Screaming fights. Not-so-veiled threats. Multiples calls to the Burnaby RCMP. And now a paranoid TikTok video with libellous threats.
Yeah, me calling it a “neighbour war” is pretty accurate.
The last couple of months have seen my email inbox fill up with multiple missives about a Burnaby resident battling a neighbour over “excessive” noise. It’s the kind of issue that started out as annoying for this person and then just started escalating into sleepless nights, calls to the police and now criminal accusations on social media.
As someone who has lived in apartments and townhouses most of my life, I’ve seen how small disputes escalate into petty, pitched battles in which everyone involved – including a few innocent bystanders – ends up suffering.
You’ve likely seen this happen as well. Gossip and egos take over and things keep ratcheting up – making everyone miserable.
Things started with this Burnaby resident suffering excessive noise on a daily basis. (*This person is actually OK with me naming them, but things are now involving criminal accusations that are potentially libellous so I’m not going there. My point in writing is yet another cautionary tale that will hopefully convince others to choose a different path because the anxiety involved just isn’t worth it. And at least it has nothing to do with COVID-19.*)
The person filing the noise complaints claims they haven’t been supported by the building’s management despite video and audio evidence, and the testimony of other neighbours. It seems it’s easier for management to just ignore the problem than try to evict a bad tenant.
Both sides have called the police on each other, which feels terrible because the police have better things to do, such as fighting actual crime.
Then, recently, this resident was sent a link to a TikTok video in which the allegedly noisy neighbour accuses the complainant (yes, I’m sounding lawyerly because that is apparently where this is headed) of criminal behaviour. It's shot in what appears to be a bathroom for some reason and she proclaims her innocence. (I have viewed the video, which is now posted to YouTube – I wish it could be linked here, but, like I said, it includes potentially libellous comments and, frankly, I don’t want to give this person a platform.)
“Low and behold, it was a video of my neighbour making a video toward myself and my mother,” the resident said. “In this video, she makes all sorts of accusations, including accusing me of being ‘convicted of identity theft.’ I've never been arrested, charged with or convicted of anything in my life. The creepiest and maybe scariest part comes at the end of the video, though, when she says, ‘But don't worry, mama's got a plan,’ followed by an evil smirk. There's no telling what this girl will do next. But if anything happens to me or anyone in my family, then hopefully she is looked at as a prime suspect.”
Is this person just being paranoid? Or would you be thinking the same thing if you had gone through this situation?
This is what it has come to.
Frankly, I think this person should just move if they can. That’s easy for me to say, of course, but it simply isn’t worth the grief. After all, it’s gone from a noisy neighbour to this person now openly speculating about them being physically harmed.
Sure, maybe moving would be losing the battle, but ultimately I think this person would be winning the war.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.