Tips for Dealing with Noise in Your HOA or Condo

By Amy Repke
Image Description

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.

HOAresources.com explores questions and comments from community association members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:

Get More Expert Advice

Join CAI’s online community for access to the industry’s most in-demand community association resources.

Thousands of your peers are sharing advice.

Amy Repke

Amy Repke, Vice President, Communications & Marketing. Amy brings more than 20 years of experience to CAI. Her communications career began in television news where she worked as a producer, writer, and assignment manager for local and network news channels. Amy has been nominated for four Washington Regional Emmy awards for writing and producing. Amy is a graduate of Old Dominion University and received a master's degree in Strategic Public Communications from American University.