, considering that the floors here are made of concrete (unlike those in the US, for instance, where floors are made from wood – those are really bad).

Lastly,

3) If I have to break the lease, would my agent be obligated to return the agent fees to me?

The lease does not say anything about it, neither does the document which I signed with my agent. The receipt they gave me for the agent fee says it is not refundable. But I would like to know more about the the common practice.

Thanks a lot!


1. We got our noise problems to an acceptable level this problem by getting a local (agent) to speak to them in their own language. You should ask them to help out as there isn't any rules in your favour when it comes to noise and neighbours. None. If they have kids its just your bad luck unfortunately, kids will be kids. Even my own 1 year old has elephant feet in our hdb. Otherwise the problem is that people don't really give a damn about anything outside their own home and may not be as civilised as you may be used to.

2. Its the people rather than the building. No absolute guarantee of a quiet apartment even in condo. They are both made with similar prefabed box materials. I presume that condos would be slightly better. HDB is just slab of concrete with hard tile. Nightmare.

3. Depends on rental contract and how good your agent is.

Good luck with it.

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 03 Jan 2013 6:00 pm

At what age do you envisage that they will learn to respect authority, and who is going to teach them?

Anyway what you do is up to you. Just don't export 'your chaos' into my home.

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 03 Jan 2013 6:30 pm

earthfriendly wrote:I have a very dear friend where our kids play together. European mum. Eat together in restaurant, so many commands to her child,correcting him on his table manners, cannot do this, cannot do that. And during play, cannot act rampugcious and constantly correcting the child. I also get tired after having to sit there witnessing all the lectures, let alone a child. After each session of correction, I would see the boy's downcast eyes. I would just cuddle him and he would gravitate towards me. Living in the western hemisphere, his case is not unique. Sometimes as parents, we have to accept that kids will misbehave and embarass us with their bad manners. Because they are kids.

You sound very much like the explanation why so many Singaporean kids are completely spoiled and socially inept. Don't worry, I know this is not the case (at least for the reasoning part) but hard to ignore some possible cause-effect similarities.

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Postby Brah » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 9:22 am

Our previously quiet condo floor is now subject to a crass young lady (seems local Indian with an American accent) and her sheepish but over 6' American boyfriend.

She talks as loud and annoyingly as she can at midnight and later, for long intervals of 5 minutes or longer, with her trashy girlfriends and their voices reverberating in the common area, on their way to clubs after getting liquored up at their apartment, with no regard to the other families on the floor, taunting them.

Their conversations are surprisingly infantile, at best high-school level, and reek of Spoiled Young Person, as is the Brittany Spears-ish music they blast and shout along to.

Although both are well-dressed young professionals, and he seemingly a decent guy, it's pretty surprising the repeat performances of this woman's exceedingly bratty behavior. Me and mine were like that in college, but we were sequestered away from the general public.

Politely confronting her only made her an even bigger a-hole.

Definitely a parenting fail. Also a boyfriend fail, the guy could do so much better.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 11:13 am

Hi Guys, I am not too sure how the spoilt kids and adults acting like they own the world have anything to do with allowing kids to be kids and advocating for one of their basic need i.e. free play and room and space to burn off all that energy.

When the adults show tolerance and flexibity to those who are different from us (younger in age), they are modeling these values. And kids in turn will learn to be accepting and flexible themselves? I am quite surprised at the reluctance of parents to take kids out to restuarants as they don't want to cause a nuisance. The more we feel the need to hide our kids and be so guarded agaisnst the world, the more we lose as a community. Anyway, I feel very sorry for kids today. I was a carefree and free spirited child, thanks to nice neigbourly folks and a community that is very tolerant of kids. I feel heart felt gratitude towards them and the community as a whole.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 11:33 am

At dinner tonight, next to our table, a family out with their young child, looked less than 1 year. After sometime, kids got antsy and cried a bit. Weather a bit chilly outside, patrons seemed quite tolerant of the scene. Mom remained calm at her table. No need to dash her child out. Enjoying a nice family dinner she greatly deserved. Cooped up motherhood is bad for mental health, you know. Maybe it is a more casual type of setting where tables are packed close together. Right next to the wharf, I was enjoying this slice of humanity while chomping down my ciopino.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 11:37 am

I am not sure what level of freedom we are talking about. All the freedom has its limits so between your and mine approach (if different) it is only about where we draw the line. I take my kid to the restaurant but not all of them and not at all times. Yes, I don't want to be directly or indirectly a nuisance to other people. There are some places where the presence of kids clearly collides with the vibe. These places can be avoided when parents are accompanied with the kids and I don't see much of a developmental favor for the kids to attend such places. There are other places (including restaurants) where all members of the family will be equally welcomed by everybody.
And in any given place one's freedom ends where other people freedom starts (of course within reasonable limits and assumptions) so I can hardly imagine in any restaurant I could let my kid to do what he wants to do. Or did I get you all wrong?

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 11:49 am

We don't go places that are adult themed like clubs. But pretty much we take them where ever we go. We had taken them wine tasting with another family who brought their kids too. A casual winery and it seemed nobody minded and nobody, young or old, was a nuisance. And no one was injured or suffered duress as a result of the kids presence. LOL !

And so when the adults talk about wine tasting, the kids know what it is all about. It is not mystical to them.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 12:02 pm

We take our kid (2yo) to Champagne brunches and such but we don't allow him to do all what he wants meaning he does not go himself alone around eating from other peoples or the buffet tables :) He would do it if allowed. He would also ran around disturbing other people. When he spills his food all over the table, he is asked not to do so. If he would start to yell (does not happen frequently), he would be shished. And I still don't know you mean by "When the adults show tolerance and flexibity".

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 12:20 pm

Don't expect kids to sit up with such a straight posture, sometimes they get tired and antsy and want to lie down on the booth. They get interested in the straws and tried to make origami torpedo out of it. They find different uses for forks and knives. All done within the confines of our own table.

For young child, sometimes they do stray into the other table. When one walks into my table, I just wave hi at him or something. It does not bother me.

I understand that kids have different energy level. Parents have to the be their own judge of their kids. Ours are actually not that rampugcious. I wish they could be more so though! They are a little bit introverted and I have to draw them out. Somewhat reserve. I have to teach them how to open up their hearts to the world. LOL. And living in a an area where people have great needs for privacy does not help.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 12:45 pm

What you mentioned is what I consider a perfectly normal and acceptable behavior and I do not interfere (except with the coming to somebody's else table). I don't know how something like this could be a nuisance to other people.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 1:15 pm

Maybe you have not met the tiger moms of social propriety. Joke aside, there is a great sense of always being very careful, guarded that kids must adopt what is considered proper behaviours. Many of which I don't see benefiting the kids. It makes them fearful, inward thinking, unable to be themselves. They picked up many stereotype ideas, rigid thinking and would come home trying to convert me. "You are not like other mommy" "mommy please don't do that, it is embarassing" . Hey, embarassing yourself, that's part of life.

They are forced to grow up very fast. To act adult-like. A bit sad.

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Postby scarbowl » Sat, 05 Jan 2013 1:41 pm

JR8 wrote:Industrial deafness?

Isn't that when you have two lezzers grinding on your head.


Hey damn, you haven't heard any of it, and yer won't [Nod to SMS and the troops]
"Two lezzers" is a crude reference which explains a lot about your posts.

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Postby JennyJenny » Fri, 11 Jan 2013 2:15 pm

Speaking to Police, HDB and so on will not help to reduce the issue of noise pollution from heavy footsteps. The ceiling of HDB flats tend to be lower than private properties. So perhaps the insulation is not as good. However, it all depends on your luck unless you live on the top most floor of the HDB flat but then you will other issues. If you want quieter living, then perhaps you should consider moving to condominiums.


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