Loud Mechanical Noise – What Can I Do?

Noise, as you know, is a continuing hot topic. How much and what kind of noise should any owner be prepared to endure? What disclosures should be made? What makes a unit unmarketable because of required disclosures. Here is another question on that topic:

“There is a circulating pump on the roof that circulates hot water to the
whole building.  This pump sends a constant resonating sound down through the
walls into my unit which is quite noticeable at night.  After six-months of
calling the building management the board agreed to hire a consultant to come
out and make recommendations on how to isolate the sound.  Recommendations were
made and some were implemented with some improvement but still with noticeable
noise in the evenings in my bedroom.  I was advised that the The Board would not
implement the final recommendation because it was $3,500, I was the only one
complaining about the noise and I had signed a disclosure statement about
possible mechanical noise.  My friend who is a project manager for a large
California company feels this is an undisclosed latent defect that should be
addressed by the developer.  Despite the fact that I signed the disclosure
statement, this sound was not detectable until I had moved in and it was late in
the evening.  Additionally, I have communicated with two other people in my
building who have complained about mechanical noise and were also told that “no
one else has complained”.  Do I have any recourse against the HOA or the
Developer?”

I cannot say for sure yes or no to this question, but I can offer some reasoned response about the issue. If an owner signs a disclosure without making sure they fully understand the issue, it is a risk, because it makes it difficult to then successfully complain (with any legal force) about the situation. However, if full disclosure was not made, there may be a case. Since I have no information about what the exact wording of the disclosure was (don’t send it unless you want a paid consultation please), I do not know what the owner “accepted”.

One of my pet peeves is when a developer offers hard surface flooring such as hardwood or laminate flooring as an upgrade, charges an unsuspecting buyer extra money for the flooring upgrade, and then refuses to do anything about it when the legal issues start – downstairs neighbor’s complaining about upstairs noise, upstairs neighbors complaining about down stairs neighbors’ complaints, etc. It can be a real mess!

But if an owner approved noise without asking any questions, or taking pains to listen at various times of the day, well, then, what can I say, it might be a problem.

$3,500 does not sound like a huge expenditure if it makes a difference in the noise, minimizes the necessary disclosure and the effect on marketability. Whether you are the developer or the owner, wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the money on a solution rather than two attorneys fighting on your behalf and getting nowhere?

These are tough issues to litigate. This owner might get some relief in small claims court, but he or she will have to spend the money first, before asking to recover it.

Good luck!

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