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Regular Contributor
Guinness
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎08-14-2009
0

Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

We live in a 2 bd condo conversion in Woodland Hills, California which we purchased 2 years ago. We have had an issue with elevator noise coming in to our unit. Our unit is on the first floor and the engine room is below our bathroom.Each time the elevator is active (we live in 100+ unit with 1 elevator) the noise comes into our unit. We are constantly woken up in the middle of the night, have trouble falling a sleep, and difficulties staying a sleep in the morning. It has created an unbearable living situation.


When we purchased the condo, we were one of the first ones to have moved into our building. (It is a 1200 unit apartment to condo conversion) We didn't hear the elevator noise until months after people began to move in.


Here is an audio of the sounds from my bedroom and also a video from the engine room:

1. Audio from bedroom (begins at 0:07) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S8g1VlzyOs]Audio from Bedroom (Building 14 Unit 124) 

2. Audio/Video from engine room - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjKdG_fjkRM]Building 14 Elevator - Engine Room Noise 


We have addressed the problem to the HOA and have even had the elevator technician (contracted by the hoa) come out and assess the issue. He came into our unit and said the noise should not be coming into our unit and has proposed a suggestion. I have since then asked to view the proposal and the amount which they have refused for us to see. The amount is less than $1500.00 but it is not a guarantee according to the elevator technician.


They have since refused to correct the problem twice this year because the elevator was working and we were the only ones who have complained. We have no neighbors next to us and the people above us do not hear the noise from the engine room.


Because the HOA won't do anything, my next step is to go to the developers who sold us our unit but we are trying to find out if we even have any power to pursue this. (for example: undisclosed mechanical noise or owners easement of enjoyment)
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.Thank you in advance.

 

 

Redfin Partner Agent
Adam-la
Posts: 1,904
Registered: ‎03-15-2011
0

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

I'm no expert in this but I think that your best bet is to pay for the repairs yourself or move.  With the motor literally under your bathroom I don't think that there is any way to truly muffle the noise and vibrations from this system. 


Maybe you can explain what the suggested solution entails (I'd guess vibration dampers and insulation).

 

I would think that $1500 to change an 'unbearable living situation' might be worth your own money upfront to get the problem resolved. 

 

Why does the HOA say they will not pay for these repairs? 



Silver Trusted Contributor
GEAH
Posts: 935
Registered: ‎10-22-2010

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

"They have since refused to correct the problem twice this year because the elevator was working and we were the only ones who have complained."


Redfin Partner Agent
Adam-la
Posts: 1,904
Registered: ‎03-15-2011
0

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

I see that, but even if only one person complains, the HOA should be in the practice of resolving mechanical issues well before they develop into larger problems. 

 

How many people does it take to alert them of a water leak?

 

Of course, I think that the OP might have a hard time with the lack of response by the HOA but at least there should be something in writing as to why they are not going to make these repairs. 

 

Gold Contributor
TrabucoDom
Posts: 1,584
Registered: ‎01-05-2008
0

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?


Guinness wrote:

We live in a 2 bd condo conversion in Woodland Hills, California which we purchased 2 years ago. We have had an issue with elevator noise coming in to our unit. Our unit is on the first floor and the engine room is below our bathroom.Each time the elevator is active (we live in 100+ unit with 1 elevator) the noise comes into our unit. We are constantly woken up in the middle of the night, have trouble falling a sleep, and difficulties staying a sleep in the morning. It has created an unbearable living situation.


When we purchased the condo, we were one of the first ones to have moved into our building. (It is a 1200 unit apartment to condo conversion) We didn't hear the elevator noise until months after people began to move in.


Here is an audio of the sounds from my bedroom and also a video from the engine room:

1. Audio from bedroom (begins at 0:07) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S8g1VlzyOs]Audio from Bedroom (Building 14 Unit 124) 

2. Audio/Video from engine room - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjKdG_fjkRM]Building 14 Elevator - Engine Room Noise 


We have addressed the problem to the HOA and have even had the elevator technician (contracted by the hoa) come out and assess the issue. He came into our unit and said the noise should not be coming into our unit and has proposed a suggestion. I have since then asked to view the proposal and the amount which they have refused for us to see. The amount is less than $1500.00 but it is not a guarantee according to the elevator technician.


They have since refused to correct the problem twice this year because the elevator was working and we were the only ones who have complained. We have no neighbors next to us and the people above us do not hear the noise from the engine room.


Because the HOA won't do anything, my next step is to go to the developers who sold us our unit but we are trying to find out if we even have any power to pursue this. (for example: undisclosed mechanical noise or owners easement of enjoyment)
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.Thank you in advance.

 

 



Wow, that is an obnoxious sound!

 

It is absurd that they will not take dcare of it because you are the only one to complain. In the past we have had problems with barking dogs and the association would not do anything unless there were multiple units complaing. It makes no sense to think that a problem is not a problem unless mutliple units are affected. 

 

The option of paying for the repair yourself, as another post mentioned, is one solution.

 

Maybe you can talk to the other neighbors and if they also hear the noise, ask them to file a complaint too.

 

From the sound of the noise, there could be a mechanical problem causing the sound to resonate the walls. If that is the case, acoustical panels on the ceiling and walls might help. Do you know what solution the technician is proposing? Is there a way to fix it internally?

 

Or the vibrations are being transmitted through the base, walls  and piping (conduits). We had a problem of vibration in a commercial building where a machine on the 2nd floor was causing vibration noise to the tennants below. The solution was to raise the machine (with hydraulic jacks)  and place foam absorbers underneath that were designed for sound/vibration isolation. 

 

 

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MurrietaSteve
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-23-2011
0

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

Your links don't work.
Silver Super Contributor
Bruin99
Posts: 1,331
Registered: ‎06-25-2009

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

[ Edited ]

It makes no sense that because it only affects you that they would not take care of it.  Just like if there was a hole in the roof, but it was only above your unit.  The roof is their responsibility, the elevator is their responsibility.  Last, given that it is a 1200 unit building, a $1500 expense shouldn't be a massive hit.

 

My course of action would be:

 

1.  Politely request that next time there is an HOA meeting, that the HOA board meet in your unit so that they can witness the disturbance first hand. At least that one or more of the board members come and witness it.

 

2.  Ask them why they feel it is not their responsibility to take care of.

 

3.  Get #2 in writing.

 

4.  If they refuse to give you #2 in writing, write them a certified return receipt letter requesting the letter in writing.

 

5.  (optional) If they still refuse to, pay for it yourself.  (EDIT - don't do this, see post below)

 

6.  (optional) You can take the HOA to small claims court, prior to, or after paying for it yourself.  Just use the estimate given by the elevator technician.

Platinum Super Contributor
Nanomug
Posts: 10,373
Registered: ‎05-30-2009
0

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

Get other people to complain?

Silver Trusted Contributor
Rebeccah
Posts: 841
Registered: ‎09-08-2008
0

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

According to OP, the HOA has refused to let him even see the proposed fix.  Seems a bit odd to me.  But I don't live in a condo, I don't have a good feel for what motivates a HOA in such a situation.

 

Rebeccah

 

Gold Regular Contributor
Andiamo53
Posts: 2,084
Registered: ‎07-12-2010
0

Re: Purchased condo conversion - Dealing with elevator noise into our unit. Any advice?

[ Edited ]

Guinness--you need to figure out if the problem in fixable. If that means hiring your own elevator expert then by all means do so. If the problem is fixable, you need to compel someone to fix it. It seems to me that the HOA would be the responsible party. In any case, there must be some agreement somewhere between you and the HOA that spells these things out. If the the HOA refuses to fix the problem then you might have to sue them. If the noise can be fixed for under $5000, you can sue them in small claims court. If it's over that, you need to file a civil claim.

 

As far as suing the developer, I think the HOA would have to do that after you sued the HOA (not a 100% sure though). Again your purchase agreement with the developer would have provisions concerning future problems, warranties, etc.,  and also probably a statute of llimitations (i.e. a time limit) in which you, as an individual, could sue the developer directly.

 

I think you seriously need to think about getting some legal help. Unless the noise is relatively cheap to fix you are talking about complicated contractual, construction defect, and multi-party agency issues that only a real estate lawyer who  SPECIFICALLLY deals with condo problems could help you solve.  You may have all sorts of remedies that people on this board would never think of so I highly reccommend you get competant advice. A one hour consultation with a lawyer should not cost you more than $300 or so.