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Re: Noise from new wine bar below my apartment

Posted by DK on February 26, 1999 at 18:20:17:

In Reply to: Noise from new wine bar below my apartment posted by Jeff Hearn on February 26, 1999 at 13:45:16:

Noise cases are really tough. In theory you have lots of rights, but it can be difficult to enforce them. The biggest problem is proof, as you have already experienced. Noise comes and goes, so it's difficult to prove the scope of the problem over time.

The landlord has an obligation to provide you with an apartment that is reasonably fit for living (the warranty of habitability). Renting to an establishment that has music requires proper noise insulation and restrictions on the commercial tenant. The Building Code has very strict noise insulation requirements that are virtually always ignored. There are also NYC code restrictions on the level of noise. The State Liquor Authority is also beginning to be more responsive to noise complaints.

You have lots of options. You could bring a code enforcement proceeding against your landlord to require compliance with the noise insulation requirements of the Building Code.

You could bring an action in Supreme Court against the wine bar and your landlord to obtain an injunction against excessive noise.

You can continue complaining to the NYC EPA to obtain noise violations.

You can complain to the State Liquor Authority.

You can ask your local elected officials and the community board to assist you in making all of these complaints.

If you are really serious, you probably need an attorney, but it will be expensive. If you are successful in proving your claim, you can probably require your landlord to reimburse your legal fees and other expenses.

In order to prove the level of noise, you need fairly sophisticated equipment. There are a small number of licensed engineers who specialize in the noise engineering field who can assist you in this regard.

: After living in my apartment over a bakery for three years, the bakery went out of business and the space was rented as a wine bar. I was assured by the Landlord and business owner that the operation would be a quiet little cafe. Unfortunately that has not been the case. They are open every night until 4:00 am, and play loud music. They have moved the stereo speakers away from my floor, but at 2:00 am they frequently turn up the music so loud that I can identify the artist and song. It emanates from my outside walls and floor.

: I had a noise inspection done, and unfortunately he came on a relatively quiet night, and the noise was 1 decibel under the legal threshold.

: I've complained to the landlord several times, and he has offered to move me to another apartment. It has now been four months, and it seems that the landlord now expects me to take another apartment at its current rate rather than matching it with my current rent. The downstairs business continues to play loud music late at night, which is not only disturbing but depriving me of sleep.

: Up until now I have dealt with the problem rather timidly, but I am at the end of my rope and I want to fully explore my legal options. Unfortunately, all my research about noise usually involves another residential tenant, and I can't find help with dealing with a commericial tenant.

: Can anyone give any advice?

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