How to deal with noise complaints in your HOA


Know your responsibilities as an HOA when it comes to noise complaints between neighbors.

Noise complaints can be a headache for everyone involved. As the board of your HOA, it’s important to understand your responsibilities and how you can help avoid noise issues in the future.  

Your CC&Rs should have a provision or two related to noise transmission between units. These may require your board to take a firm stance and intervene in a noise complaint, or to play more of a mediation role.

Most noise complaints relate to flooring, when homeowners rip out old carpeting and install new hardwood floors. Your HOA’s rules should state the steps a homeowner must take before remodeling their units, such as approval from the Architectural Control Committee.

Once a noise complaint is officially made to the board, the first step is usually to ask the parties involved to try to resolve the issue themselves. If the noise complaints continue, it’s important for everyone involved—including the board—to document everything: the times and frequency of the noises, the types of noises, dates of complaints and efforts to resolve the issue. This can help identify the severity and cause of the noise.

The board may also considering hiring an acoustical engineer to perform a sound test. Everyone reacts to noise differently, and what may seem deafening to one may hardly be noticed by another. A sound test can help determine if the noise level is within a “standard” range.


If your HOA has clear rules on the type of flooring that can be installed and the homeowner did not follow these, the board may need to enforce the rules through fines and other measures until the issue is resolved. Replacing new flooring can be expensive and frustrating, so it’s best to try to resolve the issue without going to extremes, if possible. Simple fixes like area rugs or soundproofing the ceiling of the downstairs homeowner might be viable options.

If the cause of the noise is determined to be related building design, hire a qualified architect or engineer to review and identify the problem. Then be sure to discuss this at the next homeowners meeting.

Finally, it’s important to realize that not all noise issues can be fixed. The homeowners in question may have different schedules, or the upstairs homeowner may simply walk with a heavy foot.

Whatever the cause of the complaint, it’s important to take it seriously—brushing it off could result in litigation against the association. Follow the rules provided in your HOA’s CC&Rs and give both parties involved the opportunity to be heard.

And if you find your HOA’s rules and resolutions lacking when it comes to dealing with such issues, consider these tips to prevent noise disputes in the future.  

Related Articles

Source: Executive Council of Homeowners, Realty Times
Search All Articles
Related Articles
Are You Prepared for a Blizzard?
Blizzard2017 saw some of the most extreme weather in years
5 Things To Do in a House Fire
FireAs soon as you hear a smoke detector go off, smell smoke, or see fire, get out as soon as possible.
How to Prevent House Fires
05fire-jumboThere are several things you can do to prepare and prevent disaster from striking your home.
5 Things to do if your House is Still on the Market
House-for-saleThere is a wide array of reasons why your house might not have sold yet, not all of which are in your control.

Most Popular
What is a Reverse Mortgage?
ReversethumbA reverse mortgage is a loan that allows you to convert some of the equity in your home into cash.
Civil Remedies for Gang-Related Harm
Risk_thUsing small claims and landlord-tenant courts to deal with gang issues.
5 Signs It's Time to Fire Your Association Manager
FiredIt i almost always better to resolve differences with frank communication between people of good faith. But that doesnt always
What is Depression?
DepressionthumbDepression is more than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days.


Zip Code Profiler

Neighborhoods, Home Values, Schools, City & State Data, Sex Offender Lists, more.

Instant Home Value!