Q. I live in a large condominium building and enjoy my closeness to the subway and amenities but I find that the close proximity of my neighbours is posing a bit of a problem with the enjoyment of my living space. In particular, my upstairs neighbours tend to play their music quite loudly and have an alternate living schedule that leads to heavy footsteps late at night and loud music (like they’re getting ready to go out clubbing). What is my recourse?
A. Living in a condominium can be a bit of a compromise. You are still living in a semi-communal situation whereby you live close to one another but still have more immediate rights in terms of ownership than if you were renting. The reality is that in most condominiums there are concierges or managers who will calm down the rowdy parties and you can move on to a restful night of sleep. If however, the situation continues, it will escalate to the board of the condo, which may result in bad blood between you and your neighbour and even louder noise.
We as owners, or even tenants, are entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of our living abode (in my opinion at most times of day). However, municipal noise offences can only be enforced (unless excessive) after 11 p.m. If you are an early to bed, early to rise type of person, you may find yourself exposed to this type of living arrangement.
If you are tenant, there is the Landlord and Tenant Act which can be of some help but if you are an owner in a condo tower and you seem to be the only resident affected by the noisy neighbour, your fight might be greater.
I find that the most effective way of dealing with a neighbour who is continually breaking the sound barrier after 11 p.m. is to call the police (do not call 911) and make sure that you lodge a complaint. Numerous reports and visits by the police can lead to eviction of the tenant or sanctions by the board of the condo.
– Jeffrey D. Cowan is the principal of Cowan & Taylor, Barristers & Solicitors, firstname.lastname@example.org. The information contained in this article should not be relied upon as legal advice.
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