View Full Version : Restricted Life in an Apartment

Arfur Feck-Sake
15th Aug 2008, 23:25
Just moved into an "Apartment" (they were called "Flats" in my day). Hopefully it's only temporary because I'm finding it fairly restrictive. There's a "no washing to be hung outside" rule. Has anyone ever managed to dry anything successfully in a washer/dryer? I'm expecting my next electricity bill to require a mortgage, I'll doubtless get pneumonia from all the soggy clothes hanging around and the "Apartment" will get a tad damp. Car parking is an art - I don't think anyone measured the size of a car before decreeing that the tarmac patch would be sufficient for us all. I can't walk out of the front door without my neighbours on both sides catching me for a quick check on what I'm doing - "off to work then?". Nice people but............. The arrival home from the local hostelry requires advanced tip-toeing skills and a well oiled front door to avoid waking up the whole block, and a blast of some decent music whilst enjoying a few more cans is a complete no-no. I even feel guilty about flushing the loo after 11pm. Maybe I'm just not a communal type.

15th Aug 2008, 23:35
hahahaha :D thanks for the post :ok:

16th Aug 2008, 20:23
Well i toyed with the idea of sellig up my 3 bed home and buying a 'Flat' as a single person.
But could i put up with, neighbour above, below, left and right.
Constant banging of neighbours doors.
Smell of cabbage/cigarette smoke that always lingers in the corridors.
Neighbours who work shifts or night clubbers arriving all hours of the morning in their cars or taxis.
Expensive storage heaters.
Overcapacity so prices/value will plummet.
Leasehold/maintenace charges.

One commentator saying they are the future slums.

16th Aug 2008, 20:46
We have lived in a modest 4 bed det.for the past 33 yrs but with the kids long gone and with retirement homes going up all over the place, Mrs. G and I looked at a few with a view to going down market. However we soon realised that communal living would not suit us at all for all the reasons you state Bob n Arfur, plus we couldn't even have a decent row!

16th Aug 2008, 23:11
Having lived in a great number of apartments over the years, I cannot but agree with your synopsis of the pitfalls. Most 'flats' are either in old buildings that were never designed nor built for such living, i.e the floors are NOT sound absorbing whatsoever, the walls even less so and the modern purpose built blocks are often so shoddily built (so as to facilitate a wonderful profit margin for the 'developer') that they are a tribute to plasterboard and marketing, rather than substance.

The European apartments are of the best quality, perhaps not suprising considering that this type of living is the norm, with both build and facilities to the fore, but whatever the state of the home, it's all about the attitudes of those living around you. Now me personally, I'm respectful of my neighbours and actually couldn't listen to loud music and enjoy it if I knew that it was disturbing others....:hmm: I've had every single experience with inconsiderate neighbours and by far the worst is night time noise, especially when it goes on and on over a period of days.

A detached house with only yourself to blame for disturbances must be the way to go. However with demand for houses it is quite a luxury either renting or buying as a singleton.



16th Aug 2008, 23:15
Here in the SAR formerly known as a Colony, unless one is a multi-squillionaire, communal living is generally the only option with the average size of flat somewhat smaller than a shoebox. (This does not apply to CX captains whose monthly housing allowance is more than my annual pension, and, no I'm not jealous - much.)

As you might imagine all the disadvantages previously mentioned apply in spades with one or two ingenious Oriental twists like kids climbing out of a 30-something storey window and shinning down the drainpipe. However, I'm lucky, my less-than-a-shoebox is on an island where the height limitation is 3 storeys and with a good view when the air pollution clears.

Would I go back to live in the UK? No.

Loose rivets
16th Aug 2008, 23:37
I've been very privileged to live in the house I grew up in and then onto a seizable house in the next town when I got married. I also was in the latter for 33 years.

We wanted to be with the kids and g-kids and sold said house into a rising market. It was a gamble that I lost. Although things could turn around now, our time home has been spent mostly in flats, and I hate it with a passion. When we got back in Feb, the flats above and behind were empty...and totally cold-soaked. Having come from 100f it was a tad difficult to say the least. despite 3 beds, I was bouncing off the walls...my fridge in the US is bigger than the kitchen here. Then there was the date thing. Someone goofed, and we bounced from friends to family and back to friends. So difficult to fit in when you've never had to.

Went to bruv's in the Lake district, and he his restoring a Georgian dry-wall house. Now that was different. CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAKE!!!

Two-hundred year old wood floor boards take some learning as to where you can tread. Just got it all sussed and he pries one up to get at the plumbing. CREEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAKE!!!

Sooooooooo hard to keep the long suffering rellies happy. And damp...flippin' ek. It were so damp that we had to moar the bed to the wall.

How do you spell moar.... more.... tie the boat up?

He's taken on one heck of a task there, but it was booooootifull.

At last I'm house sitting while the friends and Rivetess are off to France. A week of isolation. Bliss. One can yodle or fart with impunity. Have just cooked myself a feast...late at night....It was made of creatures with faces while my vegitarian hosts are away. I'm not totally unthinking. They do allow meat at parties I hasten to add.

Anyway, as I've said before, a 247k flat made 109k and a 250k flat made 70k near here in Essex in the last few months, so one is hoping to have a place to put me foot down soon. But staying in these confines? I don't know.

When I was talking to a pal's brother, he pointedly asked me if I had ever lived in a flat. He went on to describe the kind of things that you mentioned. Even in the Frinton flat, with NO SMOKING signes everywhere, the corridor filled with smoke every so often. The very attractive gardens had a kiddy ban. You could see why, they spent a fortune on them, but to stop my littluns playing there was impossible. I prepared to tell the caretaker that I couldn't catch them (true) but he didn't say a word as it happend.

I geve up on the clothes line in Texas. Just too dusty, but for $250 I got a like new GAS dryer. It is fantastic, and no doubt helped by pulling in A/C dried air in the first place. These machines are off the scale good, but the condencer ones are just a waste of space, exept for the fact that they don't take up space in the first place, if you see what I mean.

Anyway, One is trying to find a formula for cheap living in the UK. I've tried selling me body, but noone want's it.:*

17th Aug 2008, 00:18
When first married and then with a young child we lived in apartments and to tell the truth, we had a great time. The apartment complexes we lived in had club rooms, large pools and play areas for children. In fact, when my first wife and I decided to purchase a home we looked at townhouses so we could still enjoy the communal life style of apartment living. However, that was in the early 1970s and I was young. (Okay, okay, young and stupid.)

Our first home that we owned was a stand alone house. Today, I really don't know if could handle living in an apartment.

One of the really fun things we did way back when we lived in an apartment complex was during Halloween. I came up with this idea, as the children trick or treated for candy, we fathers trick or treated for booze. We had a great time. :ok:

Our wives were not amused. :(

17th Aug 2008, 01:20
I've recently moved into an apartment in a "senior" development here in the USA. I was surprised that I have never heard any noise from my neighbors. My immediate neighbor even asked if I heard their TV which they said was on the common wall of our units and played loudly. No noise heard from above or below, but this is a purpose-built concrete / brick building and the floors are carpeted.

One problem is that there are too many old people :) Antenna /aerial restrictions are another.
re: Metro Man's comments (below): My place has a small fleet of carts right inside the door for use in carrying things to one's apartment (=UK flat??) Drive up to the door, get a cart, load the cart, bring it in from the street, drive to ample parking, walk back and push the cart to one's cell. Downside is having to return the cart. Parking places are wide, likely in recognition of the poor aim of older drivers.


17th Aug 2008, 01:39
One has lived in many houses, several flats, three terraces, two semis, four pubs, a bus, a caravan, one garage, one sleepout, a hallway, two squats and a boxroom, but never an apartment.

I feel strangely deprived...:}

PS: Oh, and my cave of course, which is currently situated on Mars for the purposes of avoiding the [email protected]#$%^g Olympics.

Metro man
17th Aug 2008, 02:29
I live in a condominium, houses here being for the mega wealthy only. And I prefer it:

1. Someone else maintains the facilities, which include pool, gym, tennis court, steam room, club house, BBQ, childrens playground.
2. Security, when I go away I simply lock the front door and don't worry. Also no door to door types are allowed in by the guards. I have more privacy living in close proximity with 500 other people than I had in my own house in a quiet street.
3. Easy socialising if wanted, friends close by.

1. Difficult if you want a dog, but can be done.
2. Carrying shopping in is a pain, easier in a house with an interconnecting garage.
3. Need to consider the neighbours noise wise.
4. Less space.

I would go for the condo option every time now compared to a house. Just get an up market one so you have good quality neighbours.

Solid Rust Twotter
17th Aug 2008, 07:54
The Pack would never stand for it.

Anyhow, one is too old to go over the balcony clutching a meat axe at 2am to deal with noisy neighbours.

17th Aug 2008, 09:11
Jesus Rusty, next you'll be telling us you're tired of life :E

Solid Rust Twotter
17th Aug 2008, 09:25

Getting soft, I tell you.:uhoh:

Beatriz Fontana
17th Aug 2008, 09:27
Less than a couple of months to go and I'll be in a house again. Living in a flat has been unbearable.

I was doing ok until upstairs got a dog. Because the floorboards are exposed and old, image my delight in being kept awake by said dog scurrying around at all hours (and the barking...? Don't mention the barking).

TVs, washing machines, even the microwave ping from next door, rattles through the flat. Conversely, I'm keen to keep my racket down and so the TV's on low, music has been muffled and parties non-existent. I'm just not cut out for it!

Ah, for my own bricks and mortar.

17th Aug 2008, 09:41
We have rented two apartments for three months each time. The first in Spain, very nice and comfortable but the time was spoilt by the noise at night. An old chap lived above us and appeared to wear clogs when he went to the toilet about three times a night. Another couple always had a row on a saturday night. Some girls lived next door and generally were very good but now and then came home during the early hours and had a good old gossip in the raised voices associated with a good night on the booze.
All of these irritations are part of normal life so what can you say, Spanish building doesn't seem to consider sound insulation.
The second was in downtown Melbourne, a quality apartment on the top floor and we never heard our neighbours apart from one afternoon when the neighbour was having a new surround sound entertainment system installed and the installers tested the maximum volumes. Very powerful.. I had never lived in the city before and thought it was terrific. To be able to step outside and be close to shops and attractions of all kinds was a great experience.
I would be quite happy living in an apartment if i could choose and afford the right location, quality and be positioned on the top floor. That is the difficult part..

Loose rivets
17th Aug 2008, 12:00
I've posted before about dogs. We would not let ours bark more than a little, but my pal next door got two of the daftest boarder collies that you could imagine. They barked at everything.

A year of this and we were not pals anymore...shame cos he was my bank manager.

The fact that I lived in a detached house did not protect me from the noise...and also, the road was normally deathly quiet so the barking was a vast contrast.

Tee Hee...we took trick or treat to Frinton. The neighbors had no idea what the kids were talking about...they came home disappointed and set about turning a shop window dummy into a blood-stained corpse. They then hung 'her' on one of the roadside trees...by the neck. The police were called. They thought that it was very well done, but said that little old ladies were being shocked by it.

Back to claustrophobic flats. I stayed in Tennessee in a condo. Twas nice, with a huge pool a few steps from the door. Very little noise. Could have put up with that for a few months. But now, I want somewhere to put my 47 boxes of tools. I want a wall to pull down, and a bathroom to remodel. One does not stay sane for lone without sticking tiles on walls.

Thing is that I've been offered a do-upper in TX. 2/3 acre of garden with mature trees. Sweeping drive to a 1400 sq foot bungalow. Plus Garage the size of a dance hall. And free water for the garden. 30,000 It's just the wrong side of the Atlantic:ugh::ugh::ugh::ugh:

That's another thing. We've always had the garage inner door leading into the house near the kitchen. Hauling shopping for a large family is quite a task. Having said this, my mate's mum has just finished with her London flat after 55 years. She was on the 5th floor, and there was never a lift in that building. She was an incredibly fit 90 year old.

I wish we could have nice cottage type starter homes for young families. We could, if it wasn't for the property speculation that's the norm in the UK. Hard working folk are sold the concept of having their mortgage paid by inflation. Every so often the canny ones leave with the cash and the kids suffer. We could build nice starter homes at affordable prices...but not in an inflationary environment. Ahhh for a perfect world.

17th Aug 2008, 13:08
First house I bought, mid terrace, about 300yds from my rugby club. Oh dear oh dear. Only a back yard, no front garden to speak of. Cul de sac, easy parking. Washer drier, and a hanger from the landing ceiling (1940's job, very nice, pulley system and all that) to finally dry (well store really, lazy sod) clothes. Neighbour one, played classical guitar but played it well, so I'd turn off the stereo and listen to him. Other neighbour was a women in her eighties, some sod threw a brick through her front door window once and I went to B&Q and fixed it for her. She kept me in cappacino coffee sachets until she died.
Brilliant. Rented it out because work made me move to..

Mate's single bedroom flat in Glasgow. This was like living with your drinking buddy (mate and colleague), and his fiance. I got the spare room. Washer drier, no problem, no place to hang stuff outside. Living out of a suitcase was crap. My friend and I often had the same shifts, but one time my mate had to go away with work I was quite as a mouse for three days coming of lates so as not to wake her. Found out later she had been out of the country. Lasted a month.

Moved out and wondered what to do. Another colleague offered a room in his place. Ok, we'll meet up later and go and have a look. Do not select a flat comletely pished, it's silly. This was my first ever experience of a shared apartment. Get the washer drier out of the way, it worked fine. The heating didn't. I was also getting phone calls the whole time that my tenant was trashing my place, and was having trouble paying the rent. This new place, when I found it again was on the fourth floor. This is enough to give me vertigo. The lock to the place would have defeated Houdini.
Bins. You placed bin bags outside the front door of the flat in the stairwell. (What is going on, am I in a Dickens novel) They could then be taken down to an outside bin, or not, like our opposing landing mates decided to do, just start a landfill right there. The flatmate, hand me a rifle and I'll point him out. The whole apartment was actually one giant coathanger for his stuff. He flooded the place, twice. The whole creaking floorboard thing because we were on opposing shifts. He was not on speaking terms with Fairy Liquid and didn't know how to hit 'save' on an answering machine. He also broke the TV. Parking, absolutely terrible. Often ending up streets away.
Overall would I do it again, I'd rather have my eyes sucked out by a donkey and replaced by red hot toffee apples. Lasted six months.

Next was a single bedroom apartment. Washer drier worked, buzz entry, no noise, parking poor, but hey. Brilliant. Six months. Apart from getting stiffed for the deposit.

But then then I moved back and bought my own semi-detached, the washerdrier works there. Pity I forgot to take the 40's style internal hanger from the first house, they're worth a fortune.

Rather be Gardening
27th Aug 2008, 18:49
These posts bring back memories of the last place I rented. At the time, I had to live close to MOD in Whitehall, so found a new-build flat in Westminster. The place looked OK, but it quickly became clear that the builders (B*vis) had skimped big time on the soundproofing, so much so that if my neighbour was having a normal conversation next door, I could hear him. Then the tiles in the shower started falling off the walls because the builder hadn't used waterproof grouting. Apparently, the penthouse upstairs had been fitted out with floor tiles, or they'd fallen off the walls, and I still don't know why the owner, an MP, insisted on walking across them in high heels at 3am every night, but I guess he had a good reason.

The only upside was it took just 10 mins to walk to work, less if there was a flap on!

Loose rivets
27th Aug 2008, 19:08
Hee Hee...may have said this before, but the Rivetess has clear memories of the way I smelt when she met me. Bacon, eggs, chips, old cooking fat...you get the picture.

My mum made a bamboo drying frame Over the cooker. Neat and Bijou it was, and some girls liked it.:E

27th Aug 2008, 20:59
I've never owned any property and have therefore spent my adult life in bedsits and flats. We currently rent a room in a house in rural Germany..Having said that, we're only ome for a few weeks at a time, so it's better than a caravan holiday:}

I've had a few places in Germany, all of which were very good. The best place was in Kiel- built post war thanks to redecorating of the city by the RAF;) Only problem we had was the Banker(spelling;)) who lived below us and would moan like bu99ery when my partner decided to take her shower after 2230. (The noise of the water would keep him awake) Admittedly she did like showers and would spend 25 minutes in there at 0200 after rolling in from the clubs...

The Geermans do like their rules- you take it in turns to clean your landing on your floor, and got to let everyone know if you're gonna have a party a week in advance, etc etc etc. But as long as everyone keeps to the rules, which being Germany they tend to do, it does in fact, work.

I had a nightmare place in the UK though. The barstard who I was sharing with, paid the rent and the leccy...in theory... He spent most of the time with his girlfriend, and 'forgot' to pay the leccy....in january:{ No heating(the aforementioned storage heaters), no hot water, no cooker- for 6 weeks:* . Home to mother for a shower etc. The little sh1t disappeared, so I never got the chance to give him the benefit of my experience...

Our chalet here in the Alps is rather nice though:ok: shame we've only got another month:{, then it's back to our holiday residence in Germany:)