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80% Carpet Rules

I have been a shareholder in a co-op in Sutton Place for almost 5 years. A year ago a new shareholder with a small child move in above me, and since then the noise has been a constant issue for me and my immediate neighbors. The house rules explicitly require apartments to be carpeted at least 80%, and their room above me is obviously not. (i went upstairs and took a glimpse of their living room)

I have complained to my board, called upstairs, and have done what I can to no avail. What are my options? Or, do I have any options for that matter?

Any input into this matter is appreciated.

Write a nice letter to the board. If you have done that, and a reasonable time frame as passed with no action speak to a lawyer.

is it possible this is still an open item. Have you had a dialoge with your building manager, managing agent and/or board?

Is this Sutton Place or Sutton Place South?

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80% floor covering is not unreasonable. If it was the lawyers would have been all over this one.

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The kid wheezing with asthma is not a good example. JPSuttonPlace is only complaining after the occurence of unreasonable noise. The upstairs unit owner is encroaching on his/her rights of privacy. The downstairs is entitled to a quiet apartment.

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The addition of astma into the upstairs apartment is so hypothetical that there's no answer I can provide. I'm in disbelief it's been injected into the equation actually.

nd no, they don't have the right to a "quiet" apartment. you know that

really? it's in most building's rules, the 80% carpet rule and rules regarding excess noise. After 10:00 is a definite NO.

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Assumes Facts not in evidence.

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YOu are arguing a hypothetical. What would your spouse say about that?

The 80% rule is in most prop. leases as well as rental leases. However, I've never heard of anyone successfully enforcing this rule. The board would have to agree to take on the expense of litigation if the uncarpeted apt owner refused to budge on the carpet rule. Not sure that most boards would take on that kind of expense for carpets alone. Anyone?

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Two scenarios.
1)The building levies fines and if the owner doesn't pay then puts up lien.
2) The downstairs unit owner sues the upstairs owner.

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You have a child with asthma
You know other people with asthma

I"ll give you those two points

But given these two points, is no basis for assuming the upstairs unit owner has children and children with asthma. Assuming this IS a hypoethical. Why not assume he has ghosts?

JP --- I had this exact problem a number of years back. Very irritating. I talked to the people, left polite notes, talked to management, etc. Nothing really helped until I took to walking up a flight and BANGING on their door when the kid-pounding went on for too long. This method actually worked.

The advantage of having the 80% rule is that it does not require the board to determine whether the upstairs neighbor is too noisy or the downstairs neighbor is too sensitive. It becomes an objective issue if the carpet is missing, and the issue is quickly determined without making a subjective judgment about the people involved.

The 80% carpet rule is typical of all standard co-op, condo, and even rental rules. Obvious goal is to provide noise insulation for their neighbors below. A general fact of being in the city, the transmission of sound from one apartment to another is sometimes difficult to predict, and what might sound like heavy stomping to the person living below may in fact be nothing more than the sounds of daily living. (with each person having different sensitivity to noise).

I'm not sure about your particular building, but most boards will respond to these issues by inspecting the actual unit to determine if the rules is being followed, and will require the carpet to be installed accordingly if not. A board that fails to respond on a timely manner, or multiple complains is derelict in its duty to look after the shareholders interests. That does not however, mean that the board is subject to legal action to compel it to enforce the rules.

Lastly, there are legal options such as suing the upstairs neighbor for creating a nuisance, or seek an abatement of maintenance charges from the board for "Breach of the Warranty of Habitability". Either way you choose, you will need proof. Oftentimes the issue will not be whether the upstairs shareholder has carpeting, but whether the noise is excessive enough to breach the warrant of habitability.

With all this said, and from my honest opinion, if the board cannot convince shareholders to take action on any matter, (including yours) the remedy is to seek the election of a more responsive board.

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the point about the 80% carpet negating a noise test makes sense.

Life is a bitch and then we die!

"doctors will all tell you that floor coverings are one of the worst possible things for asthma. many buildings will tell parents they don't care. noise reduction is more important than your child avoiding the ER. or long-term steroid use."

If the family with the allegedly asthmatic child can't be good neighbors, they should move to the suburbs.

NAPLES — Elaine Price had lived in her condo at The Fountains in Naples for nearly three decades — and everything was quiet until 2005.

That’s when upstairs neighbors Mirco and Gordana Coric ripped out the carpeting and installed laminate wood floors in their Charlemagne Boulevard condo in East Naples — all without the required prior written approval of the condominium association.

“When they told me I should just move to a nursing home, that did it,” 79-year-old Price said of the Corics’ response to her complaints. “It was an unbelievable insult.”

“I was so good to the little children and Mirco and his wife, but look what it got me,” Price said this month. “It sounded like a bowling alley.”

So Price sued in July 2006. And after a non-jury trial in Collier Circuit Court in October 2007, she lost. To make matters worse, the judge ordered her to pay the Corics’ legal fees — more than $8,000.

Since the original verdict, the Corics moved back to Sweden after their condo was foreclosed on, and the condominium association placed a lien on their condo for unpaid association fees at the 55-plus senior community off Rattlesnake Hammock Road near the Riviera Golf Club.

But in December, Price was vindicated.

The Second District Court of Appeal overturned the verdict, ruling that the judge abused her discretion by allowing a new defense the day of trial — the Corics obtained a retroactive approval by the condo board of directors just days earlier. The court also overturned a ruling requiring Price to pay the Corics’ legal fees, about $8,000.

Now, her attorney, Raymond Bass of Naples, will ask that the Corics be required to pay Price’s legal fees, including the costs of the appeal — nearly $20,000.

On March 17, Price returned to court for a hearing before the same judge to determine how the noise situation would be resolved.

Collier Circuit Judge Cynthia Pivacek heard arguments from Bass, who asked her to order the Corics to remove the flooring and reinstall the carpeting and padding. But the Corics’ attorney, Bradley Bryant of Naples, urged the judge to deny their request, pointing out that the board retroactively approved the floor and underlayment.

Bryant lost that argument, and Pivacek agreed Price’s peace and quiet must be restored.

“The court would require that the wood flooring be replaced with padding and carpeting or put sufficient padding and carpeting above the floor to be insulated,” Pivacek ruled before choosing the latter. “I’m going to pick the least intrusive, with the hopes that solves it.”

Afterward, Price was elated. She’d feared someone would buy the foreclosed condo and she’d be dealing with noise again.

“I took the broomstick and pounded on the ceiling, it sounded so loud,” Price said of her life after 2005, when she lived with footsteps and three children loudly running around overhead.

She only sued the Corics, not the homeowner association. “I didn’t want to have the board involved because they would have two attorneys against me,” she explained.

Bass called the Dec. 17 District Court of Appeal ruling precedent-setting. “The important thing about this case is it reinforces for other boards that they act as representatives of all the unit owners and everybody has to play by the rules,” Bass said.

Although lawsuits involving condominiums can be filed under various areas of the law, there is a section for just “condominium association cases.” Those in Collier County have dealt with everything from a homeowner association suing to evict a homeowner’s new live-in sex-offender boyfriend to noise complaints and even a lawsuit against an association president who wanted a water view, so he cut a hole and installed a window without approval.

After the March 17 hearing, the Corics’ attorney called their decision to install laminate floors only a “technical violation of the condo documents.”

“Mr. Coric went above and beyond what was required in the documents,” Bryant said. “He actually took the homeowner association president to Home Depot to pick the floors and floor underlayment to make sure the proper underlayment was installed.”

“He used foam and cork,” Bryant said. “It’s the best thing possible. ... How many people take the president of the homeowner association to the home improvement store to make sure it’s the best flooring and underlayment?”

Bass called it a violation of the homeowner documents, noting that there’s no real proof of what underlayment was installed. “I argued that the president had no more authority to ratify this than the groundskeeper,” Bass said.

County code requires foam, Bass said, and most associations require cork underlayment upstairs, so homeowners must choose the highest form of soundproofing.

“I’ve been on both sides of these cases and the documents are different for each condominium association,” Bass said. “Cases like this are awful because they’re so full of emotion. You’re dealing with someone’s home.”

aboutready - if your child has asthma, and you know this, do not move into a building that requires 80% carpeting. there is no rule in my coop's house rules stating that the parents of asthmatic children are exempt from following the house rules. plain and simple.


We rent a condominium apartment from its owner. Our upstairs neighbors have a small child who runs back and forth from 6 a.m. until well into the evening. What is the best way to approach this situation?

The first thing to do is to speak to the upstairs neighbors about the problem, said Luise Barrack, a Manhattan lawyer who represents landlords. If they are not receptive, the writer should complain to them in writing, she said.

In many co-ops and condos, Ms. Barrack said, unit owners are required to have coverings on 80 percent of the floors. If this requirement exists and is not being met, the owner may be in violation of the condominium’s house rules. In that case, the writer should ask his or her unit owner to notify the condo board and building management of the situation.

The writer could also ask the landlord for a rent reduction to compensate for the diminished value of the apartment.

JP Sutton Place - You might not want to hear this, but if I were you, I would move. Save yourself the grief, anger, frustration, etc. You will get nowhere. I'm not saying this to be negative or pessimistic, I am telling you this to try and be helpful. Do NOT get the Board involved, as it potentially could make it harder for you when you sell if it goes into the Board minutes.

Next aboutready will be lobbying for a ban on peanut butter in the building, because of an alleged peanut allergy.

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aboutready -live on the ground floor then. there are options.

"Do NOT get the Board involved, as it potentially could make it harder for you when you sell if it goes into the Board minutes."

Trust me. If you become a pain in the ass to the Board, the board will do everything to EXPEDITE the sale of your apartment.

NYC Matt - lol, good to know. i just meant that a potential buyer's attorney might find something in the minutes, and the buyer could walk away.

This seems to be an issue of entitlement, to
1) not follow the building rules
2) have a license to make noise and interfere with other units rights to enjoy their home

NYCMATTT is correct in this case. If your needs are unique, rather than burden neighbors with noise a private house is probably the answer.

"great. lovely. what wonderful public policy when so many families have at least one member with asthma. but i guess your quiet is more important than a kid going to the ER."

I'm calling bullshit on this.

I did a story on this years ago, and met several families with asthmatic children who have rugs throughout the home. The trick, I'm told, is:

-- only pure wool rugs

-- frequent vacuuming

-- using the most powerful vacuums on the market (Kirby or Filter Queen seem to be the favorites)

about ready - rules are rules. you're not entitled to break them. sorry. live on the ground floor if you are worried your child might disturb someone underneath you. you sign, and agree, to the house rules when you move in.

If you suffer from Allergies or Asthma cleaning your rugs and carpets on a regular basis is the best thing you can do. As Dr. Michael Berry says, “a clean home is a healthy home. Cleaning will remove fungi, bacteria, dust, pollen and other pollutants that can aggravate and trigger problems for Allergy and Asthma suffers.

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So much drama!
Reminds me of that hard-drinking film; bar fly lady turns to fellow bar fly: "I hate people."
Bar fly Mickey O'Rourke replies "Hate people? No. Not really. I just feel a lot better when none of them are around."

aboutready - you need to check yourself. NYCMatt is absolutely correct.

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JP: your problem is not easily solved. I'd do the bang-on-door method. It shuts them up for a few minutes. And if more than you is suffering this (as you've mentioned), have your neighbors join in on the effort.
Perhaps you might send a letter from your atty -------- just to cover your bases.


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aboutready - give me a break. please. i am thanking my lucky stars you are not my neighbor.

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Hey, can we stick to facts, everyone? I am curious to see what the solution would be if one did have noisy neighbors who may or may not have 80% carpeting.

1) most large buildings (co-op or not) have the 80% carpeting rule
2) most people (based on OHs and visits to people's homes) on the UWS do not have carpeting, particularly the younger set - older folks seem to like wall-to-wall
3) people have kids and many of these people seem to live in apts that don't conform to 80% rule and (I am guessing) live in 80% carpet required buildings
4) What if their kids were loud, what would be the remedy for their downstairs neighbors?

Based on life, reality, whatever - my guess is that not much can be done about loud kids in uncarpeted apts in co-ops. Hard to get a board to agree on an expensive proposition that may or may not pay back for one apt owner who may end up moving anyway, etc. You get the drift. So what does one do when the noise is really bad and the carpeting rule is not followed for any reason and the board doesn't respond? I don't know - just throwing it out there. Seems to me that the noise-making neighbor usually prevails.

Conversely, in a rental, I would think that the louder neighbor would be easier to get rid of. Unless, of course, the complainer were RS/RC and the louder one not...

"our daughter was really quite quiet among children."

Yeah. Every parent says that.

You people have NO idea how loud your "quite quiet" children really are when you're in the apartment below them.

"and matt, i've spent time in the hospital with an asthmatic kid. have you? have you spent time with doctors discussing how to control the problem?"


But if I did, and the doctor said "absolutely no rugs, no fabrics", and I knew this would be violating the house rules in the building in which I was living, I'd find a new living situation.

Do YOU get it now?

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"matt, maybe you can just get rid of kids in your coop as well? utopia here you come."

Or ... people can just follow the RULES so that everyone can live harmoniously.

Matt: would it really be that easy to get rid of a co-op owner who violated the carpeting rule (loud or not)? I think that your board (esp. if a small bldg) would be foolish to do that.

We actually had this issue arise in a unit in our building a couple years ago, although not involving children.

We have found that economic disincentives seem to work best. Meaning, we levy fines. Every month until they are back in compliance with the rules.

In my time on the board, it has never *not* worked.

The post about the ground floor apartment made a great deal of sense. Also the post about moving to a house. There are options. You seem to prefer the ones that affect your neighbors.

"harmonious living. a kid in the emergency room. according to avery, tough shit. live somewhere without the 80% rule. find it.

great public policy no?

and i made every effort to ensure that my daughter was quiet, almost to the point of being repressive. "stop it, if you don't quit they could make us put down carpeting, and then you wouldn't be able to breathe so well, unless we gave you growth inhibiting steroids that could cause huge problems in your future.""


Lady, if you cannot live in a close-quarters community like a city apartment building without disturbing the other community members, you cannot live there. PERIOD.

Noise is noise, whether it comes from a healthy kid or an asthmatic kid.


Clearly you don't want to live on a first floor apartment. There are first floor apartments. And pointing to a group of hypothetical frat kids, doesn't excuse your rudeness.

AR, I have asthma. That's why I made sure I can control my environment. If you have specific requirements for living, don't enter into boilerplate rental agreement. It's pretty basic really. If your child has severe asthma, why live in an old building?
My personal preference goes to prewar, but most have issues with roaches and plaster walls, so I live in newish construction, remodeled through the studs at my own personal cost, using materials and mechanicals that are helping me avoid asthma attacks.
I would be more sympathetic if you had no choices due to hardship, but you are expecting others to bear the burden of your own bad choices, so go fish.

I'm saying that people who chose to live in a multi-family dwelling need to respect the rules of the community. Period!

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"i did not find a single place (even much more expensive) that didn't have the 80% flooring rule."

Welcome to city living.

I have a cousin who likes to blast his stereo. Guess what? That kind of lifestyle doesn't work in a city, either. He has a house out in the country.

"this did NOT happen to us. but we had to worry about it. and you shouldn't have to worry about normal noise. the 80% rule does that to people in rentals."

So don't break the rules.

Honestly, I'm amazed you're not getting it yet.

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"i've been here for 20 years, SWEETS."

And apparently it's time for you to move on, dearie.

Rental agreement is just that a binding contract with terms. Signing it means you agree to it. What makes the monthly rent binding and not the promise to put up carpet?

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RS, when it comes to liberal entitlement, there is no talking to these people, particularly when it comes to their kids.

These are the same people who lobby for getting peanut butter out of the schools (based on junk science), outlawing toilets that use water, and incandescent light bulbs.

"honestly, matt, i don't know how you haven't yet experienced the joy of spending the night in the ER holding a child who can't breathe?"

Honestly, aboutready, I don't know how you haven't GOTTEN IT that in order to keep your child out of the ER, you have to move to a living situation that will allow you to live without carpets or fabrics.

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AR, that's a standard rental agreement, and a standard landlord response. The 80% rule helps them cover their hiney in case there are complaints. I have various triggers, mold, dust mites and certain pollens (sycamore is a killer), and of course any cold/cough has the potential to devolve. If your daughter's asthma is an ongoing issue, you should consider moving to newer construction or even out of Manhattan.

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I would love to hear the managing agent explain," Sorry that apartment above you is allowed to make noise. The child has asthma, Please show some compassion".

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"HONESTLY, matt, i don't think you realize that about 20% of all kids in NYC have asthma or serious allergies. just make sure they have to move to the burbs. just see what happens to your property values. "

Yet, most of them seem to be complying with the 80% rule.

And YOU'RE special because ... ??

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"gregmart, wow. blaming the parents? my kid didn't exist in a bubble. was hospitalized for asthma for the first time about 10 days after 9/11."

Oh here we go. Now she's invoked 9/11.

Let's see how long before she brings up the Holocaust.

epecially if they have asthma

"rs, you don't get it? the noise levels can be absolutely the same in terms of annoyance to another unit. but if you can't put down carpeting you can get kicked out. actually the noise can be virtually nonexistent, but if someone complains and you can't put down carpeting you can get kicked out."

The rule involves covering 80% of your floors with carpeting, period.

Whether or not there's noise is not the issue.

Smoking in a non-smoking building when no one complains is just as wrong.

Either follow the rules or leave.

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Of course she would never think of that.

Entitled liberals never think of anyone but themselves.

After this exhaustive argument, all I can say is I've never been happier to live on the top floor of my building.

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"they could get us kicked out because we don't have 80% covered floors."

That's right. Noise or no noise, you're breaking the rules.

"this isn't a problem in coops, so much, hard to get people kicked out."

LOL -- it's just as much of a problem in co-ops. And while it's harder to "kick people out", it's very easy for us as boards to levy hefty fines until the violation is corrected.

I'm just curious, if so many buildings have an 80% rule, then why do the vast majority of new buildings consist of entriely wood floors? They have virtually no carpet. All wood and tile. Why can you have no carpet in a new building, but you must have 80% in an older one??

Reason would lead one to think that it should be less of a problem to deal with noisy neighbors in coops, where people have a strong financial stake in their housing than in rentals - seems like it's upside down to have it easier to solve a noise problem in a rental than in a coop or condo.

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"Why can you have no carpet in a new building, but you must have 80% in an older one??"

Almost all of those new buildings require 80% covered floors, too.

It just makes sense to build apartments with hardwood floors so that tenants can cover the floors with whatever they choose, rather than having to rip up crappy carpet.


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