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Is the HOA ineffective in resolving your noise complaint?

When you moved into your condo, you had no trouble complying with the CC&Rs set out by the Homeowners' Association. You appreciate that the HOA keeps the property well-maintained, for example, and that smoking is prohibited in common areas.

However, two sisters, both in their twenties, have recently purchased the condo above yours. They have noisy weekend parties that last until the wee hours and keep you awake. You have lodged a complaint with the HOA, but is the board taking action?

The nuisance provision

Most California CC&Rs have a section that defines nuisances the HOA prohibits. While this provision is not usually in the governing documents, the board of directors should nevertheless address grievances in an appropriate manner.

The nuisance defined

In terms of community homeownership, a nuisance is often defined in three ways: as an activity by one resident that disrupts the quiet enjoyment of another; a use or practice that creates hazardous, offensive or noxious conditions; or an action that is a violation of law. Examples of common nuisances include odors from cigarette smoke or garbage, visual issues such as unsightly clutter on patios or balconies or safety issues involving outdoor fires. Noise is one of the most frequent complaints. In the case of the two sisters, the disturbance comes from loud conversations and laughter, loud music and the sounds of furniture moving around.

Favored homeowners

You have politely asked the young ladies to keep the noise down and they say they will, but the parties still go on and so does the noise. In bringing this up to the HOA, you discover that the sisters are nieces of the HOA president. Could this explain why you are not getting very far with your complaint?

Taking action of your own

The HOA board may see your grievance as a neighbor-to-neighbor complaint and therefore feel they do not have a duty to help resolve the problem. Is this the stance they should take? You may want to reach out for a legal opinion and guidance as to what your next steps should be.

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