Question: Our neighbors are remodeling their condo while they are out of town. Their contractors are rude, loud and messy, and we have smelled a strong odor from the paint fumes. They seem to work at all hours. I don’t want to be a bad neighbor, but it is getting overwhelming. What can we do? – Wendy
Answer: It is never wholly smooth when a neighbor is having work done to their home. At best, it is a minor nuisance and, at worst, a nightmare. While your neighbor has the right to remodel their home, it must happen in a way that minimizes the disruption to those around them.
Your first step is to bring this to the attention of your out-of-town neighbors. Call their cell or send an email if you have that information. Most people want to do the right thing, and since they are out of town, it is likely they do not know what is going on. If this is not possible or does not work, your next step would be to report the problem to the property manager.
In my experience, most property managers will take steps to enforce contractor time restrictions and will call out workers who make a mess. The manager will first try to educate the contractor on the community rules. If that does not produce results, your community should hold the owner responsible for their contractor’s carelessness. While it can be easy for your neighbor to blow off your concerns, few will ignore fines caused by their contractor.
If the problem continues, or your property manager refuses to take action, you will need to seek help from the legal system. Everyone has the right to enjoy their home, and you can request an injunction and compensation from the courts to stop the problem. The lawsuit can be based on privately enforcing your condo’s rules, or by suing for the “nuisance” caused by your neighbor.
About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation.
© 2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.