Upstairs neighbor renovating during shelter-in-place
April 20, 2020 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Our upstairs neighbor has decided that the current coronavirus pandemic is the best time to redo the entire apartment. It wasn't great living under them tearing up the floor for a whole week, and then painting has been a lot louder and with more sawing and hammering than expected. How can I find someone to call either from the city or the county to either confirm this is allowed or report him?

We're in San Mateo city and county in California for reference.

I've tried calling the building commission for the county but both numbers that seemed correct told me they were on a pause due to the pandemic.

I accept that at this point on the finishing touches there's not much we can do, and the worst of it has certainly past, but even today which was supposed to be a non-work day, there's a lot of hammering, sawing, and a lot more general ruckus than I appreciate as I'm trying to wfh.

I am also getting a copy of the apartments HOA rules as well for review, but don't have them yet.

There's a lot more I could say/vent about how this has been handled, and it certainly has us hot under the collar, so I accept that the answer might end up being that we have to let it go. That however is less helpful now as breaking the shelter-in-place directive could be putting people at risk as well, and I'd at least like some clarity for an official about what's been going on.
posted by Carillon to Law & Government (7 answers total)
Have you talked to the neighbor about it yet? It's not clear from your post.
posted by mskyle at 12:32 PM on April 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

First you'll need some evidence other than noises that someone is violating your local anti-virus rules.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:33 PM on April 20, 2020

Best answer: Did you try the San Mateo County Dept of Health too?

Your question is not really clear. Do you want to complain about the construction noise annoying you, or do you want to complain about an assumed health violation. Clarify that before you contact anybody, because I don't suppose any authority would be able to address both of your complaints.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:37 PM on April 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

You say you're in an apartment, but you mention an HOA -- is it really a condo? If not, I think your only recourse is through the owner (or manager, if you have one).

Also, if you're renting, there might be something useful you could cite in your lease, when complaining.
posted by Rash at 12:38 PM on April 20, 2020

Response by poster: Yes we have, I spoke at a distance with both the painter and the floor people, and have met the neighbor who promised it would be over by Sunday (this was two Sunday's ago and it hasn't been).

We're still chatting with him as well but I'm looking for other resources to go alongside that avenue.

Edit: Thanks JimN2TAW I hadn't seen that number and was able to speak with someone.
posted by Carillon at 12:39 PM on April 20, 2020

The order for San Mateo County allows for service providers to do work that is necessary to "maintaining the habitability, sanitation and operation of residences and Essential Business, but not for cosmetic or other purposes."

So, hiring painters is probably a violation.
posted by metahawk at 2:10 PM on April 20, 2020

You could go with a violation of lockdown, but you might just try the noise ordnances, which would seem to be a better way of approaching things - it blames the owner, not the contractor.

You’ve been gracious, you waited out the time you were told, and you’re having difficulty enjoying your own home, so I think it’s reasonable to say you’ve given them every opportunity and it’s time to get someone to remind them of their responsibilities.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 6:04 PM on April 20, 2020

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