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  • #57966

    As an owner I updated carpet to floorboards with good insulation noise for  while untenanted.
    Now tenanted, I’ve received complaints from downstairs owner re excess noise from tenant walking on the boards. I’ve agreed to replace the floor back to carpet to avoid an official complaint from the strata but the tenant refuses to have carpet installed?
    Tenant’s lease is coming up? What do I do to get carpet laid. I don’t want to remove her but my agent says she doesn’t have to agree to the carpet? I was told that I was being unreasonable in replacing the carpet and that the  tenant doesn’t like carpet.

    The tenant would have to vacate to have the carpets installed, as the tenant is not willing to have carpets put in whilst she is there. The agent’s response “ As I last discussed with fair trading we are not able to do this whilst the tenant is in the property if she doesn’t agree”

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  • #57968

    There are a lot of moving parts in this question, including how justified the complaint may be, whether or not the flooring installers actually put in the best sound insulation, how tolerant or otherwise the downstairs neighbours are being, and how bad the noise really is.

    Complicating the issue is the fact that you don’t want to lose this tenant (which would be the simplest solution).

    There are three major elements in the transmission of noise through apartment floors:  The density of the concrete slab, the insulation on the upper floor, and the behaviour of the residents.

    There’s nothing you can do about the concrete slab, there’s not a lot you can do about the insulation on the floor without considerable expense, but there may be something you can do about the resident’s behaviour.

    The apartment above ours had timber flooring installed ages ago.  It was never a problem but, it turned out, that was because the residents were not noisy. A new owner bought in and that changed a little.  When the owner’s kid comes to visit at weekends, we get a lot of thumping as he runs from one end of the apartment to the other.  We also hear, very occasionally, someone walking around wearing hard shoes.

    Clearly, the original owner (not the current one) installed cheap flooring. If this was a constant problem, we’d go to the trouble of having acoustic tests done with a view to requiring the upstairs owner to install a properly insulated floor or carpets.   But it’s not and the occasional noise doesn’t outweigh the hassle and stress of making an issue of this.

    Back to your dilemma, my first thought is to wonder how good the insulation on the flooring is and if the flooring installers did a good enough job with the right materials.  If they only promised the flooring would meet Australian Building Standards, then that’s your problem right there as they are woefully inadequate for apartments.  But if they promised proper insulation and didn’t deliver on that, you could have a case against them to fix the problem.

    The other issue is how bad and what form the noise disruption downstairs is.  If it’s a serious problem you have to deal with it, regardless of what the tenant wants. And, given the fact the the tenant doesn’t want carpet (which is fair enough), that means terminating the current lease.

    However, you could offer the tenant another lease, with conditions, including that they and their guests don’t wear shoes on the hard floors and that they try to avoid excessive noise from walking or running  around, moving furniture etc.

    If they refuse, then let them go. If they move out, then you might well have an acoustic test done to see if your flooring installers have cheated you and if the downstairs neighbours’ complaints are reasonable.

    Recarpeting is a solution if you want to avoid conflict in the block, but it’s another expense – not to mention the wasted money on the timber flooring –  and I wouldn’t be giving in quite so easily.





    Thanks for this considered response. My agent has since asked the tenant if she would agree to a no shoes policy and she has refused, stating it’s completely unreasonable. She would be prepared to limit her footwear to runners and sandals🤔
    She won’t lay rugs due to allergies/ having a cat. She has indicated she will now give notice if carpet goes down.


    I think my response would be along the lines of: “Thank you for your understanding … viewings will start next Wednesday.” I also think the tenant needs to understand that you don’t have a lot of wriggle-room in this.  If there is a noise problem, you are legally obliged to fix it.  If they can’t or won’t cooperate, then they have to go.

    BTW, I have two cats and both timber and carpeted floors. The cats aren’t allowed to wear shoes in the apartment.

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