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What is the 80% Carpet Rule and How Should I Handle It?

What is the 80% Carpet Rule and How Should I Handle ItIf you’re a tenant in a New York City high-rise apartment or condo, you’re probably familiar with the “80/20 carpet rule,” which requires you to cover 80% of your floors with carpeting. Although not common everywhere, this rule does appear in lease agreements in some places other than the Big Apple. The primary purpose of this 80% carpet requirement is noise abatement.

Kitchen Floors

Laying carpets in all parts of a dwelling unit except the kitchen probably satisfies the letter of the 80% requirement. It violates the spirit, however, if you spend most of your time in the kitchen. However, that doesn’t mean you need shag carpeting where you prepare your food.

Here are four options to consider:

  1. Luxury vinyl tiles are attractive, effectively absorb footstep sounds, and you can remove them when you move.
  2. Laminate flooring can be installed with a sound-absorbing underlayment.
  3. Sisal mats are easy to take outside and clean.
  4. Take your shoes off when you enter the kitchen.

Hope for Distressed Tenants

Distraught downstairs tenants often wonder if there is a solution to deaden sound coming from upstairs. The answer, unfortunately, is “not much”. Permanent improvements require the landlord’s approval. Soundproofing every unit in a building would be an overwhelming project. Consider asking the upstairs neighbors to use more padded area rugs. It can produce a quick resolution to a pernicious problem.

As a tenant, look for the 80/20 rule in your lease before you sign it. It’s there for your benefit, and someday you’ll be thankful when a family of 10 moves in upstairs.

Ideas taken from Chris Deziel


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