LURLINE R. JOHNSON (R), ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, RMP
Property Profiles, Inc.
Past President, Oahu Chapter
National Association of Residential Property Managers
Q. I have a tenant who lives in a highrise condominium unit that I own. I got a call from the resident manager who said my tenant plays music too loudly at night and they have received complaints. I talked to the tenant and she said she didn’t feel it was loud but she rearranged the furniture to move the TV away from the window. The manager has called me again and said that the tenant needs to lower the volume of her TV or I need to ask her to move due to the disturbance. I haven’t received anything in writing from the manager. I feel my tenant is trying and I do not know what to do. I am stuck in the middle. How should I handle this with both the tenant and the manager?
A. Condominium Associations, in an effort to ensure peace, tranquility, and harmony among the residents, have rules and regulations in place. The purpose of these rules is to protect all the residents from harm or problems caused by improper conduct, to ensure maximum enjoyment of the property, and to keep the property in good condition.
The rules mainly rely on common sense and consideration among those who reside in the complex. Of course, like anything else in life, there are times when certain individuals don’t possess either common sense or consideration and need to be reminded of how to abide by the rules and standards of reasonable conduct. A copy of the House Rules should be provided to the tenant at check-in. It is the tenant’s responsibility to read, understand, and honor the house rules of the complex.
It seems that the first thing you need to do is check the house rules to see their policy about noise violations and how they proceed once a rule is breeched. An example of a regulation regarding noise could read like this:
Noise: All occupants shall avoid excessive noise of any kind at any time and shall be considerate of other occupants of the premises at all times. Occupants shall not cause or permit any disturbing noise to emanate from their respective apartments.
Music, TVs, radios, stereos, etc. must be played at reduced volume after 10 p.m. and before 7 a.m.
Pursuant to Section 514B-104(11), Hawaii Revised Statures, the Board of Directors can give the Managing Agent, the Resident Manager and other authorized agents or employees of the association the right to issue violation notices and to levy fines against the responsible owner, the owner’s tenant or another person occupying the unit. Fines may be assessed only by the managing agent or resident manager. The schedule of fines could be as follows:
First offense: A written notice delivered to both the owner and violator.
Second offense: If a second violation of the same provision occurs, a written notice will be given in addition to a $25 fine.
Third offense: If a third violation of the same provision occurs, a written notice will be given in addition to a $50 fine.
So, to answer your question, you should check the provisions of the House Rules to see what the specific policy is regarding noise violations and how notices and fines are handled. It does seem that the tenant is doing their best to follow the rules but obviously someone living nearby their unit is being bothered.
If you do receive a violation notice, you would have the right to contest the situation in writing to the Board of Directors. Many times situations like this are touchy because of the personalities involved. Regardless of what the rules are that govern the tenant’s behavior, they must apply equally to all tenants. Both federal and state fair housing laws prohibit discrimination against tenants in the handling of regulations.