Q&A: Wall-to-Wall Noise Solution?

Q A couple of our association members are complaining of noisy neighbors. There is an issue of some residents not adhering to the association’s rule that 80 percent of apartment floors must be carpeted. As a result, the board voted that any new occupants be required to get wall-to-wall carpeting in all rooms, excluding the kitchen, bathrooms and closets. The shareholders are very upset over this. They say a resale highlight is “hardwood floors” which are very popular nowadays.

The board also put a $1,000 deposit requirement for new occupants until the requirement is met. This doesn’t help solve the current noise issue. Although I’m on the board, I feel the shareholders are right. Can you give me any feedback on this issue that might help us? The shareholders are currently signing a petition for us to reverse the rule.

—A Concerned Board Member

A According to C. Jaye Berger, a New York City-based attorney who works with co-ops, condos, shareholders, architects, contractors and developers, “While I can understand people liking hardwood floors, if you have ever had someone in the apartment above you walking around in high heels on that hardwood floor after 11 p.m., you might decide to join the other camp. That type of noise is a major source of complaints in many buildings. Carpeting is the best way to address it. I am not certain that wall-to-wall carpeting is the answer, but it certainly eliminates a lot of the noise.

“In addition, the board has voted in the change, so residents are bound by it. Sometimes boards make rules that are unpopular, but which help the building in the long run. A petition might cause the board to change its position, but what alternative is being offered as a solution to the problem? Repealing the rule without any alternative is just ignoring the problem.

“It is not clear from your letter to what extent the board has tried to enforce the 80 percent carpeting rule. Have they visited apartments to observe compliance? Do the residents have people walking in shoes on the floors above them? Hope this helps.”

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