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  1. #1

    Default Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    My question involves a condominium located in the State of: Texas

    I have lived in a 800+ unit luxury high rise condo for 6 years (concrete walls; very soundproof). Someone in the unit above me has installed a hardwood floor above me. It seems they did not install underlay that would cause sounds to not come into my unit below them. As a result, even chairs moving upstairs are amplified in my condo (people on the phone with me can even hear it. What makes it worse is that this person seems to have a late night job & comes home at 12:15 AM or 2:15 AM every night (I am a deep sleeper but am awakened by high heels walking above me, things dropping, etc).

    I have contacted the Management Company GM a few times. At first, I was told it was impossible to hear anything (trust me, it's not!); there is a foot of concrete between floors. Now he is saying he's trying to work with her (is not quite as bad, but still bad enough that I'm woken up several times per week in the night, & when I'm home in the day, it's awful hearing all the scraping, banging above me, amplified in my unit).

    Just this month, there is a new condo bylaw they're trying to get passed, requiring our 1st Mortgagor's approval: "Requiring use of new generation sound deadening floor underlayment and sheet rock in any future remodeling projects to further isolate our units." So, it seems that it's acknowledged that it causes a problem (I've since heard it's a problem for a few other units, too, where someone has installed the hardwood but not the underlay). This bylaw will apply for future units.

    With or without the above bylaw, am I legally able to require the unit above me to rip out their hardwood & reinstall with a noise cancelling underlay? What are my options? I will lose $ if I try to sell my place now (& will create an enemy with anyone else who tries to live here!), and I can't rent it out because no tenant will be ok with the sound from above... Do I have any options??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    If there was no legal or contractual reason why your upstairs neighbor couldn't install hardwood, or why her installation was improper, you have no legal basis to compel its removal.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    Does my "right to quiet/peaceful enjoyment" come in to play here? What constitutes a violation of this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    1,995

    Default Re: Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    Quote Quoting condoowner0873
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    What are my options? I will lose $ if I try to sell my place now (& will create an enemy with anyone else who tries to live here!), and I can't rent it out because no tenant will be ok with the sound from above... Do I have any options??
    Everyone has a different tolerance to noise.

    I own a 2 family, rent out the middle floor, and I use the floor above my tenant, plus the floor below. I have to say that due to the construction, it was noisier than my last home.

    Some years ago, I had a tenant, very nice people, who would come by every other week complaining that our walking upstairs bothered them. This was before we had the kids, and I'm a couch potato. I come home from work, watch TV on the couch, walk over to the dinner table to have dinner, then go to bed. My wife may walk around the kitchen a bit while doing the cooking. Both of us worked at the time, and don't come home till after 6:00PM. And we even explained we don' even wear shoes in the house.

    We were wondering, how noisy could it be??

    Anyway, those tenants were there for two years, and my current tenants are now here for almost 8 years. In the last 8 years, mindful of the issues with my prior tenant, I specifically asked a few times "is it noisy with the kids running around upstairs", now that we got kids running around, instead of just me lying on the couch. Each time, they seemed surprised at the question, and they answered "no, not at all, we don't have a problem".

    So if it is a big issue for you, don't think the next buyer or tenant would be just as sensitive, and being landlords of a number or properties, I found when certain things really really bother people, it doesn't bother the next person one bit.

    And legally, I don't think the HOA can make the upstairs neighbor redo his floors.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    4

    Default Re: Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    We are renting a condo with hardwood floors. The neighbors below bought their unit 5 years ago. I don't know if the floors are properly installed (they don't squeak) but the neighbors lived with the owners of this condo above them for 4 years out of 5, no problem. Now, once the owners moved and rented the place out, the neighbors are taking the hardwood floor issue on us. We are very quiet renters, no kids, watch TV at night and go to sleep, I doubt we make more noise then the owners did. We bought soft slippers to make them more comfortable. They first demanded us to buy rugs but we are allergic, we specifically rented a place with hardwood floors. I doubt that rugs would help if it's a structural issue. Then they complained to HOA that somebody went to the bathroom at 2am. I don't know why should WE be responsible for this problem?

    The interesting part, we live next to train tracks and trains honk every night when passing by. They are VERY loud, and the law making them honk was passed BEFORE they bought this property. A person sensitive to noise wouldn't buy property next to train tracks.

    In our previous apartment we had neighbors above where a kid would throw tantrums at nights, and smash items (chairs?) over the floor. We were ok about it, we cannot require them to get rid of the child. It's always a matter of tolerance to the others.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Michigan
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    28,906

    Default Re: Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    If you're asking a question, as opposed to simply adding a comment, please start your own thread and identify your state.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    2

    Default Re: Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    To the original poster:

    I don't think that you have any legal rights in this situation. Unfortunately our laws across the country seem to be unable to keep up with the increasing homeowner issues arising from more and more people in society. On one hand I completely understand your situation because I have experienced similar issues. On the other hand there isn't much that can be done to prove that your neighbors are in fact being overly noisy, and you're not just being whiny. It's just one of those things that has not been properly thought out regarding neighbors. I honestly do hope that some court in some district is developing some kind of new system relating to this issue, but in all likelyhood many of those who create our laws do not live in such close proximity to those around them as to understand these issues. It does lower the value of your property if word gets around that neighbors in your area are being allowed to install flooring that is detrimental to the well being of the individual below them. I'm sorry you are having to experience this. I hope that you can find some sort of remedy soon.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Condo Hardwood Floor Installed Above, Now All Noise Echos Loudly in My Unit

    In Florida I recall several cases where they would bring in a decibel meter and if it was over a certain threshold they would force the upstairs to install the sound barrier. I also believe it is a law in the state of Florida.

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