By Nicole R. Kurtz / Published January 2018
Does your neighbor’s loud music, barking dog, or late-night visitors keep you up at night? If you live in a condominium building, your answer is probably ‘yes.’ A recurring complaint that we receive from condominium unit owners is that they are able to hear their neighbors through shared walls, followed by the frustration of feeling as if there is no recourse. Here are some tips on how to deal with noisy neighbors.
Depending on the materials that were used to build your condominium building, it is possible that the walls are to blame for hearing everything your neighbor says or does. From routine noises, such as walking or watching television, to noisier activities, such as blasting music or operating loud appliances, the building’s lack of insulation may be the reason that noises become magnified in your place of retreat. Take a second to think about whether or not the noise you are stewing about is intentional. Recognizing that your neighbor may be hearing the same type of commotion coming from your unit may provide a different perspective. With that said, if your neighbor is creating excessive noise, and frequently at odd hours of the day, feel free to take the next step.
Everyone has become carried away at least once with an occasional house party that ran late or by watching a loud action film after midnight. However, when issues such as these become a consistent practice, it is important to take action. If you are not able to drown out your neighbor’s constant clamor, try giving him or her a polite courtesy knock on the adjoining wall or ceiling. Oftentimes, this helps your neighbor become aware that his noise is being carried beyond his unit.
If the noise continues, consider paying your neighbor a personal visit to civilly explain the problem. You may find that you do not even have to explain yourself, as many times your neighbor will immediately realize why you are visiting his unit in the first place. Should a discussion ensue, remain polite. The goal is to create a practical solution that will allow both neighbors to happily coexist. If that means coming up with a solution that makes noise on weekdays after 11:00 p.m. to be unacceptable but allows weekends to be fair game, then great.
Sometimes, even when you try to solve an issue amicably, the problem persists. Should your neighbor continue to engage in loud activities, then your best bet is to report the problem to your association’s management personnel. The management personnel may send security professionals to the unit in an effort to try to resolve the situation. Make sure the incident is properly documented via an incident report. To the extent that the excessive noise continues after taking the above-mentioned actions, then you may want to request that the property manager impose a violation against the resident causing the noise.
If involving your association’s management personnel and imposing fines does not work, then you may wish to consider calling your local police department in an effort to obtain a police report, specifying that the resident is failing to comply with local noise ordinances. If you find yourself calling your local police department on a consistent basis, and if the excessive noise continues in violation of your local city ordinances, then you may wish to contact your local city building department to seek to obtain a city violation for such excessive noise.
Ultimately, when dealing with noisy neighbors, it is important to try to resolve the situation in the friendliest terms possible, while not surrendering the serenity you deserve to have in your home.
Nicole R. Kurtz
Attorney with Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, Da La Torre, Mars & Sobel P.A.
Nicole R. Kurtz is an attorney with the South Florida law firm Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, De La Torre, Mars & Sobel P.A. who focuses on community association law and is based at the firm’s Coral Gables office. The law firm represents more than 800 Florida associations, and it also maintains offices in Broward and Palm Beach counties. For more information, visit www.srhl-law.com, www.FloridaHOALawyerBlog.com, or call (305) 442-3334.