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HOW TO: DEAL WITH NOISE COMPLAINTS

HOW TO: Deal With Noise Complaints

Julie Schechter
Partner, Armstrong Teasdale

 

Nuisance complaints. Typically they come in through the managing agent, and the board should be made aware of these unless they are small and the managing agent can handle it. If the agent can’t, the board should endeavor to do something. Sometimes that means bringing a super into one of the apartments to get a third party opinion as to whether the noise is really unreasonable or whether the person who's complaining of the noise is simply hypersensitive.

Is it reasonable? The board should make a decision as to the reasonableness of the complaint. If the kids upstairs are noisy for an hour, from six to seven o'clock, there's not much that the board can do about that. The upstairs neighbors are just living their lives. But if somebody's having a party three times a week and bringing in a DJ and keeping their neighbors up, then that's something I think the board should get involved with.

Then what. The question then becomes, what steps to take next? If there are many people complaining about a single shareholder's noise, then the board should be involved. However, if it's just one person complaining about another person's noise, and it becomes a he said, she said situation, the board should write a letter, let them know they received a complaint, ask them to please be quiet. If the noise issues and complaints continue, I typically recommend to the board that it ask the parties involved to work it out themselves, or maybe go to mediation if they need to. 

Bottom line. Don't do nothing. Doing nothing gets you in trouble.

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