Do You Know How to Prevent Noise Complaints?

February 18, 2016
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For many members, the upside of community association living is the ability to have some control over their lifestyle by agreeing to comply with rules aimed at creating a pleasant environment. Governing documents and bylaws that set rules and expectations for peaceful living and provide mechanisms to enforce compliance—like fines—go a long way toward keeping things in check. But unlike cut-and-dried infractions, such as painting a home in a color that isn’t in the association’s color palette, “noise” is highly subjective. You still can attempt to prevent future noise complaints from arising, though. Here’s how:

Let New Rule Do the Talking

Create a rule that promotes a quiet environment. Make sure you include hours when lower sound levels are required. Your policy will need to be specific enough for residents to understand it—so set actual hours—but not so specific that they can find ways around it. For instance, instead of just setting “quiet hours,” discourage behavior that significantly interrupts “sleep” or “enjoyment of the community.” Stating that a homeowner can’t perform certain noisy activities during quiet hours doesn’t fix the issue; she’ll just have the option to be noisy at other times, which still will be a nuisance. Also, make sure that the association’s noise policy addresses three common complaints:

·         Noise between units;

·         Renovations/construction noise; and

·         Recreation noises.

Give Some Teeth to Policy

Set rules for enforcement. In order for your rules to work, you have to be able to enforce them. Your noise policy should include the consequences of violations and note that they increase for repeat offenders, so a small fine can jump.

For more a comprehensive noise plan, see “Employ Five-Part Strategy to Prevent Noise Complaints,” available to subscribers here