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Q&A: Not So Neighborly Neighbors

Q. The owner in the unit downstairs from me typically parties late into the night, slams doors, has parked in my driveway, plays loud music, and leaves trash in the condo’s common areas. It seems there is some connection between this person and members of the condo board—I have complained about the behavior and the trash in common areas, but the condo association seems to turn a blind eye. What to do?

                                 — Irritated Owner

A. “While these situations are typically document- and fact-specific, in general, residents living in a community living situation such as a condominium association need to have an expectation of a certain level of noise between units,” says Pamela M. Jonah, partner at Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks  P.C. in Braintree, Massachusetts.  

“Oftentimes, these situations result in a he-said/she-said situation in that one resident is complaining about the activity of another, who then denies same. The board not having been a direct witness is typically powerless to act without some other evidence. 

“The board is charged with the administration of the common areas of the condominium or HOA for the benefit of all owners collectively; they are not the police and cannot resolve individual neighbor disputes. If more than one resident is complaining about noise or other activities by another resident, then the board may have more to act upon. Residents may have their own private causes of action against other residents and may want to seek the advice of their own counsel.  

“Also, a resident may always call the police if they are disturbed or feel threatened by the actions of another resident.  These situations are not always easily resolved, but residents should attempt to work out their differences in a non-hostile manner.”  

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