Upstairs, Downstairs, Noise, Noise, Noise!

W.Y. from Hartford County writes:

I live in a 15 story condo building. My problem is that there is a tremendous amount of noise that comes through my ceiling whenever my upstairs neighbor walks around. It sounds as if the ceiling is going to come crashing down on me. I’ve complained to the property manager but I was told that nothing can be done. I don’t really know my upstairs neighbor so I haven’t spoken to him about the noise. Do you have any ideas on how I can get the noise to stop?

Mister Condo replies:

W.Y., multi-story buildings are often noisy. Unfortunately, that is the nature of living below or on top of someone else. Chances are that if you are having noise problems, so are many of your neighbors. That could be good news when it comes to getting the community to take action to lower noise within your condo. I don’t have an easy solution for you but I do have some suggestions that you could try.

The first thing to consider is why you are hearing so much noise. The problem is usually thin flooring or walls and/or a lack of sound insulation. Depending on when your condo was built, sound insulating technologies may not have been taken into consideration. You might want to ask your Board to consider installing sound insulation throughout the building. This can be expensive so don’t be surprised if the idea isn’t very popular.

Another thing to consider is a “Quiet Campaign”. This would encourage all residents to be mindful of noise. No yelling or screaming allowed; walk softly inside your unit; remove high heels or other potentially loud shoes; and so on. You could petition the Board to get behind the campaign and hang posters, publish reminders in your newsletter, put up signs, whatever it takes to get the community to be quieter. Don’t expect overnight results. It takes time for a community to embrace a Quiet Campaign and there is no guarantee it will.

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