Does your HOA board deal with noise disturbance complaints from members? Noise is an inevitable reality in a condominium homeowners association. Condominium dwellers live in such close proximity, it’s essential that all residents consider the effect that noise will have on their neighbors – especially when it comes to long-term considerations, such as deciding on floor coverings, where to mount the flat-screen television or when to knock out a wall.
How a unit is furnished may be a nuisance to your neighbors
Everyone in the community has a right to enjoy their homes in peace and to furnish them as they like, but here are a couple of home improvements that could, unbeknownst to members, create a noise disturbance to surrounding units:
- Hard flooring—wood, ceramic, and stone are fashionable and collect far fewer allergens than carpet, making them very popular. But they can be a problem for the folks downstairs, even if you make an effort to tread lightly or wear soft shoes. If a homeowners association member is considering installing hard flooring in their unit, a good suggestion is to have them first install a sound barrier—like cork, to reduce the noise.
- Flat-screen televisions are becoming more affordable every year, and many residents have them. Another suggestion to a member would be to mount their screen on an interior wall—not a wall they share with a neighbor. Reverberations from wall-mounted televisions can be an annoyance for those on the other side.
How much noise does it take to be a nuisance?
A nuisance is a level of disturbance beyond what a reasonable person would find tolerable. Sometimes the question is not how much noise you make, but when you make it.
You might find the raucous party next door entirely tolerable—until about 10 or 11 p.m. A noisy renovation downstairs might be intolerable if it’s a religious or ethnic holiday for a member. Whatever owners are planning, encourage them to give some thought to the day as well as the time of day for their activity.
If your members complain of noisy neighbors encourage them to speak to their neighbor before getting the HOA Board of Directors involved. This situation may be better defined as a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute.
A simple conversation between the members may instantly resolve the situation. The Golden Rule can be applied here: All members should treat their neighbors the way they would want to be treated.