Question:

Two families live in a duplex (two family home) and share a wall on the ground floor and first floor. Family A complains that Family B is noisy and wants to install soundproofing. 1) Can family A force family B to share costs of soundprrofing? 2) Family A says that in order to install soundproofing upstairs on their side of the wall it would be necessary to cut and move their cupboards to fit in a smaller space. They would like Family B to install soundproofing on their side of the wall. Family B is reluctant to do this because their bedroom is smaller and would be inpractical to live in if soundproofing was installed. Can one family force the other to house the soundproofing? Thanks

Answer:

According to Halacha, in most circumstances a person may not make noise in a residential area that will disturb the neighbours. However, normal household activities at acceptable hours are certainly allowed. If the neighbors are making unacceptable levels of noise, they are obliged to either stop immediately or to provide adequate noise-reducing insulation.

However, whether the noise level is indeed unacceptable or not is impossible to judge without investigation and hearing the other party’s viewpoint.

If the houses are built with inadequate insulation there may be room for a claim against the builder, but usually there will be no claim against the neighbors, unless the noise they are making is above and beyond the level of noise of regular household activities.

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