It’s the day after my triumphant post about moving to my tiny house, and more insights are flooding in. I decided to write next week’s post early so I get all this down.
I’ve lived in my condo for 12 years. It’s a first-floor unit with a rental overhead. Having been a renter all my life before I bought this place, I didn’t think much of that. I’ve been paying for that lapse of judgment ever since. I could rant on for pages about this situation (and I started to, then saw my word count when I hadn’t even gotten to my point yet.).
The same laws that prevent discrimination against people with children in rental housing apply to condominiums. If you are under 55, you are not free to opt for adult-only housing. But children are not the only problem! Honestly, many 30-something couples are the worst noise offenders. I have years of data to support this. The 30-something couple is in the prime of life, and it’s all about them. They (typically) bear no mind to how much of their noise spills into other people’s space. They get up early on Saturday and wake up the whole building as they pack up for their outing, they shout from room to room—I’ve even had them empty their picnic coolers over the side of their balcony—onto my porch. People this age often decide to have a baby, too. Or get a puppy—I recently spent 2 years under a Great Dane that grew to 100 lbs and dug through the subflooring because he was left home alone all day. Don’t think Milo endured his boredom quietly—he howled all day too. The condo board actually took action on that one and the couple moved out to avoid eviction.
If you can’t afford a free-standing house, dedicated quiet housing is not available for adults under 55. In my 40s, I tried using a doctor’s note to get into 55+ housing and was told by several complexes that they don’t admit medical exceptions anymore.
I was hypersensitive before my head injury. Now I’m triggered at home most of the time. I have 4 adults living above me in a 2-bedroom unit—2 young men who are roommates, and their revolving-door stream of girlfriends. I have begged them to be considerate, I’ve complained and fined them. They insist they’re not being noisy and go on bellowing at each other in the same room, their conversational volume ramped up by beer. They stomp so hard my light fixtures clatter. A typical person would be disgusted. (My visiting friends ask me how I can stand it.) The one thing I want from a home of my own—the ability to sit in my reading chair and quietly enjoy a book in the evening—I’ve never had here.
There are more neuroatypical adults in the US now than ever before. Many of these people truly can’t bear intrusive noise in their space. When I was in college, my GPA admitted me to the quiet dorm, with quiet hours enforced 22 hours a day. (We could play music, hang pictures, and whatnot between 2 and 4 PM). With so many adults who have autism, hypersensitivity, and other conditions, it’s time for dedicated quiet housing to be available to regular people at all income levels.
My tiny house is the only option without shared walls that I can afford. Lucky for me I’m into the movement and love other things about tiny living, and this is a positive step for me. There are a lot of people resorting to it because it’s the lesser of two evils.
I put up with the noise when I needed the wide doorways and the flat layout. I’ve reached a point in my recovery where physically, I can handle the tiny space and the steps to my front door and loft—even the ladder to the second loft, and my need for quiet overrides the need for physical simplicity. Yes, it is a step forward for me in every way, but I will still comment at city council meetings and support the availability quiet housing for all ages at all income levels, because I believe in it. Many of us cannot live happy, healthy lives in a noisy environment. There has to be a way to make this available without rolling back protections for families in housing.