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Old 06-25-2013, 08:25 PM
 
4,541 posts, read 3,622,147 times
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We're at our wits' end, to be perfectly honest, so I am asking for the forum's help in trying to resolve this matter. Let me try to lay out the situation as best as I can and maybe you could help point me in the right direction.

Tenant 1 (downstairs): 74 years old, in poor health, poor knowledge of English, retired, has trouble sleeping.
Tenants 2 (upstairs): 40-50 years old (a couple), seemingly always at home, not employed, have a loud dog.
Condominium community: managed by an outside third party for all HOA issues, units individually owned.

For the past year (actually, probably more), Tenant 1 has been complaining about:
- Noise coming from floor boards upstairs: every time his neighbors walk, he can hear the entire place creak. Illegal modifications were made at some point in time to the floor, which now causes the problem. Owner has been reluctant to fix, even at HOA's expense. Independent committee has documented the problem and certifies that it does exist.
- Noise coming from the neighbors themselves: the dog barking (OK when inside, but recently they have taken to locking it outside on the balcony where it is particularly loud), the tenants themselves yelling habitually at their friends across the yard, having loud conversations on the phone and among themselves at all hours of the day. And now a second dog seems to be "visiting" during the day (they watch their neighbors' dog).
- Dog doing its business on the lawn right in front of Tenant 1's apartment.

The noise issue has been unbearable to a point where he is complaining of headaches and all other effects that are caused by a lack of sleep. He has ear canal problems, so ear plugs aren't a good option.

Two recent events have caused us to elevate our level of concern. Over the past month, Tenants 2 have called the police twice. Really ballsy of them considering they are causing the problem, but there you have it.

Call #1. Tenants 2 claimed that Tenant 1 was threatening them (at 74 years old, in poor health and with barely enough knowledge of English to order a pizza, he is physically incapable of threatening anyone). That was after they saw that he was taking photos of them breaking the community rules (walking their dogs on the lawn where it is expressly prohibited). They don't want to stop breaking rules, so they decided instead to intimidate Tenant 1 by calling the police.

Call #2. At 7 a.m., Tenants 2 were yelling across the courtyard, so Tenant 1 was awakened. He walked outside and was simply sitting on the bench in front of his apartment trying to understand where the noise was coming from. Tenants 2 now elevated the situation by lying to the police and claiming that Tenant 1 hit one of them when she was passing him; he is saying he never even so much as was in her vicinity as she didn't even come down from her apartment as this was going on - leaving alone the fact that he didn't and wouldn't hit her. They have friends in this apartment complex whom they were seen talking with before calling the police, so even though nobody was arrested, who is to say next time they won't collude and claim he gave her a black eye?

Clearly, Tenants 2, instead of correcting their behavior have decided that the best defense is a good offense and will now call the police at the drop of a hat. We are genuinely afraid that in due time they will use his lack of English skills against him and fabricate something that will get him arrested. Even if that doesn't happen, his living situation is untenable as Tenant 1 has trouble sleeping due to the noise and the fact that he doesn't know where and when he will hear it next.

We'd love for Tenant 1 to move, except he doesn't have the means to do so and at 74 years of age, it's extremely difficult for him to do that. Furthermore, I don't understand why HE is the one who would have to move in any event (even if that is what the officers who were called in the second case suggested he consider in their infinite wisdom).

What can we do? The owner seems either reluctant or unwilling to do anything to remedy this issue and the HOA seems to be unable to do anything but keep fining the owner - fines which she doesn't even seem to be paying.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:43 PM
 
199 posts, read 359,997 times
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So, someone owns the upstairs condo and rents it out to those losers?

If that's the case then you guys need to hit him hard with all the legal force you can muster. Document all the violations these animals (both the dogs and the tenants) are committing and work together with the HOA to pressure this owner into evicting these losers.

Also, who's responsible for paying these HOA fines? Either way, someone should be on the hook and there should be serious repercussions for not paying. Work with the HOA to do something about it. At this point they're your only ally.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:49 PM
 
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We have been trying to do just that. The problem is that the HOA seems completely impotent and I don't know what legal levers to pull. I don't want our tenant to take photos of them anymore - a). he's not particularly savvy with that phone cam, so they might amount to nothing and b). what's to stop one of them bopping the other on the eye ever so slightly and her then calling the cops and saying it was our tenant who did it?
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:19 PM
 
199 posts, read 359,997 times
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Sounds like a clusterfunk.

My understanding of the law is that if the fines imposed by the HOA aren't paid they can foreclose on and evict the owner. Your HOA should be fining the hell out of that owner until he gets it through his head that he needs to find new tenants. WTH does the HOA even do there? They sound completely impotent. What do they just cut the gardener a check every month and call it a wrap? Push them to take action. They alone have the power to resolve this situation. Methinks the HOA people and the owner of the unit probably have a little "We're from the same tribe. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" situation going. There's no other reason the HOA would be so completely useless.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Methinks the HOA people and the owner of the unit probably have a little "We're from the same tribe. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" situation going. There's no other reason the HOA would be so completely useless.
That is exactly what it sounds like. Tenant 1's apartment's owner is actually a member of the HOA and has been trying to reform the way things are happening in the community, but it's been an extremely slow process...
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:03 AM
 
Location: LA
223 posts, read 480,542 times
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Nothing in the CC&R's about putting hardwood floors in or whatever the floor issue is for 2nd story or above units? Most places I was looking at would fine you some amount per month until the problem was fixed. Nothing about certain size dogs?
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by buzzkillb View Post
Nothing in the CC&R's about putting hardwood floors in or whatever the floor issue is for 2nd story or above units? Most places I was looking at would fine you some amount per month until the problem was fixed. Nothing about certain size dogs?
The dog is small, so even if there was some weight rule, I'm sure it would sneak in under that. And I don't think they have hardwood floors, that's the thing - it's just a problem with the floor boards that no carpet solves.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:33 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,807 posts, read 4,883,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highlanderfil View Post
The dog is small, so even if there was some weight rule, I'm sure it would sneak in under that. And I don't think they have hardwood floors, that's the thing - it's just a problem with the floor boards that no carpet solves.

Wow do you own in my condo community? We have the same problem, we just moved in January to a first floor condo and the floor boards from upstairs are so loud and squeaky. It's beyond annoying. Amazingly enough, I didn't hear this at all while I was looking at the condo, only upon moving in did I start hearing the upstairs people constantly walk around, and the squeaks! I never heard such a thing in my life. I empathize with your tenant, it's no fun and I'm a young person! Thankfully, I plan to be out of there soon.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:31 PM
 
3,173 posts, read 7,270,773 times
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This is why I never rent a lower unit. Even if the floor is correct you still can hear walking steps or if a person drops an item. I think if they have hardwood or tile there needs to be something under to help sound. I know that a man I knew was going to sew his upstair neighbor because he had tile floor in the main areas and did not have proper underneath but this was ongoing issue and was not quickly resolved.
I am not that familiar with legal issues but a thought that came to mind is to send a certified letter to the HOA and owner stating the dates of issue and complaints and that if things are not corrected you will have to take legal action and for them to please respond by X date. This may get them moving to make changes and will also document everything.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:02 AM
 
4,541 posts, read 3,622,147 times
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Originally Posted by DaniellaG View Post
This is why I never rent a lower unit. Even if the floor is correct you still can hear walking steps or if a person drops an item. I think if they have hardwood or tile there needs to be something under to help sound. I know that a man I knew was going to sew his upstair neighbor because he had tile floor in the main areas and did not have proper underneath but this was ongoing issue and was not quickly resolved.
I am not that familiar with legal issues but a thought that came to mind is to send a certified letter to the HOA and owner stating the dates of issue and complaints and that if things are not corrected you will have to take legal action and for them to please respond by X date. This may get them moving to make changes and will also document everything.
Yeah, worse yet, we bought the place...

A letter would work, but the problem is, what kind of legal action can we threaten them with? That's the crux of this - we want to know what legal recourse we have, first off to get the noise (from all sources) removed and second, to prevent the upstairs a-holes from calling the cops on someone who just wants a good night's sleep.
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