Can the board of directors issue a new condition spelling out the thickness of the required carpet or require cork floors with thickness requirements? What steps can we take to ensure enforcement? What are we legally allowed to do?”
“Although the house rules for the subject cooperative were not provided for our review, the board should determine whether they contain the following language typical of many cooperatives: “…the floors of each apartment must be covered with rugs or carpeting or equally effective noise-reducing material…” If this language is found in the bylaws, no change to the lease would be necessary since the language to be enforced already exists. While such language would be helpful, it may not be necessary since this proprietary lease, as most, contains language stating that the lessee/shareholder is prohibited from permitting unreasonable noises. Of course, the meaning of the term 'unreasonable' is subjective.
“Because the offending shareholder is alleging that the child has an allergic medical condition, the board may be required to extend a 'reasonable accommodation' to the shareholder under federal, state and/or city anti-discrimination laws. The accommodation would be to exempt the shareholder from the carpeting requirement. However, it would also be reasonable to require that 'an equally effective noise-reducing material' be installed. Cork would seem to be a reasonable substitute. The thickness of the cork should be adequate to provide an effective level of noise reduction.
“Sometimes, a letter from the co-op’s attorney will be adequate to get the parties to cooperate and compromise in reaching a solution. However, the attorney’s letter is not required and may not be sufficient to commence the more formal process of enforcing the terms of the proprietary lease. We prefer to have formal notices, the ones that are part of the enforcement process, come directly from the co-op board.”