Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Neighbor's Room Rentals Cause Disturbances

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have noticed a lot of people coming in and out of my next-door neighbor’s apartment. Mostly, they seem to be tourist types. A couple have been loud and kind of rowdy. I think she is renting out rooms in her home. There are too many people coming and going for these to be friend visits. I understand that people have to figure out how to make ends meet, but I have two small children, and I feel uncomfortable having so many people coming and going right next door to me. I’m pretty sure it’s not legal to do this. My neighbor isn’t open to talking to me. Should I call the police? I want to protect my kids. -- Close the Revolving Door, Manhattan, New York

DEAR CLOSE THE REVOLVING DOOR: Your neighbor probably is running a room rental through a service like Airbnb, which is legal in New York City if she is living in the home. It may be difficult for you to get any real support to shut down your neighbor’s room-rental hustle.

If something happens that makes you or your children feel unsafe, you can call 911. To file a complaint without cause for alarm, you can call 311 to report your concerns. Your complaint will be investigated. If your neighbor is not complying with the law, she may be shut down.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a business conference this summer that drew people from all over the country who work in my field. This was my first time going to this kind of event, and it was a lot of fun. I made great contacts and came back to work feeling empowered and ready to make greater contributions to my firm. I discovered that since I was the only one who attended, some of my co-workers weren’t so keen on hearing what I learned. I think they were jealous. I’m the one who went because I asked management if I could go. It wasn’t to the exclusion of anyone else. How can I continue to make meaningful contributions to my job without upsetting my colleagues? -- Bridging the Divide, Minneapolis

DEAR BRIDGING THE DIVIDE: When you have opportunities that your colleagues do not, it is important to be sensitive to their reaction to this information. Moving forward, you may want to incorporate wisdom gained from your trip more subtly. You can make suggestions for things to do at your job without attributing the source of your knowledge. You can speak directly and privately with your manager and give a full download, including specifics about your sources. You can point out that some colleagues have bristled because you were the only one to attend. Recommend that there be a plan for next year in which a group of colleagues may be able to attend. This will show your team spirit. The company will have to decide what it is willing to support.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)