The best alteration agreement in the world can’t get rid of all noise when apartments are renovated or combined. The owner of a rowhouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is doing renovation work – from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. Though the construction noise is “nothing out of the ordinary,” a neighbor has complained. What’s a renovating homeowner to do?
“Noise tends to be worse when we feel it’s completely beyond our control,” etiquette expert Thomas P. Farley tells the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times. “We don’t have an idea of when it’s going to start and when it’s going to stop.”
That’s why communication is so important. Noise complaints are among co-op and condo boards’ worst headaches. One way to short-circuit them is for a shareholder to tell neighbors about a renovation project before it begins. Though no laws are being broken in the Park Slope rowhouse – weekday construction work is permitted from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. – the renovator might consider providing the unhappy neighbor with a timeline for the renovation project. Build in a buffer, so if the work lags no one is disappointed, but if it finishes ahead of schedule the neighbors can be pleasantly surprised. The worst thing about noise is not knowing when it’s going to stop.
But if the end date is known, Farley says, it’s “like in a prison cell – you can mark off the days in the calendar.”
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