Q&A: Collecting from a Habitual Rule Breaker

Q We have a owner in one of our condos that always has excessive noise. Last night around 3 a.m., the police were finally called. The owner and his roommate have been told to keep the noise level down but to no avail. Fines have also been levied. Any suggestions?

— Totally Exasperated

A First of all, we view noise complaints as being a dispute between two neighbors if only one unit owner or resident is complaining. Noise level is subjective and therefore, one noise complaint does not make the issue a condominium association issue. That being said, we do suggest to the association that they mediate the dispute if the two neighbors wish to have the board do so.

“However, we will assume that this dispute involves more than one neighbor complaining and is therefore, an association matter. In addition to fines, you should be aware that the Massachusetts Condominium Act permits the association to assess legal fees and costs to the violating unit owners. Unit owners are responsible for the conduct of tenants. The association does not have to wait for the unit to sell to collect its fines not will that stop the noise. If need be and if excessive enough, the association should consider suing the unit owner and obtaining preliminary relief to require the noise to be kept to acceptable levels. Since the unit owner will be responsible for the legal fees incurred, while this is a dramatic measure bringing suit, it might be required if the noise is interfering with the peaceful enjoyment of other unit owners.

— Stephen M. Marcus, Esq.

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