When we relax at home, we do not want to be disturbed by outside noise. Oftentimes, tenants have been in a situation where there’s too much unwanted noise coming from neighboring tenants while they are taking rest or focusing on their work.
This is an extremely annoying and disturbing situation which is hard to tolerate. Even worse, it becomes your worst nightmare.
When you notice this nuisance occurring regularly and to some extent intentionally, you can’t help but take steps against the noisy neighbor. A lot of questions are expected to arise in your mind.
If this had happened in your home, you would have talked with your neighbor directly, sending a warning. But, what to do when you are a tenant? Should you inform the landlord? How can you proceed against the noisy neighbor legally? These are some questions you are likely to encounter.
In this guide, we have discussed important questions related to noisy tenants and how they should be dealt with.
So, if you are a tenant, currently dealing with another noisy tenant and do not know what to do next, you have come to the right place.
Go through this guide to understand the basic rights of every tenant and how the landlord is responsible for protecting the rights.
If you are hesitating to inform your landlord about your plight, do not hesitate any further. Discuss your problems with him and see what he does.
Are noisy tenants a landlord’s responsibility?
Out of all complaints that landlords look into, noise is one of them. Though a lot of times, landlords do not stay in the same apartment with his other tenants, still he can exercise legal rights to control noisy tenants, even while being away.
When it comes to renting an apartment, every tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment. Though this right isn’t covered by federal laws of any state, this ought to be mentioned in the lease agreement that is signed by the renter and the tenant. The right to quiet enjoyment is given to all tenants to ensure they enjoy living in their rented apartment at peace.
A lot of times, this right is compromised, especially due to noise disturbance. When a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment is affected, the landlord bears the responsibility to solve the matter and come up with a solution.
As soon as the problem is addressed to the landlord, it is his responsibility to investigate the cause of the problem and take necessary steps to solve it.
Common causes of noise complaints in apartments
The source of noise coming from a bad, irresponsible neighbor can be anything. Usually, loud noises are created by one or more of the following activities:
- Watching television at a high volume
- Jumping, stomping upstairs
- Playing music at a loud volume
- Partying with guests at night
- Pet noises
- Children crying
- Loud arguments
Apart from the above listed reasons, your neighbors can disturb you in various other ways. The cause of the noise is important and must be mentioned when lodging a complaint against them.
So be sure to note the source of noise whenever you feel disturbed.
What qualifies as excessive noise?
It’s tough to provide a concrete answer to “what qualifies as excessive noise” because it is subjective. Everybody makes noise while doing their day to day activities. For instance, while you open cabinets, cook food, clean the house, you produce sounds.
A few naughty tenants have the tendency to produce excessive sounds all day long. That’s when they become noise to others. No one can bear unwanted noises all day long.
The distinction between sound and noise is required because when you file a complaint against your noisy tenant, you would be required to determine whether the noise falls into ” daily household noises” or “excessive noises”. Accordingly, your landlord would proceed with the matter.
What can a landlord do about noisy tenants?
Once the landlord receives a noise complaint about another tenant, it is his responsibility to solve the matter. Being a tenant you must be aware of a tenant’s rights you are entitled to.
Every tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment as per the clause of the lease agreement and protecting that right comes under the landlord’s responsibility.
Keeping that in mind, dealing with noisy tenants and ensuring they aren’t affecting your peace also falls under his list of responsibilities.
Usually, landlords do not bear the nuisance of noisy tenants and come forward to solve the problem. Here’s what a landlord has to do after he receives a noise complaint about a noisy tenant.
Investigate the matter
We have already mentioned that it’s the responsibility of the landlord to to solve any matter related to violation of the right to quiet enjoyment. The landlord must interfere and take necessary steps to solve the problem.
While collecting details of the problems faced by other tenants, the landlord must enquire when the noise occurs? How long has it been occuring? Was the noisy tenant informed beforehand? When did this problem start arising?
Talking to the tenant who has lodged a complaint and knowing all related details is the first step. It’s important for the tenant to provide sufficient evidence to the landlord regarding the problem. Without any kind of evidence, neither will the landlord take much interest nor will he be able to charge the noisy tenant.
Address the noisy tenant
Now that the landlord has enough information and evidence of a tenant disturbing other tenants, talking to the noisy tenant is the second step.
Oftentimes, tenants are unaware that they are causing problems to others. Once the problem is conveyed to them, sensible tenants take a note of the complaint and behave accordingly. The problem is easily resolved in that case.
It’s the landlord’s responsibility to inform the tenant about the noise complaint lodged against him/ her. Now, if the tenant refuses to acknowledge the problem and continues to behave in an unapologetic manner, the landlord must take other steps. However, the landlord must hear their side of the story too.
If the landlord lands in a tricky situation, talking to neighboring tenants might be helpful. Talk to other tenants and ask if they too feel disturbed. Do they hear excessive noise from the supposedly noisy tenant?
If others confirm the same, the landlord must take stern measures to stop the noisy tenant from creating any further nuisance.
Weigh the options
Based on the landlord’s investigation and interaction with the noisy tenant, he would definitely get an idea whether the tenant is actually loud or it is an exaggerated complaint.
If other tenants have confirmed the complaint and labeled the tenant to be loud, the landlord must warn the noisy tenant in the first place. Communicate to him/her the problems occuring and ask the person to be in control of the noise level.
If it is found that the complaint of the tenant was not needed, the landlord must talk to the concerned tenant. Let them know that you investigated the matter, enquired about other tenants and found nothing to worry. However, assure them that if such problems occur again in the future, you would definitely look into it.
Inform of the consequences to the noisy tenant
It’s worth informing all tenants that in case a complaint is lodged against them by any other tenant with suitable evidence, the alleged person can be evicted under Schedule 2, Ground 2 of the Housing Act 1985 in UK and Wales.
If the matter is taken to higher authorities, councils can ask for evidence in support of the complaints to enforce eviction.
Also inform them that recent changes in the legislation have allowed police and councils to tackle anti-social noise complaints from residential complexes under Part 1 of the Anti social Behavior, Crime and Policing act 2014. Anti social noise includes the following:
- Pets barking
- Deliberate banging
- Raised voices
- Loud music
- DIY activities
Tenant rectifies or tenant evicted
After the tenant is informed of the consequences, he/ she is most likely to mend the ways. However, if the landlord notices no change in behavior it’s time to send the eviction notice.
If they continue to be arrogant, send them an eviction notice with attached evidence and ask them to vacate the property within a stipulated time.
What measures landlords can take to prevent noise?
Apart from including a noise clause and the right to quiet enjoyment in the lease agreement, landlords can take other steps to keep noise in control. Let’s go through some such steps below.
Modify the lease agreement
Firstly, landlords can add specific clauses in the lease agreement that every tenant would be bound to follow.
For instance, they can modify the lease agreement to include rules regarding noise control and what will happen if such clauses aren’t followed.
Another such clause to add is the right to quiet enjoyment. As a responsible landlord, you must ensure that each of your tenants lives in peace in your apartment. Adding this clause ensures that tenants get their right to enjoyment at peace without affecting other tenants.
Apart from this, landlords can consider the following tips and tricks to lessen noise and maintain peace in the building:
Add quiet hours
If a landlord is in charge of a multi unit building, he must include a clause pertaining to quiet hours. During the quiet hours, every tenant must do their work silently, so that the quietness of the building is maintained.
This is a kind of behavioral guideline that you can set for tenants in the lease agreement. By implementing these guidelines and rules from the beginning, tenants will learn to be within a limit.
Shrubs like juniper and holly can be excellent sound absorbers. They help to reduce noise in all seasons. Choose shrubs with broad leaves and thick branches if you want to keep them as sound barriers.
While constructing or renovating the building, installing various soundproof techniques will be an excellent trick to lessen the noise transmission in the building.
Landlords can soundproof the walls and ceilings using the decoupling method or by attaching soundproof MLV sheets.
Double pane windows
To eliminate noise disturbances in the building, you can also install double pane windows or triple pane windows for maximum sound reduction. These windows have materials that slow the sound waves.
So, by the time it reaches the next tenant’s room, the sound waves die already. Triple pane windows are better than dual pane windows in this case, unless the latter is an acoustic double glazed unit. However if you can add a laminated exterior pane of 6.4 mm glass to the triple pane window, it can even outperform acoustic dual pane windows in reducing noise intensity.
Do not place gadgets close to the walls
Another thing to avoid is placing electronic gadgets like TVs, speakers, radios, etc. close to the wall. In an apartment, tenants usually share a common wall. When these gadgets are placed close to those walls, the sound travels faster into the next room, which bothers the tenant next door.
The Bottom Line
By now you must have got your answer whether noisy tenants are a landlord’s responsibility. Yes, it’s the duty of the landlord to deal with noisy tenants and take appropriate measures against them if they continue to affect others’ right to quiet enjoyment. In fact, it’s a part of a landlord’s job to solve any kind of problem occurring among tenants.
For a landlord, dealing with a noisy tenant is fairly simple. A proper investigation is required first. The investigation makes it clear whether the accused tenant is worth considering or not.
If the tenant is rude and doesn’t cooperate with other tenants, landlords wouldn’t bear such behavior and evict the tenant. Putting up with an ill behaved tenant is harmful for the landlord’s reputation too!
Therefore if you have been dealing with a noisy tenant for quite some time, you know what to do next. Inform the landlord of the tenant’s misdeeds, furnish him appropriate evidence and see how your problem gets solved easily!