C.W. from Maryland writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a 55+ condo in Maryland. The family above us has a washing machine that is so loud when it’s used that it shakes my bedroom windows. I have spoken to them quite a few times about this with no results. They now run the machine every Friday, Sunday, and holiday sun up until sun down. What can I do about this? P.S. – I have spoken to property management of this. They say there is little they can do.
Mister Condo replies:
C.W., I am sorry for your noisy neighbor’s inconsiderate behavior. The property management may be correct that there is little they can do. However, there is plenty that you can do to correct the problem! It begins with the rules and regulations regarding noise in your condo. Check your condo docs for this information. You will find it under peaceable enjoyment and rules about allowable noise and hours that noise is allowed. Usually, there are clauses about acceptable levels of noise and acceptable hours of noise. From what you have told me, this unit owner is in violation of one or more of these restrictions.
That being said, your first line of defense is a letter to your Board insisting that they review your complaint and take action. You need to mention that you have already spoken with your neighbor and they have refused to correct the situation. For the life of me, I cannot imagine a reason to run a washing machine from “sun up until sun down” but clearly that is in retaliation from you asking them to keep the noise down. Washing machines require electricity and water to run. If the association is providing either as part of the common fees, they may be cited for using an excessive amount of common resources to boot.
If your association does not have rules for dealing with noise issues, you need to encourage your Board to adopt them immediately. I published a column on this not too long ago. You can find the suggested regulations here: http://caict.org/askmistercondo/condo-noise-rules/. Once the regulations are in place, report each and every violation until the noise is manageable. It may take violation letters, fines, and more to get your upstairs neighbor to keep quiet but, trust me, it can be done. I wish you the best in restoring the peace and quiet to your unit.