Strategies for Dealing with Noise Disputes
Noise disputes among owners can be one of the most troublesome problems community associations and their managers face. Not only can they be expensive to resolve, they can cause community unrest and bad feelings. However, if a community association acts quickly and assertively, it may be able to diffuse the dispute, or at least keep the association out of court.
Noise issues often involve a downstairs owner’s complaints of noise coming from the unit above. This frequently involves floor coverings, or the lack of them. The typical dispute has a common set of facts. An upstairs unit owner decides to upgrade by removing existing carpeting and installing hardwood or some other hard-surface flooring in its place. This upgrade occurs without application or notice to the architectural control committee. The first time the board becomes aware of the problem is when a complaint is made by the owner of the unit below. The usual complaints include increased noise from the upper unit-walking, voices, music, or television sounds.