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Rude neighbor frays everyone’s nerves

Q: We have an owner who is constantly defying the rules of the association (and society in general). He refuses to obtain a parking permit, he intentionally parks his pickup across two (and sometimes even three) lanes, he posts rude messages on his windshield. I suspect he has tampered with the electricity in his garage. And in the month before Christmas, he put a Santa on his balcony with a strand of white lights exiting from the pants’ zipper down to the ground, mimicking a flow of urine! He is crass, bizarre, defiant and borderline insane. He doesn’t talk or interact with anyone. He goes shooting in the desert almost every day. We residents are hesitant to approach him. The property manager fines him but he doesn’t pay his fines. Is there anything that we can do to improve this situation?

A: Sorry to hear that you have such a rude neighbor. The association’s only recourse is to fine the homeowner. Based upon the amount of the fines if they totaled over $500, the board may consider placing a lien on his property. A lien can affect his credit rating. As to his pickup, if he is parking illegally, the association can tag his vehicle and threaten to tow it. I don’t know if the shooting in the desert near your homes is against the law but if it is, he should be reported by the board through your management company.

Q: I enjoy reading your weekly column in the Sunday edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Last year, you were of assistance in answering my inquiry about short-term rentals. I appreciate that.

By any chance, do you receive the publication, The Cooperator Nevada? In the March 2019 issue, In the Legal Q &A section there was an inquiry, and in the response it mentioned something about Nevada Revised Statute 116.31065. The two paragraphs that caught my attention in the response were:

“Finally, many governing documents include a provision that makes failure to comply with applicable laws and ordinances a violation of the governing documents. ‘No Use Restriction or Rule shall interfere with the activities carried on within the confines of Dwelling Units, except that the Association may prohibit activities. … that create an unreasonable source of annoyance, or that otherwise violate local, state, or federal laws or regulations.’

“Excessive noise from hard surface flooring could substantially interfere with another owner’s right to reasonably use and enjoy their property. If your county or city has adopted the IBC’s sound transmission standards, then the noise generated by hard flooring could constitute a violation of the law or ordinances.’

The highlighted section is what I’m interested in finding out more about. I live in a downstairs unit and the owner above me uses the property as a rental. Currently, there is a family residing in there with a very young child who is constantly running around and playing on the hardwood flooring. As the units were built in 1960 there’s not much insulation or sound containment. I’ve e-mailed the owner to ask if they can possibly purchase some inexpensive carpeting or rugs to put on the high-traffic areas that the child runs or plays in, to maybe help with the noise, but a week — no response.

I’ve spoken to other owners here living on the bottom floors in the complex, and they report the same thing. Not sure if there is anything with this IBC thing that we can use to try to have this addressed in the community.

I wouldn’t call the noise excessive but it’s constant (every day). I’m not upset at the child/family. He’s just being a child and playing, using his energy; but at the same token I’m entitled to some peace and quiet in my own residence, as well. I’ve emailed the main contact with the property management company of the complex and this was the response: “Interesting information. No, we haven’t had any further information regarding this in our industry. I’m at a loss as to where further information would be found in Clark County.”

I can try to scan or take photos of the entire article if you require, as it was quite lengthy.

I’m wondering if you can help or point me in the direction, or where I can find out more about this.

A: Before I attempt to provide some answers to you, I ask forgiveness from community builders, who so much better understand these codes.

IBC stands for international building code. One such section in the code pertains to structure-borne sound. Floor/ceiling assemblies between a dwelling unit within the structure are supposed to have an impact insulation of specific ratings in order to decrease the sound that is traveling between the floor and ceiling.

Sound insulation products like underlayments are typically specified for condominiums desiring quieter floors. Sound control materials used for impact sound insulation are engineered to absorb and attenuate sound generated by footsteps, dropped objects etc. at the floor surface. Sound control standards were developed to regulate the amount of noise allowed to penetrate through common walls and floors within dwellings. Under the current sound rating system, the higher the number the better sound suppression quality. In other words; rooms become increasingly quiet as the rating number increases. Larger luxury condo associations typically adhere to the international building code or universal building code when establishing sound control standards. Many properties are now requiring sound control ratings in the high 50s or low 60s range. Local municipalities can have different rating requirements. Impact sound complaints are common on floor-ceiling assemblies that meet the bare minimum requirement of 50 decibels IIC.

(IIC) impact isolation class ASTM E492/E989 and (STC) sound transmission class ASTM E336/E413 are both tests for sound traveling through the total floor/ceiling assembly from an upper living area to a lower living area.

IIC testing is for impact noise, like footfalls, moving furniture, things dropping on the floor, etc. STC is for airborne sound like voices or music. IIC and STC tests are conducted in sound test laboratories.

It is important to understand that IIC and STC tests are not for individual components of a flooring assembly, but for the whole floor/ceiling structure, from the surface of the floor covering material in the upper unit all the way to the ceiling in the unit below. Each IIC or STC test report issued has a detailed description of the floor/ceiling assembly used in that test. For engineered wood flooring installations, the results depend on the type of materials used in the construction of the building, along with the underlayment selected for the application.

IIC, (FIIC) field impact insulation class, STC and field sound transmission class sound testing procedures are all included in the international building code as official test methods for sound evaluation. There is one more type of sound that may be discussed in relation to flooring material, the sound that reverberates or echoes within the room where the floor is installed. While resonating sound is obviously important to the consumer, the ability to obtain quantitative measurements has been difficult and illusive. As of yet, there is no ASTM or ANSI method established for the evaluation of resonating sound and the international building code does not recognize resonating sound testing.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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