The homeowners' association's (HOA) attorney represents the HOA as an entity. The HOA is separate...
Disrespectful neighbors playing loud music, enjoying home theaters, hosting summer parties, and performing late-night construction work can violate an HOA’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions. HOAs have a duty to resolve these violations quickly and, when they do not, they can be held liable for failing to act.
HOAs are not immune from lawsuits stemming from nuisances within the community. Common nuisances include:
- Odors emanating from a neighbor’s property
- Visual problems such as cluttered front and backyards
- Safety problems such as fire pits and fireworks
- Noise problems including loud music and large gatherings
Most covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) address these common causes of complaints. HOAs have a duty to their community to thoroughly investigate complaints and pursue an expedient resolution through the notice and hearing process.
Noise Complaints in Multi-Unit Buildings
The majority of noise complaints originate in apartment buildings and condos. Often, there is little to no insulation between units, which means that sound travels through them like a concert venue. One reason for this is that most projects set a low bar for the installation of insulation and other sound attenuating materials. The result is that even normal activities such as walking across the floor or cooking can resonate through the adjacent units.
Enforcing Rules and Mediating Disputes
HOAs have a duty to property owners to protect them against the behaviors and actions of their neighbors. While a singular event such as a loud TV or a midnight cooking session can be addressed with a brief conversation or formal warning, it’s quite something else to have a neighbor who is throwing parties every weekend, yelling at the news on TV every night or, worse, engaging in loud or physical altercations every week. These situations are habitual and require HOAs to take appropriate action and apply the specified penalties as spelled out within the CC&Rs.
HOA’s that fail to enforce noise-related rules and mediate disputes when they occur are negligent in their responsibility to property owners. Moreover, property owners who have rented their properties are not immune from liability stemming from their tenant’s actions. Indeed, since renters are not members of the HOA, the rowdy actions of a tenant are the responsibility of the property owner. As such, the HOA can pursue homeowners for the cost of enforcing the CC&R’s or evicting the nuisance tenant.