Just as one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure, one person’s music can be another person’s noise, especially in condominium communities where neighbors live side by side. How the sound in one unit affects neighboring units deals with more than decibels. The source of the sound, whose unit it emanates from, and time of day also affect how residents perceive the sound. It is inevitable, though, that someone will eventually file a complaint about the issue. Unless board members have worked with a condo management company to develop an effective noise ordinance, resolving the issue could be difficult.
Establishing a Fair Ordinance
Because peace and quiet is a basic expectation in association-governed communities, establishing and enforcing a fair noise policy with the help of a condominium management services provider should be a top priority for board members. If your community lacks such a policy, considering the points below, and talking them over with a condo Management Company, is a good way to begin the process of developing a fair ordinance.
Undesirable sounds and noise are different things, so the first step in creating an ordinance is to define the latter. According to the County Environmental Health Act for the state of New Jersey, noise is “any sounds of such level and duration as to be or tend to be injurious to human health or welfare, or which would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.” Using this definition, board members can list specific types of violations to help a provider of condominium management services enforce the policy?
Establish a Reporting Process
For the ordinance to be effective, residents must receive timely responses to their complaints. If board members haven’t the time to handle noise complaints, they should delegate the reporting process to a provider of condominium management services, and give it the power to carry out penalties in a timely manner. Having the provider handle complaints also demonstrates to residents that complaints are handled without bias.
Penalties for violations begin with warnings and escalate up to fines. For noisy residents, the prospect of paying repeated fines is usually enough to make them keep their stereo turned down, or prevent their dog from barking, before a fine is levied. With that said, penalties must be more than paper tigers. If a resident continues to ignore the terms of the ordinance, he should be immediately subject to its penalties.
If your community doesn’t have a noise ordinance, or an official procedure for processing complaints, it should work with a condo management company to implement an ordinance and/or a reporting process that helps ensure that residents experience two things every person needs in his or her abode, and thereabouts: peace and quiet.