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Arulpiragasam v. Nguyen - 2023 ONCAT 174 - 2023-11-16

Corporation:

AN 174

Date:

Thu Nov 16 2023 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Under:

CAT Decisions - Decision
Noise

Summary:

In the case of Arulpiragasam v. Nguyen, a dispute over noise in a condominium, the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) issued a decision on November 16, 2023. The applicant complained about unreasonable noise from social gatherings at the respondent's unit, particularly amplified music and karaoke. The Tribunal found that while ordinary social noise is inevitable, amplified sound at high volumes constitutes unreasonable noise. The respondent was ordered to ensure that amplified music or karaoke is not played at unreasonable levels, especially in the backyard. The Tribunal also mandated the respondent to pay $150 to the applicant for Tribunal filing fees.

Verdict:

The Condominium Authority Tribunal found that the applicant had experienced unreasonable noise from social gatherings at the respondent's unit, particularly when amplified music or karaoke was played at loud volumes. The responsent was ordered to ensure that such activities are not conducted at unreasonable levels, especially in the backyard. The ruling underscores the importance of balancing neighbors' rights to socialize with the responsibility to minimize noise disturbances and suggests a potential role for condominium management in facilitating communication between neighbors in conflict. The Tribunal also ordered the respondent to pay $150 to the applicant, representing the Tribunal filing fees.

Takeaways:


Balancing Neighborly Considerations:
The decision emphasizes the need for neighbors to find a balance between their right to enjoy social gatherings and the responsibility to minimize noise disturbances. While acknowledging the inevitability of some noise in communal living, especially during social events, the ruling emphasizes the importance of considering the impact of amplified music or karaoke, ordering that such activities should not reach unreasonable levels.

Admissibility of Video Evidence:
The case touches upon the admissibility of video evidence in condominium disputes. The decision allows short videos submitted by the complainant, taken from his backyard, as evidence to document the noise issue. The ruling considers the context, purpose, and location of the video recording in determining its admissibility.

Role of Condominium Management:
The decision suggests a potential role for the condominium board or manager in facilitating communication between neighbors in conflict. The ruling hints at the importance of community management in addressing disputes and fostering understanding among residents to maintain a harmonious living environment.

Recommendations: 

Establish Clear Noise Guidelines:
Develop and distribute clear guidelines within the condominium community outlining acceptable noise levels and appropriate conduct during social gatherings. These guidelines should include specific provisions related to amplified music and karaoke, especially in shared spaces like backyards, to ensure a harmonious living environment.

Mediation or Communication Facilitation:
Encourage the condominium's board of directors or management to play a more active role in mediating conflicts between neighbors. Facilitate open communication channels where residents can express concerns and find mutually agreeable solutions. Mediation sessions can help neighbors understand each other's perspectives and work towards compromises on noise-related issues.

Educational Initiatives:
Implement educational programs or workshops for condominium residents on noise management and neighborly conduct. This could include information on soundproofing measures, the impact of noise on others, and strategies for balancing the right to socialize with the responsibility to minimize disturbances. Better-informed residents are more likely to take proactive measures to mitigate noise issues and foster a more considerate living environment.

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