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Subject: Should I get ready to move and find new place due to noisy neighbor?
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DanielleG4
(Florida)

Posts:31


06/08/2021 5:05 PM  
I know a few of you have been replying to previous posts from me and it’s to be determined by the HOA now. I’m really stressing and this is consuming me, based on feedback I’m very doubtful this is going to work in my favor. Look at previous posts to get better idea, this will be my last post until I actually have an update. I love my place, I own my downstairs condo but the neighbor upstairs is making my life hell. I am tired of hearing she and her guests in the late hours, along with the walking I hear from upstairs. There’s carpeting, I’ve lived in apts before but really don’t remember dealing with this. When I spoke to the HOA mgr, he said that he would get to the bottom of it but I feel like he said that just to make me feel better. I provided two police reports and am not sure if he communicated with she or the owner yet. If it continues, it can lead to fines but I’m not sure if it would go that far based on evidence I give and if the board wants it escalated to that degree.

The declaration says that nuisances including noise are not tolerated but not much detail, they follow city guidelines. I want to see how this plays out before I consider selling my place. I am new at a job so I don’t have any vacation time to move immediately, I would also need to go on the market. Funny enough, I was on the market earlier this year and had around 3 offers on my place but declined all. I changed my mind and worry if I need to sell again, it won’t sell as quickly. I feel like it’s time to plan for the worst, which means selling because the HOA won’t interject.

Side note: when it comes time to provide evidence again to the HOA, should I let the police come by just to hear? The police came by last time to hear the noise and confronted her, but it quieted down as soon as they came. It got heated so if they come again, it’s just for them to witness and write report. Or should I just focus on recording?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3973


06/08/2021 6:59 PM  
If you really love your home, you should fight for it, but keep in mind that noise can be subjective. What's unbearable to you may be tolerable to someone else and a third person may ignore it entirely - could it be you're being too sensitive? Homeowners can enforce the CCRs against each other, so you don't have to wait for the board or property manager, but duke it out in Small Claims Court. You've just complained to the manager so why not give him a chance to look into it before concluding he promised this "just to make you feel better".

You also said you filed two police reports - do you know if the police went out and spoke to the neighbor? They really can't intervene until they hear the racket personally, so you may need to wait until the appropriate time and ask them to come over.

I haven't seen all of the previous conversations on this subject, but I'll assume this person is the owner. Have you even spoken to her about any of this? If so, when and what was her response? Have you been documenting what you're hearing (audio recordings can be time and date stamped)? Have you spoken to any neighbors who live close by - perhaps they're also hearing the noise although they may live upstairs or next door. That could give you more ammunition to go after this neighbor. I also remember some posters suggested things like white noise machines or headphones - did you try those? If so, when and for how long?s

All of this needs to be documented if you're going to take legal action. Sometimes a nastygram from an attorney is enough to compel the neighbor to meet you halfway. Maybe she should consider investing in some thick area rugs with rubber backing that can help keep the noise down. Here's a link to an article with a few more suggestions the neighbor and maybe you may need to try. https://www.realtor.com/advice/rent/noisy-neighbors-apartment-sound-tricks/

If you've tried all of this, but nothing works, you may have a heavy decision to make - we don't live with you, and just because some might suggest moving doesn't mean that's the right decision for you, so only you can decide how much you can take. That said, you should take your own advice and see how all of this plays out before making a move you might regret. In the meantime, continue to document when, what and how the noise unfolds in case you need to take things to another level. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
DanielleG4
(Florida)

Posts:31


06/08/2021 7:18 PM  
When you're in your bedroom & you can hear tv/music & loud talking all the way from the living room, thats not being sensitive thats just loud. The neighbor rents, I own, what you mentioned in the first paragraph would no longer apply?

Both officers spoke with her and pretty much sided with her. As much as I dislike her, I don't want a heated confrontation again which is why I asked if next time I should have just the officer come by to listen & document report not actually knock on her door.

I spoke with a paralegal, they suggested the letter but did not think it was a good idea considering the police coming by were not enough to provide warning.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10247


06/08/2021 9:20 PM  
That is all a personal decision if you want to sell and move. Can't make that decision for you. Plus it just sounds like there is a lack of insulation between the units. Not unusual if it's an older place. That batting can slide down in the walls over time. May consider adding more insulation in the wall on your side. Extra expense but in the long term may save your sanity. Just make sure the HOA doesn't have any ownership on the inside of the walls etc...

Having worked 3rd shift for years, I find the sound of lawncare annoying. My neighborhood has larger yards. So may take 30 minutes or more to mow a yard. Imagine that happening to multiple yards throughout the day and evening. It gets quite loud when multiple people are mowing. I am trying to sleep during the day just to hear a lawnmower, weedeater, or blower outside. Sounds like they are in my house!

I tried everything to drown out the noise. Ended up the best that worked was a sound machine that produced "waves/thunderstorm" noises. Seemed to cancel out the noise a bit. However, what got me the most was when I would complain on Facebook out of frustration of the noise. Actually had people tell me it was MY problem and that lawncare had to be done. True I had my own lawncare. It just needed to vent a little over it... Plus unfriend those people...

So sometimes certain noises just are going to have to exist. I think in this case it may also be the location of the TV on their side. Maybe give them a taste of their own medicine when your not home with your TV up. Just a little bit so they know that things can be heard through the walls. If your being too quiet they may not hear the issue until they HEAR the issue on their end.

Former HOA President
DanielleG4
(Florida)

Posts:31


06/09/2021 4:11 AM  
From what the HOA told me, does it sound like they will fine if I continue to bring recordings or reports? I want to see how that plays out before I consider selling
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2021


06/09/2021 5:22 AM  
Having dealt with noisy neighbors (and sold my unit) here's what I considered what I considered before making the decision:

1. What is my noise tolerance level?

2. How likely is it that the current will be resolved to my satisfaction?

3. Is there something uniquely wonderful about my unit or community, or is there similar housing available in an area that I'd like to live?

Only you know the answer to the first one.

For the second, condo construction is often not great, meaning more noise travels - you won't have neighbors, you'll have roommates that you can't get rid of. In addition, any multi-unit building is going to be noisy, no matter how well constructed or how considerate your neighbors are. If you don't like any noise, condos are probably not for you, and think twice about the townhome-style communities as well. Finally, there is a limit to what a condo board can do about bad neighbors. They can't prevent the bad behavior, only penalize it afterwards and hope that this discourages a repeat, but some folks won't be deterred by anything the board throws at them.

As for the third, that's going to depend on what you want and what's available in your area (you can get a good idea by looking on the various real estate sites).

(For what it's worth, here were my answers to these questions:

1. I'm not willing to have neighbors above me ever again. Even noisy people next door will bother me, although there is often less noise transmission side-to-side.

2. Very unlikely. The upstairs neighbors were loud and inconsiderate even before they added three small children and two dogs. Complaining about kids is a non-starter, although "they're KIDS!" is no consolation when you're the one who can't sleep. And upstairs neighbors can easily retaliate by amping up the noise - they were the kind who would do exactly that.

3. There is plenty of housing in my price range in my area, so it was easy to find something new.

In the end, going through the hassle and expense of moving was a lot less aggravating than dealing with the neighbors. A LOT. I sold my place to an elderly gentleman who was hard of hearing. He lasted less than a year (!) and three more owners came and went during the following five years. So it clearly wasn't just me being unreasonable, and the situation didn't improve after I left - I made the right decision to move.)

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10247


06/09/2021 5:33 AM  
It should be noted I am currently in the process of building a house and moving. So I can't completely be impartial to the moving because of noise issue. Although where I am moving to will be worse with all the construction noises. Ironically, I actually love the sound of construction work. Slept through when they replace me roof...

Former HOA President
DanielleG4
(Florida)

Posts:31


06/09/2021 5:46 AM  
The noise used to come in patterns, she has guests over maybe once a week past 10 PM. I used to only hear her walking every few wks or days, sometimes less or more noticeable. Since I am back at work, I only hear her in the evenings during the week but it's more obvious versus a month ago when I was working from home. I'd say a 7/10 and that's not flying with me. Your comment with construction, I guess it just depends. I have spoken to people where the apts used concrete and that blocked out almost all noise. I've lived in apts most my life & don't remember dealing with this, my current condo isn't old it was built in the 2000's. The HOA said that they can fine & when the person receives the fine, that can shut them up. But I wonder if the board will have it escalated to this degree, depending on the recordings & reports that I send over not sure. I like where I live because i'm close to everything & it's a safe community.
DanielleG4
(Florida)

Posts:31


06/09/2021 5:48 AM  
You mention in your signature that you were a former HOA president, how does the noise complaint process usually play out?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2021


06/09/2021 6:14 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/09/2021 5:33 AM
It should be noted I am currently in the process of building a house and moving. So I can't completely be impartial to the moving because of noise issue. Although where I am moving to will be worse with all the construction noises. Ironically, I actually love the sound of construction work. Slept through when they replace me roof...



Noise is a very individual thing. What is lullaby music to some folks is pull-out-their-hair torture to others.

If you're bothered by noise, you don't need to apologize to anyone. Just realize that you won't get much agreement on what is "unreasonable", that communal housing situations such as condos or apartments are noisy by their nature, and that these things will make it hard to resolve noise complaints to your satisfaction.

You need to choose your housing with that in mind, and prioritize being able to keep out noises that you find bothersome. Personally, I don't think I should have to wear noise-cancelling headphones inside my home on the regular unless I'm living under the flight path of a nearby airport (and I actually kinda like jet plane noise but a neighbor's music or yappy dog has me chewing the walls, go figure).
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10247


06/09/2021 6:14 AM  
Called the police. It's more of an owner versus owner situation. The HOA has to follow the laws too. We may contact the owner of the unit to let them know the situation. After that, it depends on the situation. We could fine if we had a fining schedule for such things. We did not. So just let the police and owners handle it.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2021


06/09/2021 6:29 AM  
Should have added...

Condo boards can only do what they're allowed to do according to the CC&Rs (can they fine or not?) and according to any fining schedule or other rules they make. If your CC&Rs don't allow fines, then the board can't fine. If they do and the board has published a fining schedule, then they can't just double the fine amount because they think the owner is behaving like a jerk.

Boards also have to address violations based on what it "reasonable" or what is acceptable to the average person. Courts often use that criteria to evaluate whether or not a board has exceeded its authority while enforcing community restrictions.

"Reasonable" doesn't matter to an individual subjected to noisy neighbors. The only criteria is whether or not the noise level is acceptable to the person who has to listen to it. That means the person has to take control of their own situation and not assume that the condo association will impose their personal noise standard on the neighbor. After all, the "unacceptable" noise level may be due to poor construction, and the neighbor actually isn't cranking up the TV - there is no way the board will fine the landlord in such a situation.

Stay or go, that's what it will boil down to. If nothing changes - and it's very possible that nothing will change here - can you live with it? There's your answer.
DanielleG4
(Florida)

Posts:31


06/09/2021 8:43 AM  
She’s renting, the police already came by and sided with her. This is why I’m wanting the HOA to get involved but I’m doubtful, there’s a fining schedule
DanielleG4
(Florida)

Posts:31


06/09/2021 8:46 AM  
Yes they can fine, the owner or renter not sure. So they won’t double the fine if it’s continuous?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2021


06/09/2021 8:49 AM  
Posted By DanielleG4 on 06/09/2021 8:46 AM
Yes they can fine, the owner or renter not sure. So they won’t double the fine if it’s continuous?



Only if the fining schedule allows it.
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