I got a question from a U.S. citizen who lives in an apartment in Seoul, Korea. He had serious noise problem caused by wind pushing against a large metal sheet tunnel located above his apartment. Not settling with apartment management office, he asked me what his legal rights under the Korean law are.
Generally speaking, if the noise from the building’s metal sheet tunnel exceeds the limit that any ordinary person can stand(hereinafter the “Limit”), it constitutes an unlawful act under Korean law and the construction company shall make compensation for the damages arising therefrom.
Therefore, the key issue in this kind of case is whether the noise exceeds the Limit. If it does not exceed the Limit, you have to stand it. This is strictly case by case. To judge this issue, the court will consider various factors such as the grade and extent of noise, the effort of construction company to prevent and reduce noise, the use and purpose of noise generating facilities and any related regulations. Expert witness is largely accepted and highly valued in the court.
You should note that the burden to prove this is on your side. In a similar case such as a dispute of “noise from people who live upstairs”, there is a certain law regulating the limit of the noise so the plaintiff can quote it for his own benefit(the limit in such a law is quite higher than expected which is favorable to the defendant, i.e. the construction company). Regarding the amount of compensation, basically it consists of the cost to fix or prevent the noise and some amount of consolation money. But the consolation money in Korea would be very small compared to the U.S.
If you have any question about any Korean law related matter including a civil litigation, please send your inquiry to Mr. Wonil Chung by clicking here.
© 2008 Wonil Chung, a Korean Lawyer/Chung & Partners, a Korean Real Estate Law Firm.
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