S.F. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The steam heating system has pipes that run through our unit into the units above. These pipes bang like crazy every time the heat comes on and the experts tell us this is probably due to a problem in a radiator in the unit above us. We have tried to make contact with the owner above us, explain the situation, and offer to pay for any fixes that might stop the banging. Despite emails, phone calls, and knocking on the door, we’ve never gotten any answer at all. This has apparently been a problem in the past (before we moved in), as the owner has neglected paying assessments until late payment fines were imposed on her. And it was the same thing–no response over and over. We are a small, self-managed condo association. What should I do?
Mister Condo replies:
S.F., I am sorry you are having to live with so much noise. You’ve tried the direct approach with your neighbor and that has not yielded any results. It is time to take a good look at your condo docs, complain about the problem to the Board, and, perhaps, hire an attorney if the Board cannot correct the problem. You governance documents likely contain a clause ensuring your peaceable enjoyment of your unit. You need to complain, in writing, to the Board of your neighbor’s loud noise and cite as a violation of the by-laws noise restrictions. Then it is up to the Board to enforce the regulation. Which includes asking the unit owner to appear before the Board to defend against the claim. Unless the Board is satisfied with the explanation, they may then issue a fine and/or take further action for repeated offenses, which you will need to report each time they occur. With cooler weather upon us, that could very well be every day. This documentation may be needed if the case ends up in court, which is quite possible. If the Board cannot correct the unit owner’s behavior, you may need to sue the association for failing to protect your right to peaceable enjoyment of your unit. In a small association like yours, this is quite expensive for the association but it is also the last resort to restore the peace. I hope it doesn’t come to that for you but it may be necessary if this unit owner refuses to play nice. Good luck!