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Ask an Expert: Do I have to follow the 80% carpet rule if I have asthma?

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Q.  I live in an apartment with wood floors. Recently my downstairs neighbor complained to the management that I am making too much noise walking around, and management has said that I must cover 80% of my apartment with rugs.   

However, I have a history of asthma and my doctors have recommended that I don't live with carpets.

Do I still have to put down rugs? 

A. Most likely, yes, say our experts.

"There are plenty of hypoallergenic rugs out there," says real estate lawyer Steven Sladkus, whose firm recently worked on a case like this. "Some people have even put in astroturf."

Though most hypoallergenic rugs are somewhat more expensive than regular rugs, they are not prohibitively so, notes real estate lawyer Dean M. Roberts. That means that you probably aren't entitled to a 'reasonable accommodation' as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act, which would excuse you from the carpeting requirement.

If it's any consolation, notes property manager Thomas Usztoke, "All types of flooring require cleaning to mitigate any form of bronchial triggers. Some reports state hardwoods, no less than soft carpets, may even require more attention."

 


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