You’ve just moved into your new co-op. It’s exciting, isn’t it?
But you soon discover that the neighbors upstairs have creaky and squeaky floors. You’ve already spoken to them about it and they’ve even allowed you to verify it. You’ve also heard the 80 percent rule: 80 percent of a tenant’s floors must be carpeted if noise is annoying the downstairs neighbors. Where there’s carpet, there’s no noise!
How do you get your neighbors to comply? You can, if you take steps in a calm and business-like manner.
Of course, having noisy upstairs neighbors can be terribly annoying. Take into consideration what type and age of the building you’re in. Is it a converted building that’s older and wood-framed? Or do you find yourself in a modern high-rise with cement floors that have been reinforced?
Typically, creaky noises indicate problems within the flooring where hardwood flooring could be rubbing against an underlying subfloor, or if it’s an older wooden building, the possibility is that the subfloor is now rubbing against the joists.
If you hear any kind of metallic, loud squeaking, it could come from some vibration in the plumbing of heating/air conditioning ducts that may move around when your neighbor walks across his floor.
So, what do you do? The best course of action is to ask the building maintenance — the “Super” — to investigate. He should have someone walking around upstairs in your neighbor’s apartment while he’s in yours, pinpointing the location of each squeaky and creaky noise.
You should find out if your building actually adheres to the 80 percent requirement. If your building has this rule, it is well within your rights to have the shareholder comply with it. If the building doesn’t have the rule, it may be that your neighbor’s lease does. Then, you can request that the landlord have this part of the lease enforced.
Incidentally, the 80 percent rule is not a law, but rather a rule that’s common in New York. It was previously written into the rules and regulations of leases for co-ops. Although it may not be spelled out in the lease, some buildings still maintain it.