Cracking and squeaking sounds from above.
First of all I'd like to apologise for using English but if I want to be as clear as possible in my explanation and my Swedish would not be good enough.
So I am living in Sweden and bought an apartment this summer. On my first night there I noticed huge cracking and squeaking sounds from the apartment above. The building has a concrete structure and is from the 70', so you would normally expect impact sounds from neighbours around but not wood cracking sounds.
I contacted the board of the building and have been put in contact with the neighbours, this process took some time but in short what happened is: the board came to my apartment to notice the noises after what they asked the neighbours to do some fixing. Then they said they were done with the fixing and asked me to go to their apartment to see what has been done (at this point I was still hearing some cracking noises but less intense).
When I entered their place I could notice how squeaky the whole floor was, every step I was taking was making a squeaking noise that you would only hear in a very old house with a neglected wood floor. They showed me how the floor was built (previous previous owners installed it). Basically you have the wood planks that are screwed or glued on perpendicularly bigger wood structures, this wood structure is screwed into the concrete (here is a drawing I made: https://ibb.co/ry7XPcz), so the whole floor is floating over big screws and there is no isolation in between the concrete and the wood, just air. So as you can imagine, every vibration from footsteps or from the wood cracking is directly sent to my apartment and I can hear it very well.
So my neighbours screwed some wood planks to the bigger wood structure (around like 1sqm) and were pretty happy with it. I tried to explain that it is still cracking everywhere and the best was to act on the root of the problem, which is how the floor is installed, so I proposed to help them financially to put a new floor but they refused. So I talked again to the board trying to understand if this type of installation was normal, to me it seems abnormal to have a wood floor directly screwed to the concrete, it should normally be a isolation foam layer in between the concrete and the floor. But the board said that it doesn't seem so weird and they are not engineers so they don’t know.
That’s why now I am seeking help outside, as it seems no one really wants to do anything about it and I am the only one annoyed with this situation so I would like to know what the law says about it, are there any regulations regarding how a floor should be? For me the best scenario is that they change their floor with an isolation layer but I don’t want to pay for the whole thing, I’d rather sell my place than do that. It’s just that I usually don’t run from a problem, I try to fix.
Hi, by law you have to take care of your apartment (gott skick). This should be reflected in the bylaws.
By law you are also not allowed to disturb your neighbours (störning). So you should petition the board that they should demand that your upstairs neighbour fixes their floor so that it is done properly by code (fackmannamässigt). Ie he needs to make sure his floor is in "gott skick".
This is all based on that the squeaking noise is considered a "störning", (I doubt that but I'm not involved so it doesn't matter). And you need to prove that this is not the way you build floors. You need to find someone that can back your claim and submit that with your demand.
Send this to the board and they have to process it.
All this costs very little. If you don't get the response you seek claim that you will file a complaint with the environmental agency (miljöförvaltningen). That will force their hand and it will cost the brf around 10k.
If you have a "störnings jour" you could call them if you know there will be alot of disturbing noises for a while. At least you can file lots of reports but don't actually call anyone out to your apartment.
So this is might be a long process and you need to be patient for the board to act. They are probably as knowledgeable as you in these types of matter. But my advice is keep a nice tone, refer to the logic of the law and if that doesn't work keep adding threats to incur costs for the brf. Actually executing on the threats needs careful thoughts, it might just be better to move .
Hi! Thanks a lot for your reply, I really appreciate the help:) I wanted to answer before, sorry for that.
So from the board perspective they did what was fair, they asked the neighbours to fix the floor, which they said they did. But what they did is to screw the wood planks to the subfloor (on a surface of 1sqm). Which has lowered the noises in an insignificant amount, I still hear them a lot. The floor is still very squeaky and I can hear those noises everywhere, the root of the problem hasn’t been fixed.
Concerning the “störning”, I don’t think those noises are that strong, they prob don’t reach the 60db level required. But they are constant, irregular in the sound level and above all: not normal.
I contacted the Miljöförvaltningen, which redirected me to Stadsbyggnadsexpeditionen, and they said that this does not require a building permit so that’s not something that can be handled by them. I don’t really know who can tell me if the floor they have is well built or not and “Gott skick”..
And I have also been very patient, always kept a nice tone but it’s been over 6months now and it seems that they are using the fact that I am nice to not do anything. I’ve been advised to be a bit more strict and so that’s what I am trying to do now.
I have read about a case that was similar to your case. And it seems like there was no way for the brf to force the owner of the apartment to fix their floor. So I think if the owner does nothing the board will not be successful either. And a court will probably not do anything either if it goes so far.
There is another option available for you and that is to sound insulate your ceiling. Other then that either suck ut up or move.
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