D.S. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Hi! I bought a condo on the top floor of my building 3 months ago. During renovations I noticed there was a lot of vibration and noise coming from the HVAC system on the roof above my unit. I had a sound expert come and assess the situation. His analysis showed the level of sound was twice what the accepted standard is. I have emailed and met with the Management Company and board, but no one is moving forward to fix this. I even offered to underwrite the cost. Because of their indifference, I want to know what I can do legally. It is a simple fix and I cannot understand why they would want it to blow up on them. Thoughts?
Mister Condo replies:
D.S., I am sure that living with a noisy HVAC system above your head is quite a pain and I am sorry for what you are enduring. I am not an attorney so I would advise you to speak with one pronto if the Board doesn’t come around to see it your way. There are lots of reasons why a Board may not move quickly on an issue like this. The first one that comes to mind is this is the first time they have been made aware of the problem. You hired a sound expert but I’ll bet they haven’t. This HVAC system existed for years before you lived there and undoubtedly made just as much noise and vibration as it does now and they never had a problem. You have created a new problem for them and they need to learn how to solve it. The HVAC system is a common element and while it has a life expectancy that will require eventual replacement, there may not be enough money in the current Reserve Fund to handle such a pricy item. Your offer to underwrite the cost is impressive but the association still has to deal with the long-term issues of replacing such a potentially expensive item. My guess is that the squeaky wheel will get the grease in this situation and that if you persist or bring suit against the association, you will get your new HVAC system. However, as is the case in most condos, things take time and you should continue to work with your Board to solve the problem and understand that they only meet monthly and they may need to hear back from contractors, building inspectors, and even noise inspectors before they can commit to a new system. If the process moves too slowly for you, you might consider launching a lawsuit but, keep in mind, a lawsuit might slow things down further and will create another unexpected financial burden for the association.