Condo Renter Complaining of Loud Rooftop Air Conditioner Noise

mc_horrified

K.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I am on the board of our association and we have been working with a renter on the top floor (3rd) of our garden community who is complaining of high levels of noise coming from the roof through her ceiling. Unfortunately for this unit, the Air Conditioning unit that serves several units in her area is centered directly over her unit. The owner of the unit lived there for several years without complaint, but since renting, the current tenant says its intolerable. We have tried several things over the last several months to reduce the noise, including replacing the pump and adding noise reduction elements around the piping, but when the unit runs, the sound of the water cannot be further dampened without severe measures, which would involve moving the unit or replacing the roof and adding sound dampening insulation, etc., none of which are budgeted. The tenant has spoken to the local government representative and is threatening to file an official complaint with the association. My question is whether we, as a board, have done our due diligence or if there’s more we should do. I am working with our property management to provide more information, but they are moving slowly and I fear a lack of response on our side will provoke the tenant to move forward with her complaint, which of course we all would like to avoid. thank you for any thoughts or clarity you can provide.

Mister Condo replies:

K.S., from what you have told me, you have done all that you can do. While the noise may be unbearable to the tenant, it is not a new condition the association created. The condition pre-existed before the tenant took possession of the unit and my guess is that the rule of “Buyer Beware” may come in to play here. In other words, since the noise was already occurring when the renter entered into the rental agreement, the renter knew what he or she was getting into when they agreed to rent the unit. Further, the association very likely has no obligations to the renter as the renter is neither a member of the association nor the owner of the unit. If the unit owner wishes to pursue the association for remedy and this condition has always existed, I would say they are not too likely to have success. That being said, this is one for the association’s attorney to handle. The fact that the association has already made some efforts to abate the noise may suffice but you really need a solid legal opinion here before you proceed. My guess is that the attorney will review the association’s documents as well as local noise ordinances if the noise is loud enough to qualify and then offer an opinion on how to proceed. Good luck!

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