I like writing letters. But, most of the time, there is little reason to make the effort to craft something that emphasises a point to one particular recipient. If you can’t bang home your message in 140 characters or less, best of luck trying to hold my attention for more than five seconds. I don’t like talking on the phone. Everyone I speak to over the phone takes my sullen tone so personally and it requires too much effort to inject enthusiasm into my voice without sounding like I need to ask about fatty potato accompaniments.
I helped my sister write a doozy of a letter when she was trying to break up with a dude. The letter wasn’t all that successful because he had something going on with his eyes (or his head) that prevented him from reading (or understanding) it. My letters have a tendency of not doing what they were supposed to do. But I try, oh how I try. The dude is an ex now. So it still worked out.
When I received a formal written letter (all official with the typed font and the letterhead on real human paper) from my Owners Corporation about complaints against me for “Alleged Breach of Rules, Undue Noise”, I was more than a bit pee-worthy excited. I had a real reason to write a letter because “If the allegation is disputed, please respond to our office in writing.” And I had some disputin’ to do, some real hard, and long, disputin’. I gave them my disputin’ good.
So, in the immortal words of the MasterChef MasterClasses on Friday nights, here are some of my top tips when writing strongly worded letters:
- Be right. Whether it be standing up for your right to wield sharp blades or tearing the heart out of an unsuspecting partner, use facts wherever possible. Avoid truthiness if you can. If the letter is about laws or rules, do your research. You may end up sounding like a pretentious douche but at least you won’t be a lying pretentious douche.
- Sound right. If you don’t have truth on your side, make it seem that you do. Be honest when you are at fault but don’t focus on your flaws. Exercise brevity, or if you are really desperate, exclude falsehoods altogether. They’re not lies if you leave it out. It’s like masturbation; nobody will know unless you tell them. Except god. He might. I should probably start typing with both hands now.
Thank you for the written notice of the noise complaints. I didn’t wish for it to come to this but if it means that all parties concerned come to a mutual understanding of the Owners Corporation’s Rules, then it will be all for the best.
As far as I am aware, I have only received complaints from one neighbour, namely the gentleman from [redacted], as he is the only one who has approached me personally. When you specify that multiple “neighbours” have complained about noise coming from my unit, I would appreciate knowing who the other neighbours are so that they can air their concerns and I can modify my behaviour if necessary.
The gentleman in [redacted] approached me to two occasions. First was at approximately 9:30pm when he knocked on my door and complained about a beating or thumping sound coming from my unit. To the best of my knowledge, the noise was due to the music that I was playing, which I admit, did have a regular beat to it. Even though I did not believe I was breaching any Owners Corporation’s Rules, I immediately obliged to his concerns and stopped the music. From then on, at his request, I have never played music with an “electrical amplified sound reproducing equipment” for a time longer than one minute outside the hours of 9am and 7pm. I now listen to music through headphones.
The second occasion was on a different night, at 7:05pm. Again, he knocked on my door because he was unhappy about a thumping sound. At the time, was preparing dinner by cutting vegetables. More specifically, I was chopping a raw carrot. I showed him my kitchen bench through my open door and reminded him of the time. I was visibly annoyed because I had complied with his earlier requests even though I did not think I was at all at fault on the first occasion. He asked me if I could cut my vegetables more softly but I am unable to see how this is possible with a raw carrot.
On this second occasion, he also brought up another noise complaint he had about a whirring sound that was coming from my lounge room at midnight. I advised him that I am in bed by 11pm and so I could not understand how I was responsible for this complaint. After some thought, I believe that his complaint may have been regarding my electric toothbrush which I use at approximately 10:30pm before bed. Even if my electric toothbrush was used after 11pm, the Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008 excludes “electric equipment or appliances for personal care or grooming” under Group 5.
I am in bed by 11pm and I have my alarm clock, which plays music, set for 7am so that I can prepare for work. Even if I cannot sleep, I remain in bed in silence. I live alone. Between 11pm and 7am, I do not engage in any activity other than using my toilet. I turn off the alarm after I awake. I do not allow the music to continue to play.
I recommended that he seek out the rules regarding noise in multi-dwelling units or bring the matter to the Owners Corporation if he still believed that I was being unreasonable because I believed that he did not have a complete understanding of the appropriate regulations.
The Owners Corporation’s Rules, as of January 2008, specify “noise and other nuisances, including noise from domestic air conditioners, musical instruments, televisions and stereos and lawn mowers between 10pm and 9am.” I do not own any air conditioner, musical instrument or lawn mower. The gentleman from [redacted] has personally stated to me that my television use is not an issue. I have modified my behaviour regarding my stereo even though I have not used it to cause undue noise between 10pm and 9am even before the first complaint.
I hope that you would advise me if any of my above-described behaviour is unacceptable and in breach of the Owners Corporation’s Rules before you begin to charge me $121 per hour for all of your time spent on the matter. If I am not at fault, I do not see why I should be responsible for this cost. I do not believe that my behaviour has changed since the new owner occupier has taken residency of [redacted]. I had not received any personal or written complaint from the previous owner occupier.
I would greatly appreciate prompt response to this matter because I would like to resume living my life without fear of being a nuisance or breaking any laws as soon as possible.