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Question DetailsAsked on 6/1/2011

Can I get out of my apartment lease due to shoddy construction?

My wife and I move into an apartment about four months ago. The complex is brand new. Everthing was going fine until people moved in above us. The walking around is extremely loud. I've lived in apartments before and this is especially bad. The property manager said corporate was in town to check out the infrastructure b/c several people have been complaining. I found out the original builder ran out of money and investors bought the cheap units. There is no concrete between the floors. All we have is plywood. We asked to break our lease and they won't allow it. Rather, they offered to move us into a smaller unit without anyone above it or asked us to wait until they put padding under the upstairs carpet next week. Does anyone know if there is any type of legal action I can take? The way these are built is wrong. I hate to see others experience the nightmare we are living. I'm not one to normally complain, but the situation is bad.

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4 Answers


I am an attorney but these laws vary by state -- I would say if it doesn't get fixed -- i.e. upstairs folks put carpet down or insullation is blown in properly between two floors -- if not fixed in a few weeks, you have a few choices: 1) buy and put up corkboard on your ceiling, then sue the landlord and/or builder to get paid back (it should be small claims case, I would think, unless it costs a gazzilion bucksZ-- 2) never mind what they say about breaking lease, just start looking, and leave! there may be a state statute to allow you to get security deposit back even when you break lease -- or 3) try the cheap, friendly approach and go talk to the people upstairs or invite them to dinner, buy a few used cheap throw rugs and GIVE them to the folks

good luck

Answered 9 years ago by msrevjd


A good solution will cost thousands and much more than you or the property owner or occupants above are willing to spend. Your best option would be to evacuate. Carpeting and foam insulation will not work. I installed an acoustical tile suspended ceiling below a room that is clad with wall to wall carpet on foam insulation. You can still hear footsteps above. I have researched this problem and found that the prognosis for most situations is gloomy for wood framed structures.

Answered 9 years ago by aceinspector


yes but depending on your state, give your landlord written notice and the timeframe to fix the repairs.


Answered 8 years ago by RentalLease


Can't say I agree with AceInspector - a lot of people say there is no practical way to stop noise problems in wood floored buildings, and that is just not true, and if done right at time of construction it commonly only involves less than a 10% increase in the cost of the floor or wall itself - not of the entire apartment or condo building. There are millions of apartments in wood frame housing that have no such problem - or at least only so infrequent that it is not generally objectionable. Of course, if you are real sensitive to such sounds, then top-floor living is for you, because thumps and bumps and high heel clicking transmit through concrete too.

A decently thick carpet pad under the flooring should solve your problem unless you are very picky, though would not do anything under unpadded wood, tile or laminate flooring. Realize there is bound to be a bit of neighbor noise - though more commonly it is for noise through the walls that you get your complaints.

I would wait for them to install the padding next week and see what happens, trying to be fair minded, not presuming it will fail. Obviously management has heard and is responsing to the complaints - give them a chance, otherwise unless they voluntarily let you out of your lease without penalty (and I can't see them doing that until at least they see how the padding works), at this time (until the padding is in for a week or more) I can't see any reasonable court (yeah, I know, an oxymoron these days) granting you a win in your case. You have complained, they are doing something about it in (presumably - not knowing how long it has been since you registered a serious complaint with the management) a timely fashion, but if you don't give their remedy a chance to be installed you have little footing to stand on. And making a fuss before the fix is tested could end up getting your name on a "troublesome" renters black list, making it harder to find a replacement place that you like.

On the "concrete between floors" thing - there are steel framed buildings generally with concrete floors, concrete or brick framed building with concrete floors, steel and concrete (sometimes combined with brick) framed buildings with wood flooring, and brick or wood-framed building with wood floors. I would guess off the top of my head about three quarters or more of apartment building are wood floored, so concrete flooring is not "better" bonstruction, not is wood framing with plywood over the floor joists "shoddy construction" as such - though in an apartment building all connecting ceilings/floors and walls should have been insulated, and it would be nice but is rare to put in sound-absorbing strip where the ceiling contacts the floor joists.

Some condos and a few apartment building ban hard flooring in apartments with a unit below them, or only allow it with padding under it or over non-sleeping rooms, but that obviously has to be established by the owners or condo association BEFORE a person moves in.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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