Weekend Roundtable: Neighbors from Hell

We’re going to try something a little different in this week’s Roundtable. Inspired by the new Seth Rogen comedy ‘Neighbors‘ (which is not, as far as I can tell, a remake of the 1981 John Belushi/Dan Aykroyd movie of the same name), we’d like to tell some personal stories about our own very real experiences with neighbors from hell. Please join us to share some of your own stories too.

Mike Attebery

Maybe this is just a movie thing, but hot lesbians are supposed to be every guy’s fantasy, right? Well, when my wife and I moved into our old apartment years ago, the neighbor next door was what I think is described as a “lipstick lesbian.” The fact that she always parked her car in the handicap spot downstairs, and stomped around her wooden floors in high heeled boots day or night, was probably overlooked by the majority of the men in the building, because the moment they went to tell her off, they were thrown by how attractive she was.

We unfortunately shared a bedroom wall with her. When she started dating an equally attractive woman, things got interesting. To be honest, the sounds of endless bedroom interludes, accentuated by “Oh Christina! Oh Christina! OHHHHH CHRISTINA!”, weren’t all that bad at first, but when they happened at 9, 11, 12, 2, 5 and 6 AM for days on end, it started to get pretty damn old.

First it was sort of intriguing. Then it started to stir of feelings of inadequacy. Then we just wanted to get some damn sleep before going to work. By the third night, my wife – who is usually the more reasonable of us, by far – was pounding on the wall by the third go-round and yelling at them to shut up. It was a huge relief when they joined the rest of the world’s couples and started fighting a little more and doing it a whole lot less.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

The worst neighbor I’ve ever had to endure was a bartender who lived upstairs. He’d roll in from work around 4 or 5 AM, and then he’d unwind by noodling around on his electric guitar at ear-bleeding volumes. He and his girlfriend didn’t walk around their apartment so much as violently stomp, so I basically wasn’t able to sleep for that whole summer or however long I lived at that awful apartment. I was so stressed out and so sleep-deprived that I couldn’t keep food down. Bringing in the apartment management and, yeah, even the police just made things worse. I was still in college at that point and didn’t have all that many options, and I vowed that once I was on my own, I’d never, ever, ever live in an apartment again.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been the neighbor from hell a couple of times, though, so I guess turnabout is fair play.

Chris Boylan (Big Picture Big Sound)

Interesting topic. Shortly after we got married, my wife Cristina and I lived in an apartment in Elmhurst, Queens. We had this downstairs neighbor, an older Chinese lady, who was apparently very sensitive to sound, and we had no carpeting in the bedroom. So we’d always tiptoe around very carefully in the bedroom in our socks. Even so, if we were up too late (for her) and she heard the floorboard creak, she would roll some kind of device on her ceiling repeatedly and scream, “Go to sleeeeeep!” I never got to see that device, but it sounded like a paint roller that had metal studs embedded into it.

Anyway, after putting up with this for a few months, and knowing that we would be leaving soon, one night we had had enough. She started rolling her device and screaming, and we jumped out of the bed and did a nice line dance back and forth across the bedroom floor, jumping up and down, doing a little Irish jig. I’d say we kept it up for at least 10-15 minutes. Really worked up a sweat. She called the super to complain, but it was worth every minute.

After me moved, I got her phone number and every few months would call her up at about 2:00 AM and say, “Go to sleeeeeep!”

Tom Landy

I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any neighbors from hell in my lifetime (so far). The worst I’ve experienced was once or twice a year when the parents next door went on vacation, their teenage son had the inevitable party in their backyard. After each drink, the kids seemed to get louder and louder until finally someone had to go over there and let them know that they were being disruptive. It was annoying, especially since my bedroom window was right where they wanted to sit and chat all the time, but at least it wasn’t very often and we have since moved away from there.

Junie Ray

In my post-college apartment days I lived across the hall from a sixty-something-year-old man who suffered from night terrors. Judging from the resinous yellow stains around his door baked in from cigarette fumes, I’m guessing he had lived there 20 years or more. Apparently, the nicotine from two packs of cigarettes a day was not enough to calm his nerves, because sometimes during the night I would be awoken by bloodcurdling screams and ranting things like, “THEY’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE ME ALIVE!”

When I think about the topic, “Neighbors from Hell’, it implies that the neighbor does something malicious or evil towards you, but he never did that. He was just very clearly in his own hell. I bought earplugs.

Luke Hickman

Right before Mrs. Hickman and I were married, we scrambled to find a cheap apartment near the university we were attending. Without researching the area or putting much thought into it, we picked the only good deal around – a two-story townhome/condo-ish apartment with neighbors sharing both walls and the ceiling above us. Had we not been in such a rush, I may have noticed that the neighbors on both sides were complete tools.

Without naming the university, I’ll let you know that the apartment was closer to another university, one that was way too rigid and pretentious for my liking. Our neighbors fit into the category of people that you’d assume attended that university. (If you know where I live, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which college I’m referring to.)

The neighbors to the right were twentysomethings with two kids and a lot of pride. Their noses couldn’t have been any higher in the air. They were the kind of people who wouldn’t say hello when you bumped into them just outside the door.

But the neighbors to the left were the worst. Via rude letters left on our front door, they openly made it known to us that they didn’t like us. They complained that we made too much noise at night, yet would vacuum their own floors at 7 AM. The husband even ruined our front porch. I’d just changed my car’s oil and left the old stuff in a large jug in an area between his front door and my patio. I went into to wash my hands with some Fast Orange and, when I came back out to haul it over to the local Jiffy Lube, the dude had kicked it over so that four quarts of used motor oil covered my entire concrete patio. It took hours to clean and never looked good again.

Josh Zyber

I’ve been driven out of two apartments by bad neighbors. The first was your typical obnoxious asshole who blared loud music at all hours of the night. (This was around 1998, right when Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” became a big hit, and he ran that damn song in a repeat loop for hours on end.) He couldn’t be talked to, and the building management was useless. Mrs. Z and I finally moved specifically to get away from the prick.

We lived in our next apartment for almost 15 years without incident, until the resident crazy-old-bat in the building tried to poison us. Yes, really.

This woman was a real battle axe piece-of-work, but we’d managed to stay out of her way and maintain peace for years. That came to an end the summer before last, when we found ourselves repeatedly choking on the exhaust fumes from her car. You see, her parking space was right below our living room window, and she started leaving her circa-1988 Buick clunker idling for a couple hours a stretch at random times during both the day and night. After the third or fourth occurrence, I went down to the parking lot to ask her to turn the car off, assuming that she’d be sitting in it reading a newspaper or something. But no, the car was empty, running by itself!

It turns out that the woman had the damn thing hooked up with an automatic starter and a timer. Her mechanic had instructed her that she needed to run the engine every day for some reason that sounded pretty dubious to me, and even though she drove it fairly regularly, she also felt the need to set up this timer contraption.

I asked the woman nicely to stop doing this. She blew a gasket that I would have the audacity to tell her that she couldn’t do something she needed to do. I asked if she could leave the car with the mechanic until it was fixed. She screamed at me that she needed the car and couldn’t afford to have it fixed. (Meanwhile, she ran the thing probably 6 to 8 hours every day. I can’t imagine the amount of gas she wasted.) I offered to switch parking spaces with her (our space was in the back of the building, and not under anyone’s window). She flipped her lid that I would want to make a poor old lady like her walk an extra 20 yards to the other side of the parking lot. (The woman was elderly, but she wasn’t immobile or anything.)

No matter how nicely I tried to reason with her, she just became more and more irrational. She insisted that I was making the whole thing up, and that there was no way the exhaust from her car could get into our apartment. (Her tail pipe was literally aimed right into our window.) She started running the car more frequently just to spite us. The toxic fumes flooded our apartment every day. We couldn’t breathe there.

After weeks of this, building management finally forced her to change parking spaces, but we never heard the end of it from the evil old bitch. By this point, we decided that we’d finally had enough of apartment living and needed to buy a house. Although home ownership has certainly come with its own share of challenges, that was the best decision we ever made as a married couple. I feel sorry for whoever moved into our old apartment. I have no doubt that crazy Gloria is still there making their lives miserable.

I bet that our readers have some fun horror stories about neighbors from hell. Let’s hear them in the Comments.


  1. I used to live in a a 3 family townhouse and I was in the middle. To the left of me was this kid who I nicknamed homeboy. Homeboy liked to blast his hip hop music at around 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning at earth shattering levels. This would happen a few times in a month. I think other neighbors called the cops on him but I decided to get my revenge by blasting Tool at around 6:00 in the morning when I got up. My sound system was no where near as powerful as his but it was backed up to the wall of his place so for hours I would blast my metal while I did chores around the house. This happened a few times and I’m pretty sure he understood that whenever he pulled his 2:00 am shenanigans, I was gonna pull my 6:00am shenanigans . I rent the place out now and the girl who lives there says he hasn’t done that since shes lived there, which has been about a year. Maybe homeboy has grown up a little…
    This isn’t really a neighbors from hell type story where I live now, but it is kind of amusing. My neighbors across the street from me leave their windows open all the time to their upstairs bedroom ,which faces my house and on occasion like to have sex with the lights on in the night time with the windows open. It’s like something out of a movie!

  2. Dan

    In college, I lived in a studio apartment one year, and I had a neighbor who would frequently have parties that would go to 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. I had a weekend job and would have to wake up, and would get pretty angry, but it was college and people have parties, so I put up with it for as long as I could. Then he started listening to rap music every night until all hours, even on school nights, and I had finally had enough. I reported him to apartment management three times, and each time they said they would look into it but never did anything. So, one morning after he had his music on all night again I turned on my Irish Drinking Songs disc full blast, turned my radio right toward his wall and went to school. When I came back late that afternoon, I didn’t hear my music through the door, and saw a note from apartment management to come see them. The manager said that if it happened again I would be fined, and at that point I lost it and started screaming about how I had complained repeatedly about my neighbor, that they had done nothing and I felt that playing my music that loud was my only recourse. The manager called my neighbor right then and told him that if the late music and parties didn’t stop he would be kicked out. That pretty much put an end to it.

  3. Scott H

    I have lived in the same apartment for 5 years now and overall haven’t had too many problems with neighbors from hell. Though there have been a couple over the years. One girl who lived next door with her friend was completely crazy as some nights I would hear a ton of cursing and arguing, slamming of doors and cabinets, and one night I heard her tell someone over and over again to and I quote, hit me, come on, I deserve it, hit me. Other times I’d look through the peep hole and see her yelling at someone over the phone at 2 in the morning. I would have mentioned it to the land lady but I think enough people complained that they eventually moved.

    • Scott H

      After that an elderly couple moved in, they were nice but didn’t stay but few months. After them, the worst woman moved in. To preface this story, my complex has a strict no smoking policy in or around the apts. She was fine for 3 months, and then one night the fire fighters came cause she had fallen. After she returned is when things got bad. Many days I and others could hear her alarm clock constantly going off, people,would knock and ask if she could hear it, apparently not. And then she would play her techno music at too high a volume or her tv was set too high. Also at odd hours various guys would come by and then leave an hour later. And then came the smell, she claimed it was incense, but I knew it was cigarette smoke and it came through the cabinets and it was awful. I confronted her once about the noise and smell and she said she didn’t want to be a nuisance to anyone. What a lie. Other times it was so bad I could smell it just outside her door. I told the land lady and she and her maintenance guy entered the apt while she was away, under the claim that they were going to check the pipes to make sure things were good. She got back to me and said they didn’t find any signs of cig buts or ash but the strong smell of deodorizing spray was prevalent. Turns out she was smoking in her apartment and for breaking the lease rules she was kicked out. It was so bad in there they had to repaint and rip up the carpet to clean and get the smell out. Other than those incidents, apt life here has been great.

  4. Alex

    Luke, speaking as one who attended that other university, I have to say I’m really sorry. I swear we’re not all like that. In fact, you probably would have loved my college neighbors who turned one wall of their college apartment living room into a 200″ projection screen and built stadium seating out of couches and plywood on the other side of the room. Man, did they lose their security deposit, but it was awesome.

    • If only I’d have lived closer to you! Your neighbors sound awesome! Where was that at – King Henry? When I lived in ‘The Colony’ as a young single man, that’s what it was like there too. Good times.

      I lived in and loved that city for years. I’d never had any problems like that until we were married. But, man, the awful stereotype was absolutely true in that tiny complex!

  5. William Henley

    I don’t think I ever recall a point of a neighbor from hell. I had a friend across the street a few years ago who she and her sister lived with their step dad who was off his rocker. I pretty much stayed clear of him when I could, he eventually went to jail (they couldn’t prove the “off his rocker” argument, but certainly were able to prove indecency with a child). The guy who lived in the house before then also went to prision for multiple counts of producing….. well, something illegal involving minors. But I never knew him – he went to jail about the time I was moving in.

    The neighbor I have now, though, is bipolar schitzophrantic. 90% of the time, she is the sweetest elderly woman you can find, but every now and then, you can hear her breaking dishes, screaming at no one, punching holes in the walls, etc. She has no furniture at all because she destroys it when she gets like that. I’ve had to call the police in a couple of times because I thought she was hurting herself.

    So I guess I have had some pretty bad neighbors, but pretty much steered clear of them, so it has been pretty quiet.

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