Boy, marathon night, 5 new blogs!! This is some kind of record for me…


 I am happy to share some information from a client of mine. I have several noise issue clients every month. People’s lives are being strongly affected by noise coming from a neighboring unit, unusual intolerable noise. And the disputes are difficult to resolve because of a common human trait – stubbornness and disregard for others. Yes, it is disturbing.  Of course, I hear about very few cases where all the parties sit down and resolve things amicably. I assume that happens …. Somewhere ,… in a perfect world!

Anyway, here are two things I learned this week that I will pass on.

You will get a lot sicker if you internalize the stress for a long period of time without doing anything meaningful about it! Yes, noise stress can lead to heart attacks or head bumps that hurt so badly you cannot touch them. This. …. Coming from real life stress stories I have been listening too. ‘

And, there is a noise recording device you can purchase. I don’t suggest NOT considering a noise expert, however, they come in once, maybe more, and if the noise is not at its height or is in the middle of the night, it does not get fairly assessed.

So anyway, for what it is worth, here is the info about the noise measuring machine and my client’s comments. The context is I am seeking feedback from a male client for a female client. Feedback from you after you read this is welcome. This information may be helpful to you out there who are suffering from stress, deteriorated value of units, difficulty in marketability because of disclosures, because of unreasonable noise coming unchecked from a neighboring unit. Here are my clients notes:

“Sure, no problem… anything to help out a fellow sufferer! Here is the tool I purchased:

It not only measures the noise level dB units, you can see it change in real time — and have it record the measurements over a period of many hours to a memory card. These measurements can then be transferred to your computer and into a spreadsheet like Excel.

Here were a couple of Amazon reviews which prompted me to make the purchase:

Perfect for noise ordinances (5 out of 5 stars) – By diane hopper on September 6, 2013: “Was looking for a SLM that record data so I could share objective data with law enforcement to support noise ordinance rules. I live next to a business that generates considerable noise sporadically through the day from 7am to 10pm 6 days a week. Calling in disturbances was futile. This meter and its ability to record data all day has made a conversation on solution possible. Very easy to use and download data to turn in graphs, metrics, etc. Also, check out the you tube video on tips and tricks.”

worked great (5 out of 5 stars) – By kmmhike on October 20, 2014: “I bought this sound level meter because I had a noise issue with a neighbor and I wanted a device that would record decibel levels continuously so that I would have a record of the noise every few seconds over a period of hours. I was pleased with the result and the data collected has been helpful. I knew before that the noise was in violation of local ordinances, and now I know for how long and by how much and I can graph it in Excel.”

If your client wishes to record (log) the results, they will need to purchase a separate SD memory card. I purchased this one:

Also, one of the comments mentioned it eats up batteries, so I went with the suggestion to purchase rechargeable batteries as well:

I will say that I am still trying to figure out how to best to utilize the tool. While I can see and download the measurements, and have even recorded video/audio separately (so that noise could be correlated, eg. to demonstrate particular noises from upstairs is causing a jump in the readings), it hasn’t been simple. Correlating the two is a bit challenging. And, when I am home, I am making noise too (obviously)… which the instrument also picks up.

I would advise anyone (owner, Board, etc) approached about approving hardwood floor installations seriously consider taking some readings with such a device before the hardwood is installed. I sure wish I had done that… I think it would have made my case so much easier. [READERS, THIS IS SO THERE IS A THRESHHOLD MEASUREMENT IN CASE AFTER SOMEONE INSTALLS FLOORING THE NOISE TRANSMISSION IS INCREASED IN SPITE  OF PROMISES IT WOULD NOT BE.]

Last but not least, I am still trying to refine and improve my use of the tool, as I mentioned. If you have any thoughts on how I could better use it, I’d be all ears. We could experiment, and could let you know the results.

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  1. Nicolle
    May 27, 2016 | 2:43 pm

    Hello – thank you for the wonderful resource here. I serve on a condo HOA BOD and we have an ongoing noise complaint issue. Owner #1 lives below Owner #2 and claims disturbance weekly. As a bod, we have warned and fined #2 a number of times but #2 denies disturbance and has witnesses to back him up. We held a hearing with both parties and #2 made a promise to be mindful of noise, another complaint came through from #1 two days later. We have recommended that #1 call the police to report disturbances with every complaint but he feels that would be a waste of officer’s time. As a BOD, we recommended mediation and even offered to pay for it but #1 has refused mediation. I feel that after months of back and forth and in light of the refusal of mediation, we have exhausted our resources. My question is – is there a time that the BOD can excuse themselves from further involvement in a he said/he said situation?

    • Beth Grimm
      May 30, 2016 | 4:24 am

      I would say that there generally is a time when a board may reasonably extricate itself by recommending in writing to the parties that they go to mediation and informing the parties the board will not take further action unless there is a change in circumstances. However, I would not give that opinion to any board without reviewing the governing documents, communicating with the board directly to get the full scoop and without having access to the file (all communications) on the situation to make a full assessment as to whether the time has come at which it is reasonable to back out of the dispute. I usually reserve that opinion for cases where the two neighbors are fueling the fire. And I would want to know that the right paper trail exists to illustrate the board’s efforts and any failure on the part of the owners to be cooperative.