What is the name of your state? Virginia
Our problem is one I have not found too much information about. What is a tenant's rights as the "accused" in a noisy neighbor dispute?
Let me try to briefly detail what is a long story, to add some context to my question. The woman who lives in the townhouse adjoining ours is about sixty years old and lives alone on Social Security. We have lived beside her since about August of 2003, and over that time period we have had a decent relationship. She had no car for awhile, and we ferried her to the grocery store. I shoveled her walk when it would snow.
But within the past month, she has all of a sudden begun complaining about the "noise" we make. Ordinarly, this would call to mind raucous parties at 2 AM, or loud spousal arguments late at night, or the TV being too loud. No. Not in our case. Our neighbor is complaining to the landlord about "thumping" from our three year old son. She has also complained that she can hear our cat going up and down the stairs. She complained once that we were playing too much with our son and his "piercing" laughter was coming through the walls and giving her migraines. She also complained that it was the smell of our laundry detergent causing her migraines, so as a way of getting along, we switched to a more expensive scent-free detergent. The three noise complaints so far--the most recent this past Sunday--have all come at the same time, around six-thirty in the evening.
We have talked to our landlady, but she seems to be siding with the neighbor. When we talked to the landlady after the most recent complaint, she said she "would hate to see us go" but she could not think of any way to solve this problem. On the invitation of our neighbor, the landlady has even come over to the neighbor's house to listen for the noise we make. The landlady did not tell us about her spying; we were told by another neighbor. When we asked the landlady about it, we also asked whether she had heard anything. She said she had not heard anything.
These complaints by our neighbor are approaching the point of being harassing. There is no volume control we can turn down to solve this problem. My family and I are now on egg shells because of this, and we spend our weekends constantly nagging each other to be quiet. If my three-year-old forgets and hops down the steps, we cringe, expecting another phone call from the landlady. I've asked friends for advice, but they have none. Now I feel I need a lawyer's advice. What should we do?