B.D. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
What are my rights as a unit owner against unwarranted noise complaints?
Mister Condo replies:
B.D., if you find yourself on the receiving end of a noise complaint, or any other complaint for that matter, you do have the right for due process before your association takes action against you in the form of a fine. Your condo documents should outline the rules for “peaceable enjoyment” of your unit. This is to protect you, as well as your neighbors, from outlandish sounds coming from a neighboring unit at all hours of the day or night. When someone is disturbed by noise enough to make a complaint, the Board should review the complaint and issue a notice of warning against the unit owner who is alleged to have been the cause of the noise. If the offense continues, the Board should summon the unit owner to appear before the Board at its next meeting to discuss what further action will be taken. Generally speaking, this is a formality that gives the offender an opportunity to say “it wasn’t me” or “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again”. Then the Board can decide to issue a fine or let it slide. Of course, repeat offenders are routinely fined as that is the only remedy available to the Board.
Since you didn’t describe the complaint that was filed against you I can only assume it came from a neighbor who you wither don’t know or mistakenly identified you as the unit owner with the loud noise. A friendly discussion with this neighbor might clear up the situation or you might just have someone who has a different definition of “noise”. Either way, it is best to get this situation cleared up before it mushrooms into something bigger. You and your neighbors are all deserving of peaceable unit enjoyment. Good luck!