Q&A: Seen and Not Heard?

Q I live in a condo in which the majority of the residents are older or active adult age. However, it seems that there are several families with children with which we are having problems related to noise complaints. For the past year or so, this family with young toddlers are running on the floor above me, screaming, crying and just creating a nuisance at all hours of the day and night. The mother seemingly has little control over her offspring and prefers keeping them in the house rather than taking them outside to blow off some steam.

I complained to the property manager at the complex, and other owners did as well. The parents were sent a letter asking them to control their children. The noise stopped temporarily but now it is back with a vengeance.

My question is what do I do next? What is the next step to ensure that these owners follow the "noise" rules? Can an attorney help me?

—Too Loud in Lincoln Park

A “Many declarations, by their terms, prohibit excessive noise. And if nothing else, almost every declaration has a "use and occupancy" provision that prohibits actions that are an annoyance or nuisance to others. But the bottom line is that you and your association board each have a role to play in solving this problem,” says attorney Mark Rosenbaum of the Chicago-based law firm of Fischel & Kahn, Ltd.

“Also, many associations have rules that require “quiet hours” or otherwise deal expressly with excessive noise. Many associations also have provisions on floor soundproofing (like carpeting), which might help with the kids’ jumping around.

“As with any possible violation of the condominium instruments or rules, you need to look at your association’s own rules to determine the way to formally make a complaint to the association on the issue. Many associations will not take any action unless the formal process is followed. That may mean filing a written complaint, and possibly making yourself available to attend a hearing on your complaint.

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