WestCon Tribune: Hardwood Floors and Homeowner Associations

Many homeowners like the look and feel of hardwood floors. What they don't realize is that their new floor create additional vibration and noise in the unit below. Many homeowner associations have begun to protect against this problem by amending their CC to prohibit a change in flooring without prior approval. By including the types of flooring within the rubric of architectural control, a board can protect adjoining homeowners from noise caused by flooring not installed with sufficient noise dampening materials.

Failing to control the types of floors installed in CIDs can result in a painful lesson. In one recent case a homeowner sued his upstairs neighbor and his association's board of directors because of an allegedly unreasonable amount of noise created by his neighbor's new hardwood floors. The board had approved the installation of the floors without investigating the potential for affecting the downstairs neighbor's quiet enjoyment of his property. The homeowner successfully proved that the hardwood floors created an unreasonable amount of noise and that the homeowners association was partially to blame for approving the installation. After a three week jury trial, the homeowner was awarded $162,000. The jury determined that the homeowner association's board of directors was responsible for two-thirds of the recovery.

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