Q: I own a duplex condo in Connecticut. The new owner of the adjacent unit is constantly roughhousing with his 6-year old son inside their unit. The resulting bumping, thumping, booming, and banging against the floor is driving me nuts.
Our condo rules and regulations prohibit “any action which may be or may become an annoyance or nuisance to any other unit owner or occupant.” The board of directors has historically been reluctant to enforce noise or disturbance violations of this sort.
If the board of directors won’t enforce the rules and regulations, can you recommend a good condo attorney who could take on this problem?
A: Your letter points out the central problem with living in a condominium or co-op, or anyplace where you share walls, floors, and ceilings with other residents — it can get noisy.
While you have the right to live in your home and have it be reasonably quiet, your neighbor also has the right to use his home as he sees fit, provided he doesn’t break any laws. Roughhousing with his son most likely doesn’t fall into the “break any laws” category.
Have you had a conversation with your neighbor about how noisy it is when he and his son go at it? This should be your first step. How your neighbor responds should guide your next step. Hopefully, he was responsive to your request to either tone it down or take it into another room.
If not, you could always offer to install carpeting in your neighbor’s apartment or some sort of soundproofing on the floors or walls. And, you could involve the homeowner’s association. But as you suspect, they might not be willing to step into the middle of this. After all, your neighbor has a right to play with his son.
Your final option would be to move into a place where you live on the top floor, so no sound would travel down. Or, you could move into a single-family house. Living in a condo doesn’t work for everyone.
Finally, it’s the policy of the column not to recommend individual attorneys, brokers or mortgage lenders. But, you can find a good real estate attorney by going through your local bar association. Ask to speak to the person who heads up the real estate committee, and then go from there.
Published: Jan 16, 2004