B.C. strata owner’s noise logs presented as evidence in floor noise dispute

A downstairs neighbour’s three-year-long noise logs were presented to the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal in a dispute about a strata council demanding the upstairs owner install carpet.

Partially based on that evidence, the tribunal found the strata was entitled to require upstairs owner Ahmed Shafey to remove his hard floor.

“I find the strata reasonably believed the noise… was caused or increased by the hard flooring,” tribunal member Sherelle Goodwin said.

The strata said it’s authorized to demand the change under its bylaws, and based it on noise complaints from the strata lot below Shafey’s.

“It says Mr. Shafey should have known of the noise complaints prior to purchasing his apartment, based on the strata council’s meeting minutes,” Goodwin’s March 28 decision said.

The strata had demanded he change his unit’s flooring to carpet.

In April 2005, the strata allowed the previous owner to install laminate flooring. Shafey bought the unit with hard flooring in March 2021. By May, Shafey was the subject of noise complaints.

Shafey said the demand is unfair as the strata previously authorized the flooring installation, has not given him the opportunity to explore alternate solutions, and carpet aggravates his allergies.

Shafey asked the tribunal for an order that the strata stop demanding he change his floors.

The tribunal decision notes the previous owner had been fined after noise complaints from the downstairs neighbour. The strata decided to request a change to carpet and had told the previous owner just that.

“The strata decided to grant Mr. Shafey a grace period before fining him and enforcing its previous decision demanding that [the strata lot owner] replace its flooring with carpet,” Goodwin said.

She said while she accepts carpet may be detrimental of Shafey’s allergies,  she found Shafey “failed to prove that removing his hard flooring would be oppressive, burdensome or harsh.”

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