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Zachary
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3818
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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My husband and I own a coop apt in NYC (Manhattan) and have

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My husband and I own a coop apt in NYC (Manhattan) and have lived here for over 25 years. Not once has there been a complaint.
The most recent people to live on one side of us, have started to complain about the noise from our bedroom at night, when we watch TV. We have a 65" wall mounted flat screen TV with surround sound. We've had this TV for several years now......about 5 years, I guess.

We want to continue to be good neighbors, but on the other hand, we don't want to have to comply with any unreasonable requests, since we have such a good time watching movies in our bedroom....getting sleepy....and falling asleep after the flick of a TV switch.

What would be the best way for us to procede.......addressing the TV problem with our neighbors. Are there specific coop rules about noise decibles? How would we measure noise decibels in our bedroom or any other rooms?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question.

NYC is a noisy place. The NYC noise code prohibits noise that is "unreasonable." It defines unreasonability in your situation as after 10 p.m., the noise is 7 decibels louder than the surrounding ambient noise from the point of the complaint. In other words, if after 10 pm your neighbor can show that the sound of your TV in their apartment is 7 decibels louder than the regular noise. If your neighbor makes a complaint to the City, they will come and measure the noise levels to see if you are violating the rules. If you are in violation, you could be fined.

So, you can refute the noise complaint by obtaining a noise reading from their apartment. If the noise coming from your apartment is less than the restricted amount, then they have no basis for a complaint.

It sounds to me that you have a very large television which is mounted on the wall. Flat screen televisions often project sound into walls, as the speakers are often located on the back of the TV. There are perhaps some preventative measures you can take by obtaining some directional speakers/bluetooth speakers that you could place closer to where you are viewing the TV and connecting them to your TV so as to reduce the noise projecting into the wall.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating does not cause an additional charge and will not prevent us from further working together on your questions.

Best Regards,
ZDN
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Our flat screen TV is not mounted on the shared wall with our neighbor. The only speakers we have are built-into the screen itself.


 


However, it's not worth it to have bad relationships with any neighbor.


 


I would like to find out the exact decibels, for various levels of TV volume, before we reply by mail to our neighbors. What I wanted to know was:


 


1) how to find out the exact decibels (what do I buy and where)


 


2) the wording of a short letter to our neighbor if we doend up being too loud......................and the wording, if we do not end up being too loud


 


3) do you recommend that we get the super of our building, involved in this issue?

Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. I'll address each issue one at a time:

1) how to find out the exact decibels (what do I buy and where)

A: You need to buy a decibel meter. This can be purchased at many retail consumer electronic shops (i.e., Radio Shack, etc). http://www.globalspec.com/local/275/NY

There are also aps that you can download onto your mobile device that will act as a decibel meter that are fairly accurate.

However, the catch is that you would need to take the reading from the inside of the neighbors apartment to know for certain whether or not there is a violation.

2) the wording of a short letter to our neighbor if we doend up being too loud......................and the wording, if we do not end up being too loud

A: Dear Neighbor,

We are writing regarding your noise complaints. The City of New York defines unreasonable noise as any sustained noise from a device which is 7 decibels above the ambient noise of the room. We have take the liberty of obtaining decibel readings from inside our apartment and outside our apartment to determine whether the noise of which you are complaining violates the City code. We have determined that it does not. Accordingly, we are not violating any of you rights. We ask that you respect our right to use our property in a legal manner and cease and desist all further complaints.

If there is a violation:

We are writing regarding your noise complaints. The City of New York defines unreasonable noise as any sustained noise from a device which is 7 decibels above the ambient noise of the room. We have take the liberty of obtaining decibel readings from inside our apartment and outside our apartment to determine whether the noise of which you are complaining violates the City code. We have determined that there is in fact a basis for your complaints. We are immediately taking steps to mitigate these aggravating factors and ask that you be patient with us as we make the necessary adjustments to correct this problem.

3) do you recommend that we get the super of our building, involved in this issue?

I think if you find that when you measure the decibels from a room adjacent to where the TV is and find that it is above the limit, you may contact your super and tell him/her about your concern and the issues you are having and ask for his/her help in correcting the problem and in taking a measurement from inside your neighbor's apartment.

The building does share in this matter in that it must maintain an adequate amount of wall insulation between apartments to allow for adequate usage. Thus, if the problem is that the wall between the apartments is deficient, then you may have a claim against the building.

Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3818
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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