Noise is an inevitable reality in homeowners associations and condominium communities. Condominium dwellers live in such close proximity, it’s essential that we consider the effect noise will have on our neighbors when deciding on floor coverings, where to mount the flat-screen television or when to knock out a wall.
We—you and your neighbors—all have a right to enjoy our homes in peace and to furnish them as we like. But remember, how you furnish your unit may be a nuisance to your neighbors in theirs.
Hard flooring—wood, ceramic, stone—is fashionable and collects far fewer allergens than carpet, making it very popular. But it can be a problem for the folks downstairs, even if you make an effort to tread lightly or wear soft shoes. If you’re considering installing hard flooring in your unit, first install a sound barrier—like cork—to reduce noise. And hope the people above you do the same.
Flat-screen televisions are becoming more affordable every year, and many of our residents have them. Please mount your screen on an interior wall—not a wall you share with a neighbor. Reverberations from wall-mounted televisions can be an annoyance for those on the other side.
How much noise does it take to be a nuisance? One definition says nuisance is a level of disturbance beyond what a reasonable person would find tolerable. But, sometimes the question isn’t how much noise we make, but when we make it. You or your neighbor might find the raucous party next door entirely tolerable—until about 10 or 11 p.m. A noisy renovation downstairs might be intolerable if it’s a religious or ethnic holiday for you. Whatever you’re planning, give some thought to the day as well as the time of day for your activity.
If you have noisy neighbors, talk to them. They probably have no idea they’re disturbing you. Maybe you work nights and their teenager—whose room backs up to yours—blasts the audio system after school each day.
The Golden Rule applies here: Treat your neighbors the way you want them to treat you.
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