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Noise Complaints: When Can It Be a Violation?

A talk by Ainsley Kline

About the Talk

January 21, 2016 1:00 AM

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

If there is a biggest compromise in condo ownership, it would be dealing with the noise. Your next door neighbor may be an aspiring musician who can only practice with his drums when you are already exhausted from listening to the ruckus and the wailing of the next door baby in the middle of the night. The floor may also be creaking from whatever the neighbor upstairs may be doing.

Similar issues are being experienced by a lot of condo tenants all over the world. Although it is a part of condo regulation, a lot of individuals remain oblivious of whether their daily activities are already affecting other people. Property managers and condominium corporations should take this issue seriously or risk financial consequences. In a recent case, a condominium corporation that failed to enforce its rules prohibiting excessive noise was ordered to compensate an owner for the costs incurred to find alternative accommodation and was ordered to pay a significant costs award. The judge also criticized the property manager for not having taken the complaint seriously.

It is emphasized in every contract that tenants should follow certain bylaws to avoid noise complaints which is one of the most crucial issues in condo ownership. Even if you have already bought the condominium and you have the right to do whatever you want in your property, there are certain things like etiquette and respect to consider.

According to the legal team of The Peterson Group Bespoke Condominium and Residences, provider of luxury condominium to expatriates in Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, making a noise that impacts another person’s enjoyment of their property and rights is considered nuisance. The challenge comes down to figuring which noise is considered reasonable and which is violation. We all experience life subjectively and what bothers one person may be entirely acceptable to another.

For those who are technical, you can measure noise through decibels. If it surpasses a certain level of decibels, then, you can take your stand and complain. To review, an increase by 10 dBA represents sounds that are perceived to be twice as loud. While sound levels of 65 dBA are annoying to most individuals, constant or repeated exposure to levels of 90 dBA or higher can lead to hearing loss.

If you are not sure of your complaints, then try to ask your condo association. Take proofs with you. If you can, record the noise being made. Keep a journal of the frequency, timing and nature of the disturbances and seek counsel from the management.

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