Madonna Makes Lousy Neighbor


Who would be crazy enough to threaten The Material Mom? Answer: Madonna's Manhattan neighbor Karen George.

George isn't too happy with the noises under the floor and filed a suit on Friday against the building's management company. According to the suit, Madge has been training in her 7th floor apartment for one to three hours a day to "unreasonably high decibel, amplified music, causing noise and vibration to pour through the walls, ceilings and radiators." C'mon Karen, how else is Ms. M going to keep that killer 50-year-old body?

The noise violation, however, is no joke. George first complained in 2008 - Madonna moved into the building after divorcing Guy Ritchie. A year of complaints later and the board has reportedly threatened to evict Madonna if the problem isn't resolved.

No one wants to deal with noise problems, so what's the best way to handle noisy neighbors?
First: Avoid the Problem

When you're apartment-hunting look closely. Does the apartment have walls made of plaster or paper-thin drywall? If it's an old building it may not have noise-proofing material between the floors. Ask if it's been sound-proofed. Does it have hard-wood or wall-to-wall carpet? If there's no soundproofing material carpet can help but it may not be good enough. Before renting, Peoples-Law.org suggests visiting a complex on the weekend to ask tenants how well the building is sound proofed and how responsive the landlord is with dealing with noise complaints. Also if you are sensitive to noise look for a top-floor apartment and if you have kids, look for a ground floor pad.

Here are some more tips from our post about using furnishings to reduce the noise level in your apartment.

Second: File a Complaint
Assuming you've already politely asked the noisemakers to keep it down, the next order of business is to file a written complaint to the landlord or management company. Be specific describing the noise, duration and where it's coming from. Ask your neighbors if they're bothered, too. With more allies on your side, the complaint goes beyond squabbling neighbors to a real issue.

Third: Document the Noise
According to Nolo.com, most cities have a noise-level law prohibiting noise above a certain decibel for a prolonged period. Check your city's law then measure the noise. You might be able to find a meter at an electronics store, or have the police or a city noise agency measure it. If the noise exceeds the legal level talk to the landlord again and show them the ordinance.

Forth: Get Legal
If nothing is working, the landlord is unresponsive and the tenants are still tap-dancing you crazy, you've got two choices: move or sue. You can try staying in your apartment and suing the landlord for a "breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment." Or if you're really going batty, move and sue for "constructive eviction." Either way, get some legal advice for your circumstance first. You don't want to get stuck paying the remainder of your lease if you've moved and you don't want to waste a bunch of money suing if you're going to lose.

And most of all you don't want to end up suing a celebrity neighbor who could crush you with one call to her lawyer. Right Karen George?

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