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Subject: Squeaky floors whos responsible Owner or HOA
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Author Messages
DeniseS7
(Washington)

Posts:1


08/30/2019 5:27 PM  
I have a downstairs Owner who is telling his upstairs owner they need to fix thier squeaky floor (not sure if it is floor or joints)and has given them 60 days to fix.\

does this even fall under the rights of quiet enjoyment ? I would not consider this excessive noise so can he demand this. Or would this fall under the this old house rule and welcome to community living?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8601


08/30/2019 10:09 PM  
There are some responsibility to reduce noise. Many HOA's ban hard wood flooring on 2nd floor units due to the noise. If installed, it must meet noise reduction steps. Like making sure there is a padding under the boards when installed.

There are ways to mitigate some of the sounds. If it's loose boards, they make a special screw and applicator to tightened boards to the floor. Seen it on a "This Old House" episode. It has a special screw that breaks off flush. It adheres the board tighter to the subflooring.

Who is responsible is a bit of a mixture of both owner and HOA. The HOA if it has restrictions for wood flooring, should be enforcing. The owner should have cleared the installation of wood flooring with the HOA. That way the HOA would know if they had put down a padding to reduce noise or even allowing it was an option.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:459


08/31/2019 5:47 AM  
We need some clarification:

* Do you own both units, or only the downstairs one?

* How old is the building? How many units? Is it a high-rise, or converted older structure?

* What do your governing documents say about flooring requirements for upstairs units, if anything?

* What do your governing documents say about nuisances, noise, and related complaints?

* Does Washington have any state laws that would be relevant? (For example, California requires flooring to pass certain requirements.)

* What is the history of the upstairs unit? For instance, is the flooring original to the building? Did the owner or the tenant install flooring without approval? Have any of your previous tenants complained about the same thing?

Here is what my association's attorney told us when we were dealing with a similar issue:

- The "quiet enjoyment" and similar restrictions are not objective and can be hard to enforce, unlike parking rules and the like. In that case, you have to look at what is "reasonable" and what a typical owner would object to, and this is always a judgement call. (Ohio doesn't have specific noise or flooring requirements for condos.)

- The board needed to first verify the complaint: were we able to hear the same thing that the complaining person did, and what was our opinion? (In our case, the complainer was fussing about noises that nobody else could hear. So you shouldn't just take someone's word that there is a problem - investigate first.)

- People who live in multi-family housing should expect some level of noise. People who are especially bothered by it have some obligation to choose housing situations that meet their needs. In other words, if you can't stand to have noise overhead, you should not live in a home that has neighbors upstairs or that has thin walls/barriers between units - you'll never be happy no matter what steps the neighbors take to modify the situation.

- From personal experience: the behavior of the upstairs neighbors has more of an effect than the flooring.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6632


08/31/2019 9:42 AM  
Agree with Cathy, need more info.

If confine by a neutral 3rd party as "too" noisy, the board should call the owners of the squeaky floor unit to a hearing, get their side of the story and perhaps demand the noise be fixed. Might be easy as Melissa notes.

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