Responsibility for bad flooring may fall upon owner

Q: I own a condo unit and have been having trouble with the unit above us, which is a rental unit.

The flooring in this unit is bad. The floor in the master bedroom squeaks when they walk over certain areas.

I have been awakened at all hours of the night.

The noise in both the living room and dining room is unbearable when they walk across it.

Our covenants state that the owner is responsible for repairs to the inside of his unit, including floors. I have been trying since March 2007 to have the management company and the association do something about the problem. I told them that I would contact the ombudsman office and seek legal counsel. I would like to know if this is the way to proceed and what the outcome may be. Is there any Nevada law that protects me and allows me to enjoy my property as it was intended?

A: A number of communities have construction problems with the flooring and the lack of soundproofing between floors.

This is not an inexpensive problem to fix and it may not even be fixed 100 percent. It would require the owner of the upstairs unit to remove the carpets from the floors and to possibly replace the plywood floors.

Sometimes, using special screws to secure the plywood floors can reduce or eliminate squeaky sounds.

The management company and the association should review and respond to your complaint. If the flooring problem is the responsibility of the homeowner, then appropriate action needs to be taken to require the unit owner to make the repairs.

The reader needs to understand that even if the association had placed the homeowner on notice and was following the due process requirements for a violation, or in this case, maintenance work, this is not the type of problem that is easily or quickly resolved, especially if the unit owner is not cooperating with the association.

This is a type of problem that eventually finds itself in an arbitration/mediation case and eventually in a court-of-law.

Before contacting the state ombudsman office or legal counsel, you should make an appointment with the management company and also attend the next board meeting to find out just what, if any, action has been taken.

If you can’t obtain some satisfaction, then you can contact the ombudsman and legal counsel.

The ombudsman office can serve as an intervener and/or recommend that the reader file for arbitration or mediation.

Because this is a more complex issue, the reader should contact an attorney who is knowledgeable with construction defect lawsuits.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. Questions may be sent to Association Q. & A., P.O. Box 7440, Las Vegas, NV 89125. Her fax number is 385-3759. Questions may be shortened and are subject to editing.

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