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Noise and Vibrations

Welcome to the CAO’s guided steps to common issues. The CAO provides the information, tools, and templates on these pages to help condominium communities better understand issues and work together to resolve them collaboratively before they escalate into disputes. For situations where condo communities are unable to resolve their issues collaboratively, the CAO also provides information on the next steps they can take.

If you have any questions about any of the information on the CAO’s guided steps to common issues, please contact us directly.

Noise and Vibrations

Noises or vibrations are among the most common issues in condo communities. If you live in a condo, you’re probably going to hear sounds or feel vibrations coming from other units or the common elements.

Unwanted noise or vibrations are usually caused by someone else’s behaviour or the design or construction of the condominium

Examples of common noise or vibration issues include

Noises or vibrations are among the most common issues in condo communities. If you live in a condo, you’re probably going to hear sounds or feel vibrations coming from other units or the common elements.

Unwanted noise or vibrations are usually caused by someone else’s behaviour or the design or construction of the condominium

Examples of common noise or vibration issues include:

  • Noises caused by neighbors or from neighbouring units, including shouting or yelling, loud television or music.
  • Noises or vibrations caused by the operation of common elements, including elevators, garbage chutes, or HVAC or plumbing systems.
  • Vibrations emanating from another unit, including bass from speakers, power tools, moving furniture, or heavy walking.

If you think your noise or vibration issue may be caused by another owner’s or occupant’s pet, you may be dealing with a Pets and Animals issue.

Have a Question?

If you have a question about any of the information you’ve read, please contact us. We have a team available to answer any questions you may have.
How do my condo corporation’s governing documents apply?

Because living in a condo often means living close to your neighbours, many condo corporations have provisions in their governing documents (i.e. its declaration, by-laws, and rules) to prevent unwanted noise. These provisions would most likely be found in the corporation’s declaration or rules, though they may also be found in the by-laws.

Under section 58 of the Condominium Act, 1998 (the Condo Act), condo corporations can adopt rules to:

  • Promote the safety, security, or welfare of the owners and of the property.
  • Prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units or common elements of the corporation.

Also, condo corporations will often have rules that:

  • Prohibit the creation of noises or vibrations at certain times (e.g. a requirement that all owners/occupants be quiet after 11:00 p.m.).
  • Prohibit certain activities that are likely to cause noises or vibrations (e.g. no large gatherings in units, or restrictions on moving furniture or working on renovations after a certain time).

If you are experiencing a noise or vibration issue, you may want to first review your condo corporation’s governing documents for any noise-related provisions or obligations.

A condo corporation’s governing documents are required to be consistent with the Condo Act. In addition, a condo corporation’s by-laws and rules must be consistent with the declaration and must be reasonable.

For an overview of declarations, by-laws and rules, visit our website.

Don’t have a copy of your condo corporation’s declaration, by-laws or rules?

You can request a copy from your condo corporation using the mandatory Request for Records form, available on our website.

How does the Condo Act apply?

Under subsection 119 (1) of the Condo Act, if your condo corporation’s governing documents deal with noises or vibrations, everyone is required to follow them.

Under the Condo Act, owners and condo corporations are also required to maintain and repair their respective portions of the condo. Most commonly, condo corporations
are responsible for the common elements of the condo, while owners are responsible for their units and the common elements that they have exclusive use over.

Over a prolonged period, excessive or constant noise or vibrations could impact on individual’s overall health or enjoyment of their unit. Therefore, it is important for you to notify your condo corporation immediately if you notice that noise or vibrations are an issue in a unit or common elements.

If a noise or vibration issue does occur, it may need to be addressed immediately. Section 117 of the Condo Act prohibits anyone from allowing or causing any condition to exist, or carry on with any activity in a unit or in the common elements, that are likely to damage the property, or to injure someone.

Furthermore, under section 17 (3) of the Condo Act condo corporations are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that everyone complies with the Condo Act and the condo corporation’s governing documents.

Therefore, if your condo corporation is aware of a noise or vibration issue that violates the corporation’s governing documents, they are legally required to take action to address it. For this reason, it is important for you to notify your condo corporation if you have a noise or vibration issue.

 Other Legal Considerations

While condo corporations are required to ensure that everyone complies with the Condo Act and with the condo corporation’s governing documents, they may not be able to control what happens outside of the condo corporation’s property or physical boundaries.

For example, your condo corporation may not be able to address issues like:

  • Noises coming from other buildings;
  • Noises caused by traffic on nearby streets; or
  • Vibrations caused by nearby construction.

Depending on the type of issue you’re experiencing, you may also wish to review your municipality’s by-laws, or contact the organization responsible for your municipality’s by-law enforcement. Municipalities frequently have by-laws that prohibit noises or other activities that may cause vibrations, especially in the evenings and on weekends.

Have a Question?

If you have a question about any of the information you’ve read, please contact us. We have a team available to answer any questions you may have.

How can I resolve a noise related issue?

We strongly recommend that you attempt all the steps below in sequence (where appropriate) before taking any further action.

Solutions for Owners >

Solutions for Condominium Boards & Managers >

Need more help?

Mediation and arbitration are effective ways to resolve disputes where the parties are unable to reach a resolution themselves. Mediation and arbitration are commonly used to help resolve difficult condo disputes and are sometimes called alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Under section 132 (4) of the Condominium Act, 1998, all condo corporations in the province are deemed to have a provision in their declaration which says that disputes regarding the declaration, by-laws or rules must be filed for mediation or arbitration. Your condo corporation may also have a by-law that establishes the procedure that must be followed in the event of a dispute.

If you have been asked to participate in a mediation or arbitration, you are likely legally required to participate.

If you want to try mediation or arbitration for an unresolved issue, you will need to find a mediator or arbitrator who can assist you. You can search for a mediator or arbitrator online and through organizations that provide ADR services, such as the ADR Institute of Ontario.

Mediation

Mediation is a process where a neutral facilitator tries to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable solution. Mediation is the preferred approach because it’s often less costly and it gives the parties an opportunity to collaborate on finding a solution that everyone is comfortable with.

Arbitration

If mediation fails, binding arbitration is the next step. Arbitration is a process where an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) conducts a hearing and makes a ruling on the issues in the dispute. The parties involved in the dispute bring evidence to this hearing and then the arbitrator makes a binding decision. There are some cases where an arbitration decision can successfully be appealed to court.

Further legal action

If you are considering legal action against a neighbour or your condo corporation, you may wish to talk to a lawyer or paralegal. It is recommended that you try mediation and/or arbitration before taking a dispute to court.

External resources

Noise and Vibrations

Helpful Resources

Owner to other Owners or Occupant Templates

First Letter to Owner
Second Letter to Owner
Third Letter to Owner

Owner to the Board of Directors Templates

First Letter to Condo Corp
Second Letter to Condo Corp

Board Directors to Owners Templates

First Letter to Owner