Post # 1
My husband and I live in a rather large brand new apartment that costs us over 1800 dollars a month, which includes nothing. It has been 4 months of hell since the day we moved in. The company decided to re-do the walls in the surrounding empty apartments after many complaints about noise (they did not insulate properly). It is LOUD. I am sitting here in tears. Monday-Saturday 7am until around 5:30 pm. I cannot be in my home comfortably.
I suspect that they did not build according to code. They have told us to keep quiet about the issue multiple times which sounds shady to me, and they overall seem like they are trying to avoid trouble. I can hear my neighbors loud and clear talking, laughing, burping, blowing their noise, having sex! its disturbing. So I am obviously happy they are doing SOMETHING to fix the problem, but should I be paying full rent for this? I feel like we should be compensated in some way. I am going to lose my mind. When I get home at 1:30 in the morning from work, eat dinner, shower, and get in bed its already 3 am…and I’m woken to loud men and drills. When I tell you it is loud, think standing next to an ambulance with the sirens on. Add some hammering into that equation. And loud music.
The other tenants have gotten together and decided to hire a lawyer. I’m not sure if I should join them. Its been 3 weeks now, and the neighbors next door to me abruptly moved out today due to the noise, so I suspect they will start construction in there next… I don’t think I can take it anymore. The owners only offering is to allow us to break our lease with no penalty. Legally, is there any case? If i’m going to move out, I want all 4 months rent refunded. And if i’m going to stay, I want some kind of compensation!
– oh and I forgot to add, they cannot fix the walls in the occupied apartments. We are paying the same amount of rent as the tenants who live in sound-proofed apartments. There are 2 buildings, mine and the newest one which was built properly after they were receiving complaints.
HELP! We are heartbroken and we don’t want to move again!
Post # 2
I understand the not wanting to move and paying way more than you are getting. I think that you definitely need to move though, at least to the new building… If it’s that loud and the owners are that shady I would not feel comfortable staying there. I am not the lawyer, but I have heard before that you can put your rent in escrow until they fix the problems if they’re being illegal. So maybe somebody can ellaborate on this?
Post # 3
I’m not a lawyer either, but just logically, I don’t see what a lawyer is going to do unless they are somehow breaking the terms of the lease, which unless you have some odd lease, I have never seen anythign in there about noise levels. And even if there is, it sounds like thye are confined to normal business/waking hours which is typically a free for all in term of noise level. I’d just break the lease and move. I just dont see what can be gained with a laywer and wouldn’t bother wasting my time.
Post # 4
Because it is a rental and you were given the option to break the lease early, I do not think you would be entitled to reimbursement for the 4 months you occupied the unit. It would be helpful to know where you are from to properly give you advice. Here in Canada, regardless of the circumstances, you do not have the right to withhold any or part of the rent payable. My advice is to move out. I’m not sure what the argument in court would be. You want the walls insulated but don’t want the noise associated with the work? I don’t know if any judge would find that reasonable. The most I can see a judge doing is ordering the company to start later in the morning and reduce your ongoing rental fees, but how long will that take and how much will you pay in legal fees? Is the reduction in rent going to be substantial? All things to consider. Until you get to a hearing, which may take months, you are stuck putting up with the noise. Is it worth it? You should speak to the lawyer your neighbours hired, or maybe try to get some info from the neighbours about what their lawyer is advising.
Post # 5
I cant imagine that you are going to get all 4 months rent back since to be honest I don’t think you have a case – having thin walls isn’t illegal. In most areas (at least that I know of) there isn’t a requirement for insullation in the inside walls… its nice but not a “code” issue. But you would need to get the opinion of someone in your area since the law is different in pretty much every town. As for the work happening 7:00 am – 5:30 pm that is generally the legally allowed time. Its unfortunate that you work nights but that isn’t really the buildings “fault” if the town was ripping up the street outside they wouldn’t pay you for your inconvenience either
If you like the area otherwise see if they will allow you to switch into one of the “fixed” apartments and maybe pay for your mover or something like that. If you are just done with this place then move on and don’t look back
Other options are using a white noise maker or ear plugs? I know its sucks but if you don’t want to move I would do what I could to make it better
Post # 6
Landlord-tenant laws are state specific. You can easily look up yours for free online (type in your state + landlord tenant act). However, I really doubt you have any claim to recover rent in any state based on thin walls. Landlords do have a duty to comply with building codes-that materially affect health and safety (like, proper drainage, heating, running water, etc). Not to mention most states require written notices of your problems to the landlord you want fixed, and further action on your part to move out/withhold rent or something. It’s delineated in your state’s act.
In my state, honestly, being able to break your lease without penalty is probably the best outcome you could hope for. You’d absolutely not be able to recover rent you already paid.
Post # 7
KatesTheWord: honestly, I don’t think you have any legal ground to stand on when it comes to getting back the 4 months of rent. I would just accept the no penalty break in the lease, put on the big girl panties, and move out. Seems like more work that it’s worth to hire a lawyer. Lawyers aren’t cheap either.
Post # 8
I don’t think you have a legal leg to stand on unfortunately, and I don’t think you will get (or are entitled to) a refund of the last 4 months’ rent, because you were given the opportunity to move out without penalty and you did not take it. It would be reasonable, though, for you to ask the property owner if you can transfer your lease to one of the renovated units with no leasebreak fees and no rent increase (unless the other unit is dramatically “better” such as better view or different floor plan or has upgraded amenities). The owner will have to renovate them all sooner or later so if you move out of yours, they can get it repaired and off of the to-do list plus you will be happier sooner in the quieter unit.
Post # 9
Thanks all. I didn’t think we had a legal case here but my neighbors are so convinced. The only thing in the lease is a part about all tenants having the right to a quiet home yada yada no annoying noises. There are no times listed. I live in New York. I do believe there is code here for apartment buildings/insulation (As the owner stated it had passed code so they were at a loss with the issues).
I wrote an email to the owner asking for partial rent refund for this month and he replied we can work something out and that he’ll call later. So there’s that.
He has previously offered to move us to the other building but it would be more work than its worth. It’s not an easy move.
I think the neighbors are more fighting for the fact that their apartments aren’t being fixed (mine isn’t either).
IzzyBear: thanks, big girl panties are on, and I definitely know the cost of a lawyer 🙂
legallybrunette: thanks. It’s not that I want the walls insulated without the noise, it’s the fact that my walls AREN’T being insulated and I’m still dealing with the noise. I would happily deal with the construction if it meant I wouldn’t hear my neighbors anymore afterward.
Post # 10
- Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast
Can you move into one of their new-er finished sound-proofed apartments?
Otherwise, I think i’d just leave..
Post # 11
amberback: I can, it would just be A LOT of work. Packing up 6 rooms of stuff, 4 full flights of stairs… idk if its worth it if I have to move again in a few months when the lease is up. Definitely something to think about though.
Post # 12
I’m not a lawyer. Asking you to keep quite; that seems normal to me. He is trying to run a business and doesn’t want a lot of bad publicity. It is also unlikely that it wasn’t built to code. Governments tend to be all up in stuff like that. Probably, cheap material. I’d just take whatever the owner gives you. Am attorney will probably charge most of what he might be able to get back anyways.
Post # 13
You’ll want to research the warranty of habitability in New York and how it relates to excessive noise. (And what courts have found to be excessive vs not excessive amounts/kinds of noise.) Here’s an article from the NY Law Journal from 2006 that addresses construction noise and rent abatements: http://www.stroock.com/sitefiles/pub415.pdf (But keep in mind that the law may have changed since then.)
” In Forest Hills No.1 Co. v. Schimmel,22 tenants were subjected to loud noise from the landlord’s extensive remodeling and construction work. The court found that the conditions were detrimental to the tenants’ life, health and safety, and frustrated the reasonable use of their premises. However, in Mantica R Corp. NV v. Malone,23 while the rental landlord’s construction and demolition noise techni- cally violated the warranty of habitability, the court awarded a nominal rent abate- ment of six cents per month. The court explained that the tenant knew that construction would take place, that the rent charged for the apartment had taken such construction into account, and the tenant’s good faith was questionable because he began to withhold rent before the landlord began construction.”
Post # 14
Have your neighbors hired a lawyer already or are they just planning on it? A lawyer wouldbe able to give you a better idea of whether it is a worthwhile case or not.
If they are aware that they have a probelm with soundproofing they should be able to move you to an already fixed apartment or lower your rent to compensate….to just have that might be worth seeing a lawyer because it sounds like you are getting nowhere complaining on your own.
Post # 15
KatesTheWord: I was a property manager in NYC and had to accompany construction managers to several court cases as well as dealing with our own legal issues with tenants- so I can help with this…
The wording in your lease regarding noise or “right to a quiet apartment” is noise from other tenants- not necessarily construction- unless it is deemed a nuisance or unreasonable- it is VERY hard to prove though. Construction times in NYC as worded on all the standard leases I have dealt with are supposed to be from 8 to 6 Monday through Saturday- where they can actively be doing construction unless there is an emergency. If they are not up to code, and they have inspections and work orders/permits open, they can get around this.
You may have been able to have a case if from the first day you had kept records, put your complaints to the management company in writing, filed noise complaints with the police, and withheld the rent but put it into a separate account proving you had it but were not paying until the issues you were having were rectified. Tenants usually have better outcomes in NYC landlord/tenant court cases, but you have to have all of your ducks in a row in order for that outcome to be worth all the trouble and continuances that the landlord will ask for. These proceedings itself can take months.
I would try to ask them for your deposit back, as well as any fees you paid up front such as a broker’s fee, application fees, etc… You can try to let them know about all of the issues you have been having and that you are considering speaking to a lawyer about your options, but I really think the best thing for you to do that won’t cost you any more time or money, would be to just break the lease without any penalties.