Are Your Human Rights More Right Than Mine?

31 01 2010

When I say HUMAN RIGHTS, you may think about a trafficked sex slave, a child soldier, a raped woman prosecuted for adultery in a Muslim country, a woman in China who is pregnant with a second child being forcibly taken to a hospital and given an abortion, and the people in earthquake-ravaged Haiti who need food, water, safety, and shelter.

But what about the basic human right to live in peace and quiet in your own home? Most cities…including my new city of Berkeley, California…have ordinances that proclaim that this is a right of residents. Even my own apartment lease declares this one of the rules that residents must abide by.

For over a month I have lived under a family of four who choose not to respect this basic human right.  I moved here from out of state and never saw this apartment except on videotape before moving in. I rented the apartment next door and due to the mold there, was moved by my landlord into this apartment…completely unaware that I’d be moving under a family with two young children.

The family plays drums (which the lease says is not allowed), loud thumping music, allows the boys to run up and down the halls (this sounds like a stampede since there are hardwood floors and no carpet), slams windows and doors, stomps around, argues loudly…everything is done LOUDLY. They tell me they are just living their life.

Who’s to say that me living my life doesn’t include playing my stereo really loudly at 3 a.m. or that I have to turn up my television as loud as it goes because that’s the way I like it or I need to plug my amplifier into my keyboard and play it loud so I can really get the feel of the music when I play it? (I haven’t done any of those things, but sometimes it is tempting.)

I have spoken twice with the mother/wife. The last time, when I calmly explained that the noise was unbearable, she screamed at me and threatened me. She said I had “no right to come from Texas and tell her to be quiet in HER neighborhood.” She also informed me that her children were going to continue doing what they were doing that was so loud and they were going to do it ALL DAY LONG.

My neighbor asserted to me that she and her family have MORE rights than me because they were here first and they are a family (and I’m a single woman). I pay rent here too…no less than they do…and my lease reads the same as theirs. I’m protected by the same city laws as they are that give me the right to peace and quiet in my own home.

I’m saying all this not to complain, but to show how absurd it is when one person proclaims they have more rights than another person and that their rights are more important than another person’s. You could substitute anything going on in the world in exchange for this story and see how ridiculous it is…and yet we do it all the time. My neighbor and her family have a sense of entitlement and so they do whatever they want to do without any regard for my rights.

My landlord/apartment owner has little regard for my rights also…rights that they even decreed in the rules we all signed. Instead of asking these people to leave, I am being let out of my lease. The neighbors will then be allowed to intrude on the rights of the next person(s) who live(s) where I do now. And me? I am spending my time, energy, and money to move to another place where my basic human right of peace and quiet in my own home will be respected.

How often do we let the people who intrude on our human rights or those of others continue? Or perhaps we perceive the person who had their rights violated as a complainer and the violaters just bully us into letting them do whatever they feel they are entitled to do?

In my case, I could go to the city and complain and could probably force the issue so that the people above me are evicted and I could stay here. I choose instead to no longer rent an apartment from a landlord who doesn’t back up the rights they guaranteed me and to no longer live under people who are so disrespectful and scream at me to my face that their rights matter more than mine.

For 5 weeks I’ve felt victimized by these people…the neighbors and the non-acting landlords. Now I’m taking my power back and moving to a place that will be a refuge.  Peace and quiet are an important basic human right to me. I need it to survive…and to thrive.

Do you think your rights are more important…or more right…than those of other people? Are you respecting the rights of others?




7 responses

24 02 2010

Did you cope with that eventually? I wonder. If you did, I also wonder how.

26 02 2010

Very nice site!

10 07 2010
Barkha Dhar

What a wonderful and sensible post that mindfully explains the meaning of Human Rights. Sorry to hear such bad experiences though. Hope you enjoy the right to peace in your new place.

7 01 2011

Glad you got the issue settled. Honestly, if a landlord doesn’t care about enforcing the lease with all tenants, you’re probably better moving before something else goes wrong.

23 11 2011
Joy M.

Thank you, Ive begun to think it is/was just me, But what I cant seem to understand is why are so many of us suffering & being repeatedly tortured 24/7 & these unrespectful & obviously unwise continually geting away with it, as well as the landlords& local police who literaly get away with not even citing them. Im 49 disabled with curr.serious health battles & moved into a 9th flr HUD apt bldg 2yrs ago after I was lied to that they have no noise problms. here. the apts are very small 1bd rms. & the crck hd above me has 7 of her Grndkids from age1&1/2 to 10 scretching banging &all the same unreal nonstop misery you mentioned & HUD & local police doing notta! even after listening to the endless audio recordings Ive begun to Record& all my pleading & newly damaged hearing loss has not even budged a 1 to compassion to stop it. please pray God will financially bless my fixed income & Jesus supplies me quickly with a new home void of my curr. tortures. again Thank you for sharing your missery. J.

23 01 2012

I cannot tell you how harmful and frustrating it is to be living below such trashy and inconsiderate people who have very loud hardwood floors. I live in a condo in California and apparently nobody protects the rights of people that live below idiots who have hardwood floors that are too loud.

I am constantly harassed and woken up during the night, sometimes up to 5 times a night, no joke. I have talked to these idiots, wrote them a letter politely asking them to please do something to stop making so much noise but they refuse to do anything so I live in hell.

This has been going on for far too long; a few years and I’m finally fed up with their BS. I am looking into ways of making them pay for all the health issues, lost sleep, unable to work, etc. damages they have caused me. So far my research leads me to believe the only thing I can do is sue these scumbags in small claims court.

Can anyone please help me fight these morons and make them remove their hardwood floors?

Please help me.

I’ll check back here for any advice.


23 01 2012
It Dawned On Me

You know, as much as I felt like my similar situation was not my fault, I finally decided that the only way I would have peace is if I was the one to move. I accepted the cost to move…and it has been so worth it. I’d recommend stopping the fighting and get out. Your peace of mind and health are worth way more than being right. Good luck.

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