angry fraternity neighbor

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Question:

What can we do to change our neighbor’s perspective on our fraternity? We have offered him community service, food, etc. numerous times but he has always replied, “I don’t need any help, I will call the cops whenever you have people over.”

In just the past month, we have received two back to back citations regarding noise. It seems like we cannot have social gatherings at our house anymore. We are a chapter of about 90 men. Our morale is currently at an all time low. What would you do? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Answer:

This is an incredibly difficult spot to be in. Let’s be honest, you guys are going to make noise at your fraternity house. Anytime you get that many guys together it is going to happen. However, you can contain the damage by doing a few smart things.

First, the best thing you can do is be a good neighbor. Keep the front of the house clean, and make sure people aren’t always parked in front of his place. Even though he has been a tough nut to crack, continue to talk to him. When he says he will call the cops, offer to have him call you instead. Tell him that you will take care of the issue promptly.

Remember that he isn’t pissed off at the fraternity because of the fraternity. He is pissed off because the fraternity probably has been a bad neighbor in the past. Until you get him on your side he’ll continue to be a pain.

Second, call the cops yourself during normal business hours and see what is permitted where you live. This sure beats having to figure it out at 1 AM when the cops come knocking at your door. Get their advice on how you should address your situation. Most likely they will work with you to try to figure out a scenario where everyone wins.

Finally, try to get your chapter advisor, Greek advisor or faculty advisor to talk to the neighbor on your behalf. This is a big reason why you have these people in the first place. Hopefully they can speak to the neighbor and get their concerns. From there, the fraternity can focus on how to address them.

Does anyone else have any suggestions that could help this fraternity out? If so, leave them in the comments section below.






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4 thoughts on “How to Handle Angry Fraternity House Neighbors

  1. As someone who has the opposite problem, a noisy, unfriendly, and unkind pack of frat boys moved next to us, this is a disheartening thread to read. How can your parties possibly be as important as other people’s sleep? We have a sick woman in our building and she’s growing sicker with the noise. Shame on anyone who would put entertainment above human comfort. Shame.

    • You say it as if these fraternities are cavemen. How would they know about that woman if you didn’t tell them? Open communication is always the best way to resolve an issue. Don’t assume and judge people who sin differently than you. 

    • AMEN.

      F your parties and your daddy’s money.

      Open communication?
      Seriously??

      You mean like the flyers advertising the year’a biggest party and live bands and whatever else?
      There is no excuse.
      There is no justification.

      Frat behavior is the definition of primative.

      IM TALKING ABOUT YOU FIJI HOUSE UT

  2. Couple things…

    First, contain the problem… Do keep the front/side clean & presentable. Keep cars from blocking streets, etc.

    I’m not sure what your noise ordinance says. If it’s a specific decibel level or just whatever someone finds offensive. Either way, get a noise meter. Walk around your front and side yards during an event. Make that number reasonable.

    Keep it inside with doors/windows closed. Move your speakers so you aren’t projecting into this guy’s house. Without violating fire code, insulate to the extent you can. A blanket over a window behind the blinds is both invisible and reduces noise. It won’t be perfect, but get that number lower.

    I’m sure that you already have some kind of system in place so that by the time the cops are knocking on your door you’re no longer making excessive noise or doing anything illegal. If not, figure it out. You should have a guy on a check-in table out front already, and a way to instantly control the noise situation. Texting someone inside isn’t good enough. You don’t have to make it dead quiet. That just looks guilty. Making it quiet enough to be within the law & doing so quickly so it seems like it was never louder than that is a better policy.

    Second, document things.

    Do continue having conversations with the neighbor trying all the things above to resolve the situation with him. But, (within your state law) start taping those conversations or having independent witnesses.

    Also, when you see the cops coming down the street, flip the switch that makes the noise level inside go down. Start the cell phone recording or drop a couple hundred bucks to get a security camera with sound that you can flip on from the porch when you see it coming. Obviously be respectful and courteous with the police. When they tell you they got a noise complaint, apologize, say you’ve been having trouble with one of your neighbors who said he’ll call the cops on you anytime he gets a chance, and you’ve tried very hard to keep it down. Ask the officer if HE/SHE thinks the noise is excessive right then or when they pulled up. Don’t shove the noise meter in their face, but it’s fine to take an obvious look at it when they’re walking up or when you ask them if you’re being too loud. What you want to show is that you’re getting a ticket based on the complaint and not because you’re being unreasonably loud.

    You get how this plays out, right? You contest that ticket, play a video of you being super nice and cooperative, looks like you’re really trying hard to keep it down, noise meter shows you’re doing a pretty good job, and cop saying you’re getting a ticket because someone called it in & if you have neighbor problems you need to talk it out. Then you play the tape of the neighbor saying he’s going to call the cops every time you have someone over no matter what.

    You most likely win that case, but either way that neighbor and any anonymous noise complaints just lost all credibility with the cops and court.

    I’ve done worse than that. I’ve gotten a noise violation literally during chapter bible study in the middle of the day. The problem neighbor saw people showing up & we tested our speakers for maybe two minutes to get set for a party later that night. Cops showed up & wrote me a ticket with no noise going on & the non-student director of campus crusade sitting on my patio completely confused & bewildered at why were being mistreated by the police while doing nothing wrong. He made an awesome witness. The cops still came around after that, but we got a lot more warnings than tickets & that neighbor moved away before we did.

    Do NOT go starting a war with this guy or trying to entrap him. Do protect yourself to ensure you’re being treated fairly by law enforcement rather than attacked based on stereotypes (which is more the rule than the exception). Try everything you can to get along. But if you can’t, then keep trying anyway, but win by being smarter.

    Third, can someone move?

    Was this a long established fraternity house that this guy moved in next to? Feel free to say that in court.

    Do you own and can’t easily move away from the nut job? If so, could you have some guys rent another house elsewhere that could be used for that purpose?

    Does he own? If he’s renting, can you offer his landlord more money for some of your guys to move in there next year?

    Just be smart. There’s always ways to get by problems like this.

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