Noise From Commercial Spaces and Construction

Larry Cragun at the Seattle PI Real Estate Professional blog asks What About Your Bundle Of Rights And Noise?

Oh, so you bought a condo in a mixed use project? You were the first one to buy. You asked the sales agent what was going in the shops on the main floor and received a vague answer. Since no lease was in place, it looked like a restaurant might be the right tenant. Humm, a nice restaurant might be nice.

So you buy and move in. Months later, indeed a restaurant becomes your new neighbor. Actually you become more than neighbors, it is like you have become roommates. You wanted the view and purchased the corner unit on the second floor. What a view. Oh, your new neighbor the restaurant, it caters to the young 20′s crowd.

This made me laugh because I’ve bought a second floor corner unit in a mixed use project above a vacant commercial space. Fortunately no tenant has moved in yet because our developer is asking above market rates to rent the space. However, I did read the public offering statement which said as a second floor tenant I may experience noise from the commercial unit downstairs. Of course people want their cake and to eat it too. That is they want to live downtown and be in the thick of things but want it quiet too. I hope whatever eventually moves downstairs is a late night noise and not an early morning noise so it’s at least in-sync with my schedule. And of course if I didn’t want to take the risk I should have bought re-sale so I could have quantified the noise situation before putting money down.

While we’re on the subject of noise, Elizabeth Rhodes recently had a Home Forums Extra question construction noise, Neighbor wants compensation for nearby construction disruption. And Elizabeth’s research says no compensation for you:

As for the issue of the noise and dust, Bellevue attorney Michael Rodgers of Rodgers Deutsch & Turner, says you have no grounds for compensation as long as the construction project has the required building permits.

I’ve actually found the city to be the worst offender for noise at 12th and Madison. They’ve worked through the night, started in the middle night and took much longer than they initially projected. Trace North for the most part has been very quiet compared to the city.

About Matt

Matt , Urbnlivn's publisher, has a love for lofts with industrial features and new construction condos that is only eclipsed by his passion for outdoor sports and urban living. Phrases such as “polished concrete” and “exposed brick” are music to his ears. You can also find Matt on Twitter or skiing.

  • lettegirl

    So, when I lived in a condo in Belltown a few years ago, the building going up next to us (the Parc, actually) often started earlier than the designated times times when I was trying to sleep.

    It took me a while to figure out that this wasn’t just only insanely annoying, but that it was also illegal.

    I called these people, who were very friendly and helpful and told me to call if it happened again so they could go to the construction site while they were working when they shouldn’t be working.

    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Enforcement/Noise_Abatement/Filing_a_Noise_Complaint/default.asp

    If these guys can catch a construction site in the act of violating designated hours, they can issue fines or even shut work down if they’re frequent offenders.

    After we reported a few of these early starts, the construction finally only started at the designated hours. Yay!

  • lettegirl

    So, when I lived in a condo in Belltown a few years ago, the building going up next to us (the Parc, actually) often started earlier than the designated times — times when I was trying to sleep.

    It took me a while to figure out that this wasn’t just only insanely annoying, but that it was also illegal.

    I called these people, who were very friendly and helpful and told me to call if it happened again so they could go to the construction site while they were working when they shouldn’t be working.

    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Enforcement/Noise_Abatement/Filing_a_Noise_Complaint/default.asp

    If these guys can catch a construction site in the act of violating designated hours, they can issue fines or even shut work down if they’re frequent offenders.

    After we reported a few of these early starts, the construction finally only started at the designated hours. Yay!

  • Mark W

    For non-smokers bothered by smoke, the noise may be only part of the equation when it comes to a downstairs restaurant or other gathering spot-type business. With smokers gathered on the sidewalks or taking advantage of outdoor seating if it’s provided, some buyers might want to avoid second floor units for that reason, too.

    If the downstairs neighbor is general retail, the occasional clerk’s cigarette break is much less of a concern for the second floor non-smoking resident.

  • Mark W

    For non-smokers bothered by smoke, the noise may be only part of the equation when it comes to a downstairs restaurant or other gathering spot-type business. With smokers gathered on the sidewalks or taking advantage of outdoor seating if it’s provided, some buyers might want to avoid second floor units for that reason, too.

    If the downstairs neighbor is general retail, the occasional clerk’s cigarette break is much less of a concern for the second floor non-smoking resident.

  • Rachel

    The Gun Club will be downstairs…and soon I expect. It will be nice, but like Mark W said, I expect there to be people hanging out on the sidewalk, smoking, right under the windows. There will also be increased foot traffic. I expect to notice it at first, then get used to it; like the sirens.

  • Rachel

    The Gun Club will be downstairs…and soon I expect. It will be nice, but like Mark W said, I expect there to be people hanging out on the sidewalk, smoking, right under the windows. There will also be increased foot traffic. I expect to notice it at first, then get used to it; like the sirens.

  • uptown

    This is why I prefer buildings that set the second floor back from the edge of the first floor, it blocks the noise from the sidewalk and the street. Gives you more privacy too.

  • uptown

    This is why I prefer buildings that set the second floor back from the edge of the first floor, it blocks the noise from the sidewalk and the street. Gives you more privacy too.