Can I sue my upstairs neighbors for the excessive noise?

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Can I sue my upstairs neighbors for the excessive noise?

They moved in June 2016. The parents stomp and slam doors, the two kids run back and forth playing starting 7am until 10pm, 7 days a week I’m not exaggerating. It is completely unbearable. My husband and I met with the owner 3 times she does not live there, her brother and his family does. She’s been in our home to actually hear the noise herself as well. She keeps saying she’ll talk to them, no soultion. She did say she was going to soundproof the floor for a permanent solution. Of course she never did. Our home has depreciated in value because no one would want live here unless we practically give it away. We contacted the condo association, wrote letters. They said they’d talk to her and put it in writing. The owner does not respond. We went the courthouse to file noise complaint, we have a court appointed mediation next week. What can I say or do to prove our case? Plus if the nuisance doesn’t stop can we sue her? We aren’t going to stop fighting until we find a solution. This is ruining our lives.

Asked on January 17, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you need some legal basis to sue: e.g. violation of a noise ordinance, or possibly violation of HOA rules which are binding on all units. With a noise ordinance violation, you can do what you have already done, and file a municipal complaint; depending on what your specific ordinance says, it may also provide a basis to sue for compensation. With an HOA rules violation, you could again possibly sue for compensation (as a beneficiary of the rules and governing agreements being violated) and could also potentially bring a legal action to force the HOA to act against them--e.g. to require their removal or eviction. (If you wanted to file such an action, you'd be well advised to retain an attorney to help--one experienced in condominium law.) A good thing to do is to review the HOA agreement and rules to see what rights you may have.
In terms of proving the noise in court: in addition to your testimony, the testimony of other witnesses (e.g. friends or neighbors who've also heard the noise) and an audio recording would be usefull; also bring an communications from the owner or the upstairs tenants in which they acknowledge noise.


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