Your rights and responsibilities during renovations. How Philip and Jane went from friendly neighbours to cold glances in the hallway.
How to avoid being a noisy upstairs neighbour
The following is a fictional story based on the facts of an adjudicators order.
Philip Gets New Flooring -
One morning Philip was feeling particularly down as he stood in the middle of his apartment while his 1970’s lino stared back at him. It was an ugly, truly awful design that was stained and tearing and didn’t even hold a vintage charm anymore. “That’s it” Philip decided “I’m tearing it up!”
Over the next four to six weeks Philip put all his free time and love into renovating his floors. He even carefully selected new furniture and fittings to suit his fresh contemporary look.
The weekend after his second housewarming (the renovation party he hosted to show off his new look apartment) Philip stood in the middle of his home and was filled with pride.
His reflections were interrupted with a banging on the door. When he opened it, he found his downstairs neighbour Jane in her pyjamas with an angry look
on her face.
Jane Loves a Sleep In -
Jane loves a sleep in and was excited to resume her lazy Saturday morning routine after
Philip had finally finished the renovations that had been interrupting her mid-morning REM for weeks.
But that first Saturday morning did not go as Jane had hoped. Instead of dozing peacefully while cyclists met in coffee shops, Jane woke with a start to a loud noise “Oh no, not more renovations!” Jane thought as she leapt out of bed.
Jane listened closely to the thud, thud thudding as it moved around above her head. Jane and Philip had the exact same layout in their units and she was able to follow the intrusive noise into the bathroom, back into the bedroom, then out into the lounge. Realising that the sound was in fact Philip’s heavy tread and not renovations, Jane marched upstairs to confront Philip.
Jane and Philip went through a long process of deliberations involving lawyers and Body Corporate Managers which took up time and gave everyone a headache.
"An adjudicator ruled that Philip would have to lay carpet over his much loved new flooring."
Jane regained her Saturday sleep ins and Philip eventually accepted his new carpet but neither said hello when they passed each other on the stairs.
And all of this could have been avoided.
The Real Adjudicator’s Decision
While some body-corporates’ by-laws specifically provide for noise and material requirements when it comes to renovations, this is not always the case. In the case your complex’s by-laws do not cover issues relating to materials and sound requirements for flooring, it is important to check what your by-laws say about creating noise and nuisance in general. Further, all residents of apartment complexes must comply with the Act and Regulations relevant to their complex.
"It has been noted by many Adjudicators’ Orders that too thin a flooring is capable of causing nuisance to other residents, so it is important to consider all aspects of your chosen materials and not just the looks."
If you are thinking of starting renovations and are unsure of the requirements of your complex or if you have found yourself in a similar predicament to Jane, contact us so that we may help you solve your flooring problems.
Disclaimer: This article is intended as general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For specific legal advice please contact us here.