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Subject: When is noise considered a nuisance?
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JessicaM9
(Florida)

Posts:3


09/28/2018 4:33 PM  
Homeowners A and B both have screened lanais and pools. Homes are not staggered, and about 8-10ft. apart. Homeowner B has outdoor television and outdoor surround sound speakers. Homeowner B hosts frequent lanai parties that last for 8-10 hours a day- including music and lots of shouting and yelling from adults, not small children. This occurred for a few months, and finally Homeowner A decided to speak with Homeowner B and asked that they please turn music down, specifically the bass. Homeowner B refused, so there was no further conversation regarding other concerns. After reviewing log of frequency and duration as well as video footage provided by Homeowner A, the board agreed to send Homeowner B a violation letter citing a general nuisance bylaw. We have no bylaws with specifics regarding this type of noise. We have ‘quiet hours’ bylaws, but nothing regarding daytime hours and noise levels/frequency/duration.

Homeowner A reported that the music volume has improved since the violation letter was sent, but is still unhappy with the bass level as well as frequency and duration of lanai parties hosted by Homeowner B. Homeowner A states still frequently being unable to use pool and lanai, or have windows open.

The board is debating how to proceed in regards to what exactly would be considered a nuisance. The neighborhood is generally pretty quiet, aside from someone throwing an occasional party, so this situation has never been encountered before.

The questions being pondered are:

How often is reasonable to hear music and/or parties from another property? Every weekend? Once a month? A few times a year?

What is a reasonable duration to play loud music and/or party outside? A few hours? 8 hours a day?

Is it reasonable for a homeowner to play music and/or party loud enough that a neighbor can hear noise inside with windows and doors closed? What about with windows open?

Should outdoor speakers and televisions be permitted without board approval?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts, it is greatly appreciated!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5767


09/28/2018 5:37 PM  
Can you cite the exact wording of your bylaws about general nuisances? Is there also something in your CC&Rs on the topic that you can cite for us?
JessicaM9
(Florida)

Posts:3


09/28/2018 5:55 PM  
"No owner shall make or permit any disturbing or offensive noises that may cause annoyance, discomfort or nuisance to other homeowners."

Other noise related items in CC&R's only pertain to 'quiet hours'.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7671


09/28/2018 6:25 PM  
We had a noise restriction of after 10 pm and no work (contractors) till 8 am. Those hours were basically our "Quiet" hours. Violators we would call the police to enforce. Now some places may use a noise measuring device. It would measure decibels. So as long as the noise fell under a certain decibel level it was acceptable. You can't get rid of certain ambient noises like bugs/animals/machinery. There has to be a base line.

Noise issues can turn into more of a neighbor versus neighbor than an HOA one. My opinion if the noise isn't happening on common areas (Pool/clubhouse/amenity area) then it's a neighbor thing.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5767


09/28/2018 6:54 PM  
I think some will agree with Melissa that it's a neighbor/neighbor dispute. EXCEPT there ARE nuisance provisions in this case and in my HOA, they even are stricter.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2435


09/29/2018 11:43 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 09/28/2018 6:54 PM
I think some will agree with Melissa that it's a neighbor/neighbor dispute. EXCEPT there ARE nuisance provisions in this case and in my HOA, they even are stricter.

"'No owner shall make or permit any disturbing or offensive noises that may cause annoyance, discomfort or nuisance to other homeowners.'"

That should be enough to answer your questions, JessicaM9.

1. How often is it reasonable to hear noise/parties from another property? I think the answer is even a single instance is not reasonable.

2. @hat is a reasonable duration to play loud music outside? After 10 minutes it's a nuisance. It's loud noise that disturbs and annoys me. The end. It's a violation of your CC&Rs.

3. Is it reasonable to make so much noise that a neighbor can hear it inside their home with all the doors and windows closed? No, that's not reasonable. Your CC&R provision forbids it even if the neighbor is outside.

4. Should outdoor speakers and TVs be permitted without board approval? No. Not even with board approval. The board can't approve something that's in violation of your CC&Rs.

It sounds to me like you're beating around the bush and fudging numbers. "Well, maybe it's OK if it only lasts 4 hours. Maybe it's OK if it's not too loud. The neighbors can just go inside and close their windows and doors and then it won't disturb them."

Time to crack down, I say.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:510


09/29/2018 12:10 PM  
Look to your local or state ordnance for guidance on quiet times etc.
RoyalpitA
(South Carolina)

Posts:149


09/29/2018 12:54 PM  
"'No owner shall make or permit any disturbing or offensive noises that may cause annoyance, discomfort or nuisance to other homeowners.'"


The 'offended/annoyed' homeowner is free to pursue redress for the contract violation.

IMO: since the restriction against nuisances is broadly worded and subject to interpretation the HOA should NOT become involved


OP: check with the authority having jurisdiction for daytime noise ordinances (if any)
JessicaM9
(Florida)

Posts:3


10/02/2018 2:49 PM  
KerryL1, would you mind sharing your nuisance provisions?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5767


10/02/2018 4:56 PM  

Sure, Jessica. these are from our Rules & Regulations and they draw from our CC&Rs broader statement against nuisances including noxious odors noise.

We're twin tower high rise condos so our rules most likely are stricter than for detached homes. Oh, I forgot one that prohibits amplified music in the pool area or gym.

1. Owners are responsible at all times for the reasonable conduct of themselves, their tenants and guests. Loud or boisterous conduct anywhere on XXXXX property, including in your residence, which disturbs the comfort and quiet enjoyment of others, is prohibited.
1. The volume of radio, stereo, television and musical instruments must be held at a reasonable level at all times so other residents are not disturbed. After 10:00 P.M. the volume must be significantly reduced so as not to disturb other residents.
2. Speakers and floor-supported musical instruments (e.g., pianos and organs) or other equipment must be properly isolated from direct contact with floors and walls in order to minimize vibrations.

Pool area : 2. Absolutely no running, pushing, or horseplay around or in the pool area is permitted. This includes “dunking” activities. At no time may there be any loud noise, disturbance or other activity that creates a nuisance to residents. Diving into the pools is not allowed.
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