Exhaust Fans Made Apartment Too Noisy
LVT Number: #23946
DOB issued a violation notice to landlord for causing or permitting unreasonable noise between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. DOB's inspector took sound-level readings in a bedroom of tenant's apartment and found that the ambient level measured 35 decibels. Total and calculated source sound levels were 47 decibels. The noise came from a shaft inside a closet and the source of the noise was exhaust fans. Six of the building's 12 roof exhaust fans were located directly above tenant's penthouse apartment. At a hearing, landlord claimed that the exhaust fans were circulation devices and that the DOB cited the wrong code section in its violation notice. Landlord also claimed that tenant had removed insulation and opened a grille to vent a box in the bedroom closet that contained pumps to boost water pressure. The ALJ ruled against landlord and fined it $350 because landlord failed to prove that the exhaust fans caused unreasonable noise. Landlord appealed and lost. "Unreasonable noise" is defined in the Building Code as any excessive or unusually loud sound that disturbs the peace or comfort of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities, or injures or endangers health or damages property. Unreasonable noise includes any noise over 10 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. DOB properly cited the unreasonable noise section of the code in its violation notice. Landlord also failed to prove that tenant caused the elevated noise levels, which were excessive.
Rudd Realty Management: ECB App. No. 1101247 (2/16/12) [5-pg. doc.]