The owner lives below me and hates noise. What should I do?

Q: My roommate and I live on the third floor of a three-story building in Brooklyn. The owner of the house and his family live on the second floor. Every step we take resonates in their apartment, so if we walk to the kitchen at night or use the hallway bathroom after 11 p.m., we get a broomstick from below or a hostile text about stomping. We rugged where we could, don’t wear shoes in the apartment, and try to walk as briskly as possible. But lately, the homeowner has been getting increasingly grumpy whenever we have guests. Do we have options when he asks not to visit friends? What are our rights?

a: The good news is that your landlord likely has no grounds to evict you based on the minor noise you describe – which means you should be free to continue hosting guests.

The noise standard is unreasonable or excessive for a violation noise codeIngrid Manifitz, real estate attorney and partner at the law firm Seyfarth Shaw, where she is also co-chair of the condominiums and co-operatives practice, said:

Determining whether the noise is, in fact, legally excessive or unreasonable is up to the landlord. This requires testing because courts want to see measurements and data before taking this type of action. “This is an expense for the landlord,” Mrs. Manifitz said.

Since the owner owns the building, it is also his responsibility to ensure ownership of the apartments habitable. If, for example, the floorboards are creaky and loud, he has to fix them up and add some sound insulation or continue to be disturbed. “The tenant does nothing wrong to have to go into their own pockets and pay for materials just because of the way the building is constructed,” Ms. Manifitz said.

Of course, no one wants to be in conflict with the owner, especially when they are neighbors. Mrs. Manifitz suggested asking you to install sound-absorbing foam padding under the rug. It may take some negotiation, but “the tenant can offer and say, ‘We’re doing everything we can.'” I heard there is this article. If you want to pay for it, we’ll put it under our carpets.”

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