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carpet and noisy floors
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micheleb
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04/08/2015 - 2:17 pm
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Having just moved into my new 1930's apartment I was shocked at the level of noise from both my own, and the upstairs neighbour's floorboards. Presently my apartment, and the one directly above, have a layer of carpet over the original and very noisy floorboards. I don't believe either has any form of acoustic underlay.

So, 2 issues. Like many people, I'd love floorboards but there is no way I'd ever consider using the original ones. In saying that however, I actually think that replacing them either with new boards (or carpet) with proper acoustic underlay would make the world of difference and I am happy to go down either path. But what about my upstairs neighbour and the fact that I can hear every sound even though she has carpet? I know she'd like floorboards (correctly soundproofed) also, but if that doesn't happen, do I have any rights in terms of getting her to replace the carpet and having an acoustic underlay installed? 

I've only slept there 4 nights and am going nuts...

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Whale
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06/08/2015 - 3:57 pm
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michele - the first issue to resolve is a possible breach of a generic Strata By-Law that states:

"An Owner of a Lot must ensure that all floor space within the Lot is covered or otherwise treated to an extent sufficient to prevent the transmission from the floor space of noise likely to disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the Owner or occupier of another Lot."

The second issue is that as the floor structure of one Lot is the ceiling of the one below, that area isn't the sole property of any individual Lot Owner and is instead the Common Property of the Owners Corporation (O/C) as a collective of all Lot Owners.

So if by your use of the term "replaced" you mean taking-up the floorboards and installing a different material, then in the absence of "special" By-Law that's been Registered on the Title of your specific Strata Plan and which sets-out how such an activity by Owners may be undertaken, then any activity that involves a physical change to the structure of the floor cannot be undertaken without a whole lot of rigmarole that culminates with General Meeting of the O/C voting upon whether or not those works may be consented, and under what conditions.

There are some navigable ways forward, but in order to narrow those down a little, can you advise if both you and your upstairs neighbour are Owners?

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micheleb
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11/08/2015 - 5:15 pm
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Hi Whale(?) thanks for that. And yes, both and my upstairs neighbour are owners.

I held off replying as I was trying to locate all the special by-laws and have discovered one that says all apartments must have wall to wall carpet excluding the ground floor flat. I assume then that if we were to go forward, we'd need a new special by-law. 

Also, my logic about pulling up the boards that are there is that they emit more noise than they stop. I guess if a floating floor on top does the job with proper acoustic underlay then that might make it easier from what your saying. 

Even both me and my neighbour don't get permission to install floorboards, I think both of us need to look at having proper installation installed.

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Whale
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12/08/2015 - 1:13 pm
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michele - it's as well that you took the initiative to search for Special By-Laws (SBL) because that was going to be my next point of advice once you confirmed residency status, and if the SBL of relevance that you found has been properly Registered (on the Strata Title), then that tells me that noise transmission from all Lots except those on the ground floor must have been historically problematic, and that both you and your neighbour are legally required to abide by the provisions of that SBL.

The only way around that SBL would be to as you suggest arrange for a new one with different provisions or to amend the one that's existing, but as both of those options would involve the drafting of a new or amended SBL, and a General Meeting of your Owners Corporation where ≥75% of those Owners in attendance (both personally and by proxy) would need to vote in favour of the proposal in accordance with the unit entitlement of their Lots (i.e. a "poll vote") in order for it to pass, and with all of that being entirely at the expense of you and your upstairs neighbour, quite frankly I wouldn't bother; hence my use if the term "rigmarole".

Right now, and albeit inadvertently, your upstairs neighbour is in breach of the "model" By-Law # 14 that's provided in Schedule 1 of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act (1996) that I quoted in my last post, and whilst you could pursue a formal resolution to that by requesting that the Executive Committee of your Plan meets to approve issuing her with a "Notice to Comply" (with a By-Law), if you wish to remain neighbourly why not try an informal approach in the first instance?

Decent underlay seems to me the most neighbourly and effective way forward, as believe me timber flooring, and particularly that of the "floating" variety would not only be contrary to the existing SBL, but would almost certainly make matters worse - have a look HERE for some commentary on timber flooring arising from many posts on this Forum and HERE for some general advice on matters Strata.

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Whale
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07/02/2016 - 3:04 pm
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A combination of grammatical errors, an IP address and e-mail provider from Mumbai India, and a USA linked website all has me confused, so huh! Offending post now removed, Whale's response left "pour encouragez les autres" - JT

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