Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My upstairs neighbor keeps flooding my bathroom. What can I do?

When you are in a building where others are affected by your actions, you must adhere to the rules.

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Question:

The woman who lives above me who periodically floods my bathroom when she leaves her faucet running. She always pays for the damage (or her insurance does) but I am sick and tired of cleaning up the mess. There are faucets that automatically turn off. Could I tell her to install them? Signed, Wet and Weary

Answer:

Dear Wet,

Yes, you are certainly right to ask that she install those faucets. If she is elderly or ill, it would be in her best interest as well as yours. If she refuses, tell your management company to write her a letter, as well as a warning.

In my building, we have very narrow kitchens. There is a plus-sized person who accidentally would turn on the gas with her derriere when she turned around in the kitchen. All embarrassment aside, this was a dangerous problem. She was asked to put child-proof covers on the knobs of the stove. The management company insisted that she do this, for her own safety as well as for everyone else is the building.

When you live in a stand-alone house you are fairly free to live as you choose. But, when you are in a building where others are affected by your actions, you must adhere to the rules. Damaging your own apartment to the point that it impacts others is just not acceptable. Running faucets, leaking gas, hoarding, and uncleanliness that attracts mice or bugs are all examples of unacceptable behavior.  

My neighbor complied with our building’s request and she no longer turns on the gas by accident. A win-win for all.

Ms. Demeanor


Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.