Dealing with Noise Complaints

July 2024

Loud noise and vibration from a building garbage compactor and chute can be disruptive, and one of many noises residents find disconcerting.  Asking residents not to use the garbage chute at night is unlikely to be adequate.  One condominium corporation paid $30,000 in damages for failing to complete remedial work to eliminate garbage room noise.

Poorly maintained HVAC and elevator systems can be overly loud and cause vibrations in units, hallways and throughout a building.  In-suite activities combined with poor sound control efforts allow music, children playing, exercising and other noise to travel into other units.

When a condominium corporation receives a complaint about excessive noise, they are required to investigate to determine if the noise can be verified, and if it is excessive.  If the noise emanates from a unit and is unreasonable, the corporation can require or enforce compliance against the owner of a unit that causes the excessive noise.

If the noise investigation is made by professionals on behalf of the corporation, these costs cannot be charged back to an individual owner.  The resulting report would likely include recommendations to address the noise issue.

Owners should inform management of noise complaints when excessive noise is heard, ideally while the noise is occurring.  On receipt of a complaint management, security or other corporation staff should check the unit or area and independently verify the complaint.

A written incident report should be prepared stating the result of the independent investigation.  The incident report should include:

  • Date of the complaint and investigation;
  • Name of the resident who reported the complaint;
  • If the complaint was verified by security or management at the time it was made;
  • Name and role of the individual who verified the complaint; and
  • Actions taken to address the complaint.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the corporation may take certain actions in response to noise complaints:

  • If noise levels are within a reasonable standard, no further action is necessary.
  • Undertake repairs to common areas if the noise emanates from common area equipment.
  • Rules may be implemented to address certain issues causing the noise.
  • Non-compliance letters may be sent to owners of units where noise is originating, and requesting compliance.
  • The corporation may deliver notices to residents reminding them of their obligation to not interfere with the use and enjoyment of common elements and units by other residents.
  • Instruct security to monitor hallways and units for non-compliance, and enforce rules to control excessive noise emanating from units.

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