J.B. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
How can I defend myself against malicious accusations of being the cause of too much noise when in reality I live alone and only have visits?
Mister Condo replies:
J.B., nobody likes to be accused of something they aren’t doing. Unfortunately, one unit owner’s quiet and peaceful enjoyment can be another unit owner’s loud noise nightmare. I am guessing that the answer lies in finding out exactly what you are being accused of and by whom so that both you and the person lodging the complaints against you can come to an understanding. Start with your condo docs and the section about noise regulations. For most communities, reasonable amounts of noise are allowable from morning to early evening with “quiet” hours from 10:00 p.m. on. Your rules may vary but having visitors over for a few cocktails at 10:00 p.m. can sound like a raucous affair when your neighbors are already asleep. Also, you need to understand how your association handles noise complaints. Usually, the complaint is made to a property manager or directly to the Board. At their next meeting the Board reviews the complaint and takes action if necessary. The first step is generally a letter to the unit owner accused of breaking the rule, in your case, a noise rule. The unit owner should have an opportunity to address the Board at their next meeting to tell his or her side of the story. If the Board is satisfied, that could be the end. If not, the Board may issue a fine and continue to issue fines for repeated offenses. If what you say is true, my guess is that you could easily explain your side of the issue to your Board and the problem will go away. If it is a particular neighbor that is “out to get you”, you could see the incident drag on. That is rare and unfortunate but I have heard of instances where neighbor versus neighbor issues drag on for years. The Board can’t govern neighborliness so my advice is to try and be a good neighbor and win them over with kindness. All the best!