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to speak to my neighbour about his disgusting habits?!

(35 Posts)
shoeaddict83 Mon 15-Feb-16 11:56:50

Hoping for some constructive advice or suggestions on how to deal with this!

We live in a semi-detached townhouse in a new estate, we moved in 2 years ago the day the build was complete, and our neighbours did the same the day after. They seem a nice couple with a young daughter, we nod and say hello if we cross paths outside and take parcels in for each other etc but are not on overly friendly terms, they are a polish couple which is only relevant in that they don’t speak English very well so communication really is at a minimum.

The only issue we have with them is that they both smoke, which wouldn’t be a problem at all, except the husband regularly (im talking 6 out of 7 days a week) smokes outside their back door in the early or very late hours of the morning and (not really sure how to describe this) but basically hacks his guts up for about 20 mins. He clears his throat and you can hear him gathering crap in it and spitting it out over and over again, it just sounds vile. Its that loud it literally wakes us up at all hours, in the hot summer were forced to sleep with windows shut to try to block him out but its that loud we can hear it thorough closed double glazed windows. I have tried slamming the windows shut when he starts to drive the point home that its waking us up but clearly has done nothing.
My brother used to smoke and when we both lived at home I remember always hearing him in the bathroom doing the same thing trying to clear the gunk and tar or whatever out his throat so im positive it must be due to the smoking.

We need to broach the subject as its not only absolutely disgusting to lay in bed listening to or to be woken up by, but some days its 3 or 4 am, so to be woken up by that then try to get back to sleep for work at 6am is causing us both to get very cranky with interrupted nights sleep. Sometimes its around the same time we have breakfast too and listening to that is enough to stop you eating.
Any suggestions as its not exactly as easy thing to go round and mention ‘excuse me but please could you stop hacking your guts up in your garden every day?!’ so not sure how to word it!!!

DoJo Mon 15-Feb-16 12:08:24

Could you frame it as a concern? When you pass the time of day say 'Are you ok? We hear you coughing every night and wondered if you'd tried Vicks on the feet/steam inhalations/anything else you can think of as a remedy if nothing else is working.'
Not many people would be annoyed at someone trying to help, but it would also make it clear that you can hear him coughing and are being disturbed by it.

citychick Mon 15-Feb-16 12:22:25

Hi shoeaddict,

That is very annoying. And thoughtless. And disgusting. And down right antisocial at any time of the day or night.

I live is Asia at the moment and this horrid habit is commonplace. Every hour of every day. Everywhere. And the spitting too. Gross. Hate it.

You do indeed need to talk to him. It sounds as though he's completely unaware that his hacking and spitting is irritating you. I would hope that he would be horrified to know you can hear it.

Will he understand you? Is his English good enough? I think you need to be polite but firm and quite blunt about it. IMO. You need to be blunt because of his total lack of awareness.IMO.

You don't want to fall out, but he needs to know you are hearing it. Would it bother you if you did fall out over it? ( hopefully it won't come to that).

Failing that...

I am not sure how your local councils noise team would react, but if it's keeping you up at night, you just might have a point to raise.

Good luck

VagueIdeas Mon 15-Feb-16 12:26:56

Whenever I slept over at my ILs house is be woken by the sound of my (Indian) FIL hacking and hacking and hacking and HACKING up phlegm in the bathroom. It's part of his morning routine. How I never ended up screaming/crying/vomiting I'll never know hmm

So I sympathise, because it's utterly grim.

You should have a word. Don't pussy foot around as framing it as concern for his health, because he won't get the message. Say he's waking you up and can he please stop. Be prepared for him to carry on as he pleases though.

shoeaddict83 Mon 15-Feb-16 12:28:28

Thanks both, they do understand some English so im sure i could word it in a way that would get across. I dont want to fall out with them over it as it would just make life awkward living next door, but it is something we've put up with for over a year now and its just not pleasant at all to be woken up by. Middle of the day i'd probably be disgusted but let it go - its the 3/4/5am wake ups that make me angry! Especially on a weekend when we can actually lie in!! In winter then actually put up one of those garden gazebos right out side the back door so he could go out in all weather and smoke!!
DoJo thats an idea, they might get the hint if i try to broach it that way, if not then i guess being blunt will be only option. hmm

shoeaddict83 Mon 15-Feb-16 12:30:15

Phlegm that was the word i was looking for thanks vague! and yes its grim beyond words sometimes.
urgh perhaps you're right and directness is the only way to go...
will maybe have to find somewhere else for parcels to go after...!!

bigbuttons Mon 15-Feb-16 12:30:38

Ask him if he can do the coughing in his house, explain it is waking you up. Of course he does it outside so that he doesn't disturb his own family!

winchester1 Mon 15-Feb-16 12:35:35

It may not be the smoking my OH has started this habit and I see other non smokers doing it too. I'm not in the UK and think it may to some extent be cultural.
Don't know what I say tbh - its waking your kids, you have asthma that the smoke is affecting, is he ok - but all of that os difficult if they don't speak much English.

pinkcan Mon 15-Feb-16 12:39:59

I would ask them for quiet outside between certain hours (whatever your council rules are). It might be 11pm-7am etc but I'd check with the council and give the neighbours a copy of the rules.

eddielizzard Mon 15-Feb-16 12:49:06

get a kid's water shooting gun thingy, wait until he starts up and then spray him with it. i'm sure he'll stop doing it soon.


ElderlyKoreanLady Mon 15-Feb-16 12:54:06

That does sound grim, but I'm not sure there's a huge amount you can do about it if he doesn't actually agree to only coughing inside. I'm trying to think how a council/HA would deal with my coughing if my upstairs neighbour complained saying it keeps him up (I have asthma that's playing up currently). If it's a productive cough (bringing up loads of phlegm) then he needs to do it to breathe properly, even if smoking has caused it.

BathshebaDarkstone Mon 15-Feb-16 12:55:52

Its not a disgusting habit, its a smokers cough. He has to spit out the phlegm as if he swallows it hell be sick. DS1 has to do this as he has cystic fibrosis.

Iamliftzilla Mon 15-Feb-16 12:59:00

Ah that's so cultural. The better out than in approach. He probably won't see the action as being gross, so if you approach it from the point of volume, it's really loud. It's near your bedroom windows, it's early....

museumum Mon 15-Feb-16 12:59:11

I'd wait for him to do it again, open the window nearest him and say "are you ok?" Your coughing is so loud it woke us up!

Repeat as required.

I'm guessing after 2/3 times he will at least try to be more quiet.

citychick Mon 15-Feb-16 13:00:35

It is awkward as hell having words with the next doors.

But, you mustn't apologise for asking him to stop. You know, " I am SO sorry to ask you" etc, etc. He perhaps just wont get it. And a PP is right, it may have been booted out by his mrs because SHE thinks it's disgusting. And yes, whilst it may be cultural for him, he's actually now in a culture that doesn't like that sort of behaviour.

You just have to take the bull by the horns. Find your strength OP! You can do it!

I would imagine if he wanted something, he'd come right out and say it.
We Brits can just be too polite. If you don't say something, you could spend the rest of your life moaning about it and that would be a complete waste of time and energy!


KoalaDownUnder Mon 15-Feb-16 13:03:17

Yes. It's a smoker's cough. And it's a disgusting habit to stand outside your neighbour's window while you're doing it.

Not sure why you think they're mutually exclusive.

KoalaDownUnder Mon 15-Feb-16 13:04:05

(Sorry - that last was to Bathsheba)

shoeaddict83 Mon 15-Feb-16 13:06:25

thanks all.
bath sorry but yes to me its a disgusting habit. It happens outside when hes smoking, hes been in the garden plenty of times playing with his young daughter, bbqs etc and never does it then. Its literally early hours/late when hes outside with a fag. Funnily enough he doesnt smoke around her.... If it was like your daughter and something he couldnt control then i apologise and in her case obviously threres nothing that can be done. But smoking is HIS choice, not mine and i shouldnt have to be woken by it at all hours. Its like me saying i choose to play the bloody drums at 3am and he should put up with it because thats what i choose to do.
Museumum - thats a possibility, might realise if the window slamming didnt make the point, that we can hear him!

shoeaddict83 Mon 15-Feb-16 13:07:23

Sorry should be your son not daughter Bath.

swashbucklecheer Mon 15-Feb-16 13:07:35

There's a man that lives about 4 doors down from us who comes out and coughs a lung up every time he has a smoke (which is very often ). It's a perfect way to demonstrate to my dc why taking up smoking in the first place is such a bad idea

gamerchick Mon 15-Feb-16 13:12:22

My ex does this, I was always half expecting to see half a lung splatter onto the floor.

I'm not sure what you can do. 'Please can you get your phlegm up before you go into the garden' ? I can imagine what someone reading your complaint would look like as well. You can't stop someone coughing.

MadamDeathstare Mon 15-Feb-16 13:13:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AllPizzasGreatAndSmall Mon 15-Feb-16 13:15:53

That is not the same as a smokers cough, it is definitely something men (perhaps women but I haven't witnessed) from some cultures seem to do.

AMouseLivedinaWindMill Mon 15-Feb-16 13:16:32

Op you have my sympathies, among other things I had to endure from neighbors, smoking and the coughing and hacking was a small part.

I would get a translation into Polish of the issue, obv as nicely as possible, with some flowers? or choclates or wine to soften it, say in the note you have tried to block it out for a year now, but feel you cannot possibly endure the noise any longer. smilegood luck!!

slamming windows does not work, it has to be direct with the issue.

citychick Mon 15-Feb-16 13:54:04

funnily enough he doesn't smoke around her

This ^

And she makes sure he doesn't cough, hack and spit around her too, by the sounds of it.

It's her problem, not yours, OP.

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