Does Law Limit Laundry Room Noise at Night?


QUESTION: I have lived in a 58-unit apartment building in Los Angeles for the last 10 years. My apartment is on the second floor, right above the laundry room.

My question is about the legal hours of operation of the laundry room. There are no posted hours, so some tenants use it between midnight and 6 a.m. That keeps me up at night, particularly in the summer when the windows are open.

I have asked the manager about limiting the hours, but he is unwilling to do anything. He says that if it's too unbearable for me, I should move. I don't think that's fair.

What are the legal hours of use for laundry rooms? What action is available to me?

ANSWER: There is no law governing the hours of operation of laundry rooms in apartment buildings. Owners or managers usually set those standards. There are, however, other alternatives.

The Los Angeles Police Department's Noise Enforcement Division can be reached by phone at (213) 893-8123. Whether the division can help depends on how loud the machinery is.

According to a representative, the division might check it out if the machinery is too loud. How loud is too loud?

That depends upon how much louder the laundry room noise is than the noise level of the neighborhood, which can be determined by an investigating officer. If the noise is too loud the officer will cite the owner to correct the situation.

Otherwise, soundproofing would seem to be your only other option, other than relocating. The owner may be willing to help fund this undertaking if he will allow it. Check with him before you do anything as alterations to the unit without the owner's permission are probably prohibited in your lease or rental agreement.

Renter May Need to Repair Porcelain Sink

Q: My husband and I lease a lovely apartment in Irvine and we have a problem. Recently, I noticed a dime-sized chip in the porcelain in my guest bathroom sink.

The bathroom is seldom used. Neither my husband nor I remember damaging the sink and we seldom have visitors to the apartment who may have used the sink.

I'm afraid the landlord will want to replace the sink and charge me a lot of money for it. How can we convince him that this was not our fault?

A: I am assuming that the sink was not chipped when you moved into the apartment. You can easily verify that if the owner used a dwelling checklist that noted the condition of the unit and its furnishings when you moved into it.

At that time, you should have gone on a "walk-through" inspection with the owner. The checklist form lists virtually everything in a unit, including sinks, and has blank spaces in which you note the original (move-in) and final (move-out) condition of the unit and its contents.

If you have the checklist, and it notes the damage to the sink, convincing the owner that you are not at fault is easy. Absent the form, it may be difficult to convince the owner that you are not at fault. Since you don't remember chipping the sink, it's possible one of your guests did so. Unfortunately, even if one of your guests chipped the sink without your knowledge, you are still responsible for its repair because you are responsible for damages.

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