Unreasonable noise can, depending on the circumstances, amount to nuisance. In law, a party that causes a nuisance, can be liable for somewhat nominal (depending on the circumstances) damages.
The case of Chen v The Owners, Strata Plan NW 2265, 2017 BCCRT 113, was a dispute as to whether the common property hot tub, in an condo-type strata, caused a nuisance to the owner who lived in the unit directly above the hot tub room.
The relevant facts were:
- The owner was aware that the unit was directly above the hot tub when she purchased it;
- The hot tub jets and pump noise were loud enough that the owner could hear them at all times of day and night;
- The strata council conducted progressive maintenance on the hot tub and jets to reduce the noise;
- The strata hired several noise experts to determine whether the noise from the hot tub was unreasonable in the owner’s unit, which experts also provided recommendations on how to reduce that noise; and
- The strata council followed, most of, but not all, the recommendations.
After all the investigations and repairs, the owner still complained that the noise prevented her from enjoying her unit and prevented her from sleeping properly. The CRT then had to determine whether the strata council had acted reasonably and reasonably prompt in its efforts.