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Old 01-22-2013, 12:34 PM
 
5 posts, read 82,010 times
Reputation: 12

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Hello,
I'm at wit's end with a noise problem that has been making my days absolute hell for the past 3 months.

Rent stabilized apartment, been here for 20 yrs. Most of that time I've had a decent relationship w/ the landlords -- they usually stay out of my way, I stay out of theirs'.

Back in September they began a major renovation of the apartment above. It goes on from 8am to 5:30pm every weekday. I work at home, so I'm treated to 8 hours of noise that sounds, at times, like the whole building is coming down. Pounding that sounds like they're driving fence posts in. Power tools, drills saws, you name it.

I know that certain regulations prevent me from any kind of recourse (weekdays + business hours = okey-dokey). However I've also stumbled upon some revised noise statutes that Bloomberg pushed through in 2005:

Quote:
On December 29th , 2005, Mayor Bloomberg signed Local Law 113 for the year 2005.
The law amended the Administrative Code of the City of New York in relation to the
Noise Control Code. Specifically, the law established standards and procedures to reduce
noise from construction, and established sound level standards and procedures for
specific noise sources.
Among other things, it states:

Quote:
(f) Interior construction activities within a structure, after window placement, in non-
vacant buildings, are classified as creating a minimal noise impact so long as the
following conditions are met:
1. Windows and doors shall be tightly sealed and;

2. Any openings to the outdoors that allow the external emission of noise are
prohibited; and

3. Such work entails only non-structural and non-demolition construction
activities as those activities are defined by applicable authorizing
agencies; and

4. Such activities take place where the floors directly below and above the
floor are unoccupied;
and

5. Notice has been given, to the maximum extent possible, to all residents
regarding the time, place and nature of the construction activities.
Items 3,4 and 5 are where I feel like there's a violation going on. It's clearly demolition going on -- the place was gutted.

I am in the apartment directly below, as I've said, so no, the floor below is most certainly NOT vacant.

And finally, I'm not sure what would constitute "Notice has been given". Yes all the work permits are posted in the bldg entrance. As far as them coming to me and saying "We will begin construction and it will last for X weeks/months". Nothing, not a peep. They just arrived one morning and started pounding away.

I've had very little contact with the landlords over this. I've heard through the bldg grapevine that this is probably going to continue through Easter.

I'VE HAD IT.

I've begun withholding rent and I expect this will end up in court. I've already talked to a lawyer (NY Bar Assoc. offers free 1/2 hr meeting w/ a lawyer on Mondays!) and he says I should write a letter and seek a 25% reduction in rent. I was considering that, but now I'm just fed up and I want to get them busted and fined up the wazoo if possible. They've shown a shocking lack of consideration. I don't expect it to be graveyard-quiet around here and I'm even willing to put up with a few weeks of construction. I realize they've got to get their work done. But SIX MONTHS?!?!? And not a PEEP? No apology, no "thank you for being so patient", NOTHING.

If anyone out there has been down a similar path, I'd love to hear your story. I came to this website after getting query-hits that exclaimed how useless noise complaints to 311 were, so I thought I'd post in case someone might have some sage advice about how to proceed.

I'm not overjoyed w/ the prospect of dragging this into court, but I'm also really PISSED OFF. I'm trying to start a new business and it's really making it next to impossible to get any work done. They've cost me time, money and lots of aggravation. My nerves are shot. As I'm writing this it sounds like they're about to pound their way through my ceiling.

Any advice or encouragement would be so very welcomed.

Thanks
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn New York
14,601 posts, read 20,739,374 times
Reputation: 18392
The construction they are doing is between regular working hours. What other time do you really expect them to do this? Be thankful it is during the day, and not at night.

This basically falls under the catagory of tough.

I get it, it is annoying, I am sure. My building the same thing goes on. When the people move out, the apartments get renovated. There is banging noise, the whole 9 yards. but I am at work, so by the time I come home the noise has stopped.

The problem you are having is because you are working from home, that is not the LL's problem. You are not entitled to a reduction in rent because you hear noise?, are you kidding? You also have no right to withhold rent because you hear noise.


What could possibly make you think you are entitled to a rent reduction because you hear noise?


What about all the people living in the buildings along 2nd Ave in the City where they are building a new subway system, you think they are entitled to a rent reduction because of blasting banging and other construction noises.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Upper East, NY
1,144 posts, read 2,289,083 times
Reputation: 546
Seems unlikely that one cannot gut a place if the apartments above/below are occupied.
Notice not given- they won't do anything to the owner for that.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:24 PM
 
5 posts, read 82,010 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by crescent22 View Post
Seems unlikely that one cannot gut a place if the apartments above/below are occupied.
Notice not given- they won't do anything to the owner for that.
I thought it seemed unlikely also. But apparently they've amended the law to state that certain kinds of construction/destruction require this. I'm just not sure if there's any chance of getting it enforced.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:31 PM
 
5 posts, read 82,010 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
The construction they are doing is between regular working hours. What other time do you really expect them to do this? Be thankful it is during the day, and not at night.
If it were at night it would be downright illegal.

Quote:
I get it, it is annoying, I am sure. My building the same thing goes on. When the people move out, the apartments get renovated. There is banging noise, the whole 9 yards. but I am at work, so by the time I come home the noise has stopped.
Well that's nice for you. This is also NEW YORK. Not everyone goes to work from 9 to 5.

There's something called the warranty of habitability. It says you're entitled to the quiet enjoyment of your living space. 6 MONTHS of overhead pounding qualifies as a habitability issue IMO. It would seem that the legislation I cited agrees.

I've seen construction crews renovate an entire house in six weeks, why it should take six months to do a one-room apartment is beyond me.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
155 posts, read 470,878 times
Reputation: 129
I live in a coop. A neighbor/friend of mine renovated his alcove studio by having a new kitchen and bath put in. His contractor accomplished this in 2 weeks time (and did a wonderful job!).

Recently, he's complained to the board about his upstairs neighbor who's had construction going on for several MONTHS. Like the OP he works at home. He wrote a letter to the board complaining and upon investigation it turned out the person above him didn't like the work their first contractor did......so they had it all ripped out. They apparently went over and above what they originally told the building they were going to do and I understand they are in some trouble now with the board. My friend is gloating. But the noise hasn't stopped.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
1,701 posts, read 3,027,756 times
Reputation: 2399
I'd follow the advice of the lawyer and ask for the 25% off. You could hire a lawyer, spend a fortune and by the time the proceedings are complete the construction is done anyway and you end up with some measly amount after legal fees. In my opinion, it doesn't sound worth it.

Is it possible for you to haul a laptop to a coffee shop or other public space and do your work there?
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn New York
14,601 posts, read 20,739,374 times
Reputation: 18392
Quote:
Originally Posted by HairOfTheDog View Post
If it were at night it would be downright illegal.



Well that's nice for you. This is also NEW YORK. Not everyone goes to work from 9 to 5.

There's something called the warranty of habitability. It says you're entitled to the quiet enjoyment of your living space. 6 MONTHS of overhead pounding qualifies as a habitability issue IMO. It would seem that the legislation I cited agrees.

I've seen construction crews renovate an entire house in six weeks, why it should take six months to do a one-room apartment is beyond me.

Oh no, I am not dis agreeing with you, absolutely, six months is ridiculous. We have apartments renovated all the time, tops, 2 months, not even that, and that is a full gut job. I am in brooklyn.


While i am agreeing with you, I know it is aggravating, i just dont think you will get any money off. Obviously the "nice" thing would have of been if the LL either said to you or in a letter form of the work was to be completed, thank you for you patience or something to that effect....

but like you said, this is new York......................







PS: I work from 8-4
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
7,879 posts, read 17,636,797 times
Reputation: 5522
Quote:
Originally Posted by HairOfTheDog View Post
Hello,
................................
I'm not overjoyed w/ the prospect of dragging this into court, but I'm also really PISSED OFF. I'm trying to start a new business and it's really making it next to impossible to get any work done. They've cost me time, money and lots of aggravation. My nerves are shot. As I'm writing this it sounds like they're about to pound their way through my ceiling.

Any advice or encouragement would be so very welcomed.

Thanks
I wouldn't use this as part of any claim.Landlord will turn it against you and say you are not supposed to be conducting a business on the premises.

Sounds to me like they are trying to drive you out anyway.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Confines of the 101 Precinct
13,125 posts, read 27,942,243 times
Reputation: 5328
How do you know for a fact what kind of work is taking place? Do you go look at the apartment while they're working? You assume because it's loud that they're doing demo work?
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