BC couple awarded $4,500 after bizarre noise coming from neighbour's condo | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC couple awarded $4,500 after bizarre noise coming from neighbour's condo

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A BC man is on the hook for $4,500 after his downstairs neighbours took him to the small claims court over a bizarre tapping noise coming from his apartment.

According to a May 12 BC Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, Patrick Edward Knowlan and Shan He launched the online small claims case against their upstairs neighbour Alan Zenuk after hearing a nightly barrage of noise coming from his apartment.

Knowlan and He described the noise as a "series of intermittent taps with what sounds like a glass or steel ball or disc dropped a few cm" onto the condo's bare concrete floor. They also describe it as like a hard object hitting and bouncing on the floor, or a "wobbling, spinning, coin-like disk."

The couple sued for $5,000 compensation but Zenuk adamantly denies that he's making the noise – which he said he doesn't hear – and says he's "mystified" as to what could be causing it.

He then counter-sued the couple for $5,000 for bullying, harassment and invading his privacy.

READ MORE: 'Insensitive' strata ordered to pay condo owner $19,000

The couple presented evidence of 38,621 strikes in a three-month period – an average of 316 strikes per day.

The unnamed strata tried to intervene but Zenuk wouldn't allow them in his apartment. He says the noise must be coming from the building's mechanical equipment.

The decision says the strata turned off the building’s heat, cooling, and hot water for 10 nights but the noise remained about the same.

Zenuk hired a recording engineer who believed that the noise originated from a circulation pump with a loose pipe or broken support bracket.

"They said the 'strange nature' of sound transmission in concrete buildings makes it difficult to determine a sound’s location or direction," the decision reads.

However, the tribunal ruled that the recording engineer's qualifications don't qualify him to give an expert opinion about the source of the noise in a concrete building.

The couple provided evidence from the building's maintenance contractor which says all the machinery was working properly.

"(I) agree that if the noise came from building mechanical equipment, others in the building would likely hear it, which is undisputedly not the case," the tribunal ruled.

The couple submitted multiple witness statements saying they pinpointed the noise as coming from the bedroom ceiling.

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Again, Zenuk insisted he was not making the noise and presented evidence that he was away for a week and the noise still happened.

However, the tribunal said that the claim is that there is an unreasonable noise coming from his condo, not that he is making the noise.

The tribunal said the law can hold a person responsible even if they are not making the noise.

"Ignorance of the facts constituting the nuisance is not an excuse if they ought to have discovered the facts by use of reasonable care," the Tribunal ruled. "Moreover, once a person is made aware of a nuisance, they must take all reasonable steps to stop the nuisance."

The tribunal pointed out that "without explanation," Zenuk has refused to cooperate with the strata’s attempts to determine the source of the noise.

"I find a reasonable person in (his) situation would have allowed the strata corporation to investigate... to try to pinpoint the noise’s source," the tribunal ruled.

Zenuk argued he let the Strata's mechanical contractor into his units several times, but the tribunal ruled his evidence was too vague to show he took "reasonable steps" to determine the noise’s source.

Ultimately, the tribunal ruled Zenuk is liable for the noise nuisance and ordered he pay the couple $4,500 plus $100 interest and $175 fees.

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However, the noise itself, and what to do about it, still remains an issue.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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