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Ask Asad Rahman Your Own Question
Asad Rahman
Asad Rahman, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2136
Experience:  Practicing Attorney with 10 years experience
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I live in San Francisco. I have lived in a rent-controlled

Customer Question

I live in San Francisco. I have lived in a rent-controlled apartment for 31 years. I turn 67 in 5 months. On February 22, 2016, the restaurant below my apartment started up its fan ventilation system with a vengeance such that the noise from the fan reverberates in my apartment bedroom 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Public Health Department came out today to do an inspection and stated the decibel level -- during the day -- is acceptable (no more than 55 decibels), and though the decibel level for the evening after 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. is no more than 45 decibels, and the fan is noisier in the nighttime than in the daytime, the Public Health Department does not come out at night to check the decibel level for infringement of the noise limits.
If I try to call the San Francisco Police Department, a noise complaint is put on the lowest priority list. I can wait up to 6 hours for a response. I waited two hours today for a response from the police, but my call was still "pending" when I checked back in. At night, I cannot stay up for a policeman who might show up at 4 a.m. to answer my complaint -- when the restaurant has already closed for the day.
My landlord, GreenTree Property Management, is new (since 1/15). I do not have a contract with this management firm, but I do pay rent and my rent was increased by 10 percent in February 2016. The restaurant that has the noisy fan does have a contract with GreenTree Property Management. It only began operations on February 1. From February 1 until March 22nd, I had no problem with the restaurant or any noise.
I wrote a letter of complaint to the owner of the restaurant. It was ignored. I sent a copy of the letter of complaint to my building manager and the landlord, but both copies of the letter were ignored. I emailed my building manager that I cannot sleep in my bedroom because the noise from the fan is too invasive and that I have to sleep on the floor in the hallway. She responded, "I'm 100 percent working to find a solution." I've been waiting for a definite solution for more than a month.
Two years ago, another restaurant below me, caused me a great deal of grief because for the first 6 months, its fan was very noisy and then when the owner decided on his own -- after we went to mediation in July 2014 through the Rent Board in San Francisco, which ended up with no remediation for me of my noise complaint with the restaurant -- on his own, as I say, the owner changed the fan's position so it wouldn't bother me any more , but . . . days afterwards, the restaurant began playing very loud pop music all day and all night 7 days a week.
I called the police 300 times, and 300 times I got no solution whatsoever. I complained to the new landlord about this noise, and the building manager at that time from GreenTree Property Management said he investigated my complaint and informed me he heard no music playing at all any time he investigated; thus, he could not help me. The former restaurant owner did not have a contract with the new landlord either, but he paid his rent and kept up his business until it failed by January 2016.
I was very happy when the restaurant went out of business after 2 years, because the whole two years was a battle with noise for me. In the middle of January through February of 2016, I found genuine peace and quiet again, like I had had for the 29 or so years I've lived here previously, but that temporary respite from noise ended when the new restaurant owner made his fan operate at a louder speed or in a position that creates a lot of noise for me.
I talked with the new owner on three different occasions. With each new encounter, the owner became increasingly hostile towards me. On my third encounter with him, the fan had not begun to be loud, but he and his employees were "partying" at 3 a.m on a Saturday morning in early March and their loud Arab voices disturbed my sleep for almost two full hours prior. I went downstairs in slippers and bed hair to tell him his and his employees' voices were too loud and were disturbing my peace and quiet. His response was, "Get out of my restaurant -- now!"
So now he has ignored my written letter of complaint and has made no adjustments to the fan so that I might enjoy my peace and quiet. In July of 2014, when I was in mediation with the previous restaurant owner over his noisy fan, the Administrative Judge at the mediation told me that noise is very subjective and that I had no real proof that the owner was creating a nuisance -- even though I brought in pictures showing how the ventilation system was installed directly outside my bedroom and kitchen windows. Since the City approved of the decibel level of the fan, it was not creating "noise." The Administrative Judge went on to say that I might pursue rent reduction, but at best I'd receive only a $5 discount. What can I do to seek relief from noise? Can I sue the landlord or the restaurant?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can't seem to do what's required to log in and the website isn't helpful in helping me log in. I don't know what my old password ***** ***** in order to get a new one I have to type in my old one. How stupid! If you don't remember, you're screwed, and I can't get an answer if I haven't logged in. This is super-stressful and unnecessary.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.
I am so sorry to hear this. Yes, you could pursue a claim against the landlord and possibly the restaurant for disturbing your quiet enjoyment of the premises. It seems you have exhausted all administrative remedies so an actual court order may be the only way to get this addressed. At the very least, perhaps it can be a basis to have you released from the lease itself so you can move elsewhere.If you like we can talk on the phone for an additional charge.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not sure how this website operates. I couldn't log in because it recognized my email address but it wanted an old password ***** didn't have, and I couldn't change the password ***** it wanted my old password ***** I didn't remember. And when I tried to request a change in my password, it sent me an email asking me to pay $64 for a trial membership when I already spent $64 on just one question, and that email link led me nowhere. This is an insane system.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry to hear that. Contact customer service and they should be able to help you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is no customer at this hour. I tried that. By the way, thank you for your response. I failed to state that earlier. I knew I was out of luck and could only pursue some kind of legal action against the noisemaker or the landlord on my ow, but how am I supposed to decide whether it's worthwhile to have a phone call with you, which I think I would like, when I can't even know how much I'd be charged and this website isn't operating in any way I can understand since there's no live customer service and, besides your own thoughtful response, all I get is an automated email asking me if I'd like to pay more money for a free trial.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.
We can reconvene tomorrow once customer service is available to resolve your account issues.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you I ask for you, Asad Rahman? When? How? I don't even understand how I've managed thus far to get all your answers online when I haven't even logged in like I was asked to. This is bizarre.
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.
Just reply to this thread. It operates through your email usually.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. I am in my email, though it's attached to the website that I haven't logged into. It's 10:40 PM Pacific Coast. There's no special time to reach you? Or is there?
Expert:  Asad Rahman replied 1 year ago.
I'm in the Central time zone and usually am available after 10am central. It sends me an email when you respond so I will try to respond if I am able to talk then.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay. Thank you, Asad.