Problem: Noise Complaints. Our Condo docs indicate that sufficent carpeting should be installed on all floors above the first level to reduce noise sound. The Rules & Regulations indicated that 80% of carpeting shall be installed to reduce noise sound in all units above the first floor. Now we have several real estate agents living in our complex, selling units too and are indicating in their advertisements, newspapers, newsletters, etc, that the unit(s) they are selling do have hardwood or parquet floors. Nothing is mentioned that the flooring must contain 80% carpeting. Because of this, new residents feel they do not need adhere to this 80% carpeting ruling that was established back in the early 80′s when the the rule was written.


It has also been noted that some board members do not have carpeting on their floors, and other residents may have less than 80% or not enough on the floor in the walking areas. As a result, we have noise complaints that lead into legal actions between two neighbors–above and below. Covenants Committee nor our management enforces this 80% carpeting rule. Real estate agents never tell the new prospect owner the condo document rule. Since more and more residents are selling their units and having their floors redone, refinished, or hardwood flooring installed without proper soundproofing, we now have more and more noise complaints that cannot be resolved without going through our attorney or telling the unit owners they have to handle their situation via their own attorneys.



Could CAI or you give me an explanation on (1) real estate agents selling units with advertisements showing hardwood floors (that do not meet the condo doc  requirements); (2) the role of our Covenants Committee to enforce the 80% carpeting rule to all unit owners? Many condo complexes have the same problems and it appears no one wants to enforce this type of rule. Yet no condo association board has ever revised the rule or deleted it.
Please Help!! Thank you.

- Margey



Your last few sentences say it all: “Many condo complexes have the same problems and it appears no one wants to enforce this type of rule. Yet no condo assn board has ever revised the rule or deleted it.” The board is legally required to enforce all provisions of the governing documents, and cannot selectively decide which ones to enforce and which ones to ignore. If enough owners believe a certain provision is no longer reasonable or relevant, the board should initiate the effort to remove it through the amendment process as detailed in that document. If it’s a rule, and not a governing document provision, that the owners no longer think is necessary, and the rule was created by the board of directors, then the board should consider revoking it. Absent revoking or amending out the provision, however, the board is breaching its fiduciary duty by not enforcing the provision. Board members may not be protected by fidelity insurance if they deliberately refuse to enforce the governing documents.


All that said, requiring that 80% of flooring be carpeted in a condominium is a reasonable requirement unless the flooring was constructed with sound-muting material. Realtors should alert their clients, both potential buyers and sellers, about the requirement. To ensure that all buyers are aware of the requirement, the board could add a note to all resale certificates reflecting the flooring mandate. Depending on the state, the board could also record a violation notice in each affected unit’s deed so that any title search would disclose the issue before a buyer closes on the unit.



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