L.B. from New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I own a condo in an 8-unit (4 above, 4 below) building. The new people above me have 3 small children. These children are not parented in anyway whatsoever. I’ve reached out several times to the board and property manager about the endless noise, running, jumping, screaming, etc. and they keep brushing it under the rug stating the owner has been spoken to and no laws are being broken, kids are noisy blah blah blah. The other day the child must have jumped off a piece of furniture and jumped so hard that when it landed a nail popped out of the ceiling leaving a hole. The association president happened to be outside and I asked him to come in to see. He witnessed and heard the noise himself. Today I get an email stating they can’t do anything about it and the damage is my responsibility. Mr. Condo, what can I do? I have zero quiet enjoyment of my unit and now damage. All board members are upstairs owners so they do not have any idea what us 4 lower peons live with. Is this something that requires an attorney or am I supposed to keep sucking it up or move (which isn’t an option)?
Mister Condo replies:
L.B., I am sorry that you find yourself in this situation. Peaceable enjoyment is typically a clause in most condo documents. However, there is no “one size fits all” definition for peaceable enjoyment so it is difficult for many condo associations to enforce the rule. Children can be noisy but so can adults playing loud music, video games, etc.. If the Board is unwilling or unable to deal with the situation, your only other option is to seek legal counsel for true legal advice on the matter. I don’t personally think you will be happy at your current address. If it were me, I would sell and purchase a unit or home where peace and quiet were more likely to be achieved. I am not sure why moving isn’t an option for you but if you stay put, all you can do is try to make your unit as sound-proof as possible. That may mean working with an acoustical contractor who would install sound deadening materials. It will be expensive and will not guarantee silence from your upstairs neighbors but it should help. If the attorney feels you have a case against the association, it will cost both you and the association money to deal with the lawsuit. The end result may not satisfy you because, let’s face it, your upstairs neighbors have children and they will very likely continue to make noise. I wish I had better news for you but I am afraid that other than earplugs and sound-proofing your home, you are likely to have this noise problem for quite some time. Are you sure you can’t sell? All the best!