Q&A: Neighbor's Kid Is Driving Me Crazy

Q. My upstairs neighbor has a one-year-old toddler who's constantly running at all hours. In fact, he's running around right now and it’s not even 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday. When I come home on weeknights -- whether it's 7:30, 8:30 or 9:30 -- the kid is running around. I've talked to them before regarding noise, but obviously it had no effect. I basically have no peace in my house because of this. I don't understand why they can't take their kid to the park, upstairs on our roof deck, or downstairs in the basement in our common area to run and burn off this energy. 

                                                 —Please Help!

A. “As is set forth in most documents,” said attorney A. Christopher Florio of the Lawrenceville office of Stark & Stark, “there is generally language that states that members (or their guests, etc.) are not to create a nuisance. Clearly, this annoying behavior is causing a nuisance to this member. 

“As is the law in New Jersey, the member being annoyed can seek an alternative dispute resolution (ADR ) with the neighbor upstairs. But the neighbor must also be willing to partake in the ADR endeavor (always best when the parties speak directly). Be aware that if this is a condominium, the association is responsible for the cost of ADR, by law.

“It would also be interesting to see if the governing documents have a requirement for certain noise baffling material to be installed. Lots of mid-to-high rise will prohibit wood floors on upper units for just this reason, and/or require a certain percentage of the unit to be covered in carpeting to reduce noise. This would be an area for the association’s attorney to review.” 

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