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How to Deal with the Noisy Neighbor Problem

Tenants with a valid lease are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property, whether their tenancies are rent regulated or "free market." If a neighbor's activities are a continual source of agitating amounts of noise for excessive periods of time, the landlord has an obligation to remedy the problem. You should make your complaint in writing, specifying the nature of the disturbance, times of occurrence, and duration. These situations become somewhat more complicated when you are renting in a co-op or condo. For example, in a rental unit the lease may require you to carpet 80% of the floor area. But let's say the neighbor above you has hardwood floors and no such lease provision. In that instance, your landlord may not be able to do anything about children running back and forth all day and creating a commotion. In this or any situation involving ongoing, unreasonable levels of noise, you can ask the landlord to reduce the rent due to the diminished value of the premises. You'll probably have to retain a Tenants' lawyer and sue to get that abatement. If you go to Housing Court, you'll be on the blacklist even if you win, so it may be better to move. Your attorney can help negotiate an early termination of the lease, which is sometimes the best option. 

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