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Help – “I Live in the Loudest Basement In DC”

by Prince Of Petworth November 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm 55 Comments

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Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

“Dear PoPville,

I live in the basement apartment of a homeowner who is my landlord. A few weeks ago, my landlord threw a wicked loud party that raged on late into a Tuesday night. When I sent her a text message about it (at 12:00am), I received no fewer than twelve angry text messages in reply, ranging from “I can’t wait until you move out” to “Do not contact me again”. I was instructed to contact the property manager (her close friend) about issues moving forward. He and I had a lengthy conversation, the result of which was basically in addition to being her birthday that night, the landlord is having “personal issues”, so her response was warranted given the context. I’m over that, though a little bitter. I was given the option to break the lease and move out, something I’m considering for January. Needless to say, the tension certainly is enough.

Now, she has turned on the ancient forced heat furnace. She alerted me to this and added a caveat that the furnace has a “hum”. Apparently, that “hum” is a loud, constant, high-pitched ringing noise that permeates through the concrete walls. What’s more, it seems to resonate through the vents in my apartment – and it’s still freezing cold in here.

I measured the noise at a peak of 75 decibels inside my unit, furthest from the furnace (using a smartphone app, efficacy unknown). According to DCRA, any mechanical equipment noise will be measured at the property line (so, outside). I can’t hear it from there, so I wonder if going to them would make any difference. I have sent a text message to the property manager and have not heard a response.

I worry that first, there is a real issue with the furnace. I also wonder which will explode first – the furnace, or my brain.

Do I have any recourse here, except the noise cancelling headphones I just purchased? How’s the rental market in January (or next week, for that matter)?”

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