B.J. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I recently purchased a condo unit in a high-rise building (first time homeowner, very excited). The unit is over 20 years old so I decided to update the kitchen and bathroom before moving in. I’ve been complying with the condo’s HOA rules regarding renovation and noise level. I made sure my contractor is only working during the allowed hours which are 8-5 Monday thru Friday. Yet my neighbor will complain by banging on our shared wall during renovation to express her discontent. The next day I took the proactive action to write her a note thanking her for her patience and understanding during this time (and also apologizing for the noise) and assured her that my contractor will only work during the allowed hours per HOA rules. Any renovation is going have a level of noise. It is what it is. I even informed my neighbor of our expected finished date hoping she can bear with us for a few more weeks. She smiled and welcomed me to the neighborhood. Things seemed OK until I found out she filed a complaint to management. I’ve been really conscientious during construction and even wrote her a note. I’ve done everything I can think of to be courteous and kind. I hate to start off on the wrong foot with my next door neighbor. I thought about giving her a nice basket of fruits after the renovation is done to thank her, but I am afraid she will just throw the fruits back at me. Is there advice you can offer in terms of how to deal with such a sensitive (and or potential whiny) neighbor?
Mister Condo replies:
B.J., welcome to condo living! Congratulations on your first-time home buying experience. As long as you are following the rules of the HOA, there really isn’t too much you can do at this time. Renovations and remodeling projects require patience from your neighbors although there is no rule in the condo bylaws that states they have to be tolerant or polite. Your neighbor is doing what she can by complaining to the management company who will log her complaint and take appropriate action, which in this case, is likely none. If you and your contractor are following the rules you are both within your rights to continue as you are. You can remodel. She can complain. As you stated “it is what it is”. I’ll add that “this too shall pass” and after some time I think you would do well to extend another olive branch to your neighbor. There is no point in the tow of you not getting along. The noise will be over and you may be neighbors for years to come. Of course, there may a time when the shoe is on the other foot and you need to tolerate a new bathroom being installed next door to you. I hope you will remember what it was like when you remodeled and cut your neighbor some slack if that happens. You might also wish to invite your neighbor over to your place once the job is done so she can see how the remodeled unit looks. 20 years is a long time for a unit to go unchanged. I am sure your unit will be vastly improved because of these improvements. The visual show might be just what your neighbor needs to get over the inconvenience caused by the noise from the project now. Good job on being a good neighbor. I am sure it will come back to you richly. All the best!