A lawyer and partner at De Grandpré Joli-Coeur, Marie-Cécile Bodéüs graduated from the University of Montréal and was called to the Québec Bar in 1997.
Specializing in co-ownership law, Me Bodéüs has represented and assisted several co-owners and syndicates of co-ownership in the resolution of conflicts concerning various aspects of divided co-ownership law in Québec. Me Bodeüs’ practice varies from the recovery of unpaid common expenses to the start up of co-ownerships.
February 27, 2017 - Noise is a common nuisance in co-ownership. It is an extremely sensitive issue, to the extent that many declarations of co-ownership provide stringent by-laws in this area, particularly within multi-floor buildings.
Managing noise issues is a necessity for any Board of Directors and co-owner. This task is however difficult, since what constitutes a nuisance is both objective and subjective. With this in mind, to eradicate harmful noise, the first step is to find its source. We have identified three major causes.
Poorly built buildings
Some immovables held in co-ownership suffer from deficient construction. The foremost defect is insufficient soundproofing. If after buying the unit of your dreams, you hear everything going on in contiguous apartments, it may be caused by substandard soundproofing. The situation may even be worse when the noise generated by the mechanical elements of the building can be heard in your condo.
In such cases, you must address your grievance to the syndicate of co-owners, which is responsible for the common portions of the building and their deficiencies. The syndicate will have to undertake necessary corrective work. It may also, as the case may be, institute a recourse against the developer, or take the appropriate steps with the guarantee plan covering its building (if any).
The second source of noise is caused by work carried out by co-owners in their unit. Carpets are often replaced with poorly installed hard floors, such as a wooden floor, which will generate a significant noise increase. Again, the syndicate of co-owners must be informed, since the latter has the duty to enforce the provisions of the declaration of co-ownership.
An expert opinion could then confirm whether the new coverings are in accordance, or not, with the declaration of co-ownership provisions , requiring co-owners to respect the peaceful enjoyment of others in the building. One of the clauses in the declaration may even specify the manner in which such work is to be carried out in a private portion. If tests reveal a non-compliant installation, the syndicate must therefore require the non-compliant co-owner to perform soundproofing work, or require the premises be returned to their original condition.
The third source of noise concerns neighbor’s behavior. Obviously living in a community of co-owners involves compromises in relation with noise. In other words, the occupants of the building must accept normal neighborhood disturbances. On the other hand, if noise becomes excessive, you will have a recourse against the co-owners at fault. You may also institute a recourse against the syndicate of co-owners if one or more provisions of the by-law of the immovable are not observed by the noisy co-owners.
Marie-Cécile Bodéüs, lawyer
DE GRANDPRÉ JOLI-COEUR s.e.n.c.r.l.
2000, avenue McGill College
Montréal (Québec) H3A 3H3
Tél. : (514) 287-9535
Fax : (514) 499-0469
Courriel : firstname.lastname@example.org
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