Posted by terri on January 19, 2001 at 17:27:42:
In Reply to: noisy apt posted by sung kim on January 18, 2001 at 04:05:37:
When the noise is persistent and measurable -- from commercial loudspeakers (commercial enterprises are forbidden to channel noise into the streets to attract customers), from air-conditioning units and cooling towers, from construction equipment, or from discos, for instance -- a determined complainer can get something done. These recurring problems come under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection. The most innovative sections of the code are those that set forth specific maximum-decibel limits for noisy equipment and machinery. Under these sections, many noise-law violations can be objectively proved. If the decibel level exceeds the legal maximum, the department issues a notice of violation, requiring the offender to appear at a hearing before the Environmental Control Board.The department's 24-hour complaint phone number is 966-7500. But don't expect an inspector to be dispatched to your home right away. There are only seventeen of them, and they are kept very busy.
According to two appellate-court decisions in New York, landlords are liable if they don't take action to stop the noise. In Kalikow Properties v. Modny, the Appellate Term, First Department, ruled that a landlord who failed to do anything about continual and intense noise emanating from one apartment had breached the warranty of habitability that protects all the other tenants. The appellate panel upheld the granting of a 30 percent rent abatement to a neighboring tenant driven to distraction by the noise. In another case, State Supreme Court Justice Fritz Alexander awarded a 30 percent rent abatement to a Manhattan couple who heard a "pure-tone noise" that penetrated through the walls of their bedroom. The landlord's remedial efforts were not effective. The tenants, unable to sleep in their Bedroom because of the irritating sound, spent their nights in their living room. When the couple finally sued, the court found that a breach of the warranty of habitability did exist. The rent abatement granted to the tenants exceeded $6,000.
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