Noises “Incidental to Normal Occupancy” Not a Private Nuisance

noise signAh, apartment living.  Efficiency, environmental friendliness, and – of course – loud neighbors.  (I came home today to find this note by my building’s entrance; since my apartment is on the 3rd floor and on the building’s west side, I’m fairly certain it isn’t referring to me.)

In Brown v. Blennerhasset Corp., the Appellate Division, First Department held that the trial court properly granted the Tayoun defendants’ motion dismissing plaintiff’s claim for private nuisance as against them.

It held:

Even when viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to plaintiff, her own expert opined that the Tayoun defendants’ heavy walking “is not going to be stopped by a simple carpet or pad” because such frequencies “penetrate right through a carpet and pad,” and are attributable to the structure of the building itself.

Contrary to plaintiff’s argument, Supreme Court did not draw an arbitrary distinction between mechanical noise and noise made by people, but properly found, as a matter of law, that the Tayouns’ conduct, which allegedly caused plaintiff’s interference, was, as a matter of law, not substantial or unreasonable because it was premised upon noises that are incidental to normal occupancy, including heavy footsteps, snoring, and using a dishwasher.

It also held that the trial court properly granted plaintiff’s cross motion allowing service of an amended complaint asserting a claim for breach of the implied warranty of habitability against defendant Blennerhasset Corporation under Real Property Law § 235-b:

The proposed amended complaint adequately alleges that Blennerhasset deprived plaintiff of her right to quietly enjoy her apartment by failing to take effective steps to abate allegedly excessive noise emanating from the neighboring Tayoun defendants’ apartment. Further, because that claim is premised upon the very same subject matter alleged by the original complaint, Blennerhasset will not suffer any prejudice.

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