N.L. from New York City writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We live in NYC on the top floor of an 8-story (converted) pre-war building with a small common roof deck (with a dining table, two benches and 4 sun loungers on it) directly above us. Some residents have insisted on using the deck for playing ball, playing running games and/or playing fetch with their dog, resulting not only in causing our ceiling to shake as if there were bombs exploding above us, but also, at least on the one occasion that we personally witnessed, in a ball flying over the edge of the roof and onto the sidewalk below. Unfortunately, our condo’s Roof Rules say nothing specifically about above activities (though they do contain language regarding excessive noise). When we complained to the board, both on the grounds of excessive disturbance to us and the obvious safety concerns, their response was basically: “nothing to see here, all part and parcel of living in an apartment building”. Through a simple Google search we have found that most buildings prohibit such activities on the common roof. Is there anything we can do to force our Board to acknowledge in some way that such activities should be refrained from? (Unfortunately, the fact that one of the people engaging in these activities is a member of the board does not help.) Thank you in advance!
Mister Condo replies:
N.L., the fact that your Board has basically thrown up their hands over this potentially dangerous activity concerns me greatly. Suppose that ball that went off the roof as you mentioned and fell 8 stories and took out a windshield of a moving car that then crashed and either killed or injured several people. Who do you think would get sued? Your association! There is good reason that you are seeing so many tall buildings with regulations against such activities on their roof. As is often the problem with volunteer Board members, these folks need to educate themselves about the risk they are putting all owners in the association by not having rules against such blatantly dangerous behavior. Of course, your Board members are democratically elected by the association members. If you can’t get these volunteers to handle the business of the association better, it is time for new volunteers. Perhaps, you’re up for the task, N.L.? Hopefully, this Board or a new Board will understand the risk and pass rules to limit the liability and your peaceable enjoyment of your unit. Good luck!