Noise is one of the common problems that tenants face. Therefore, noise complaints in apartments are the most common type of complaints that landlords encounter. A lot of times, landlords do not even live in the apartment they rent and tenants are left alone to handle such annoying situations.
When tenants are unable to do something about it, landlords have to intervene. A landlord has legal rights which give him the power to take appropriate measures to resolve the problem concerning noisy tenants.
The source of noise can be anything. For instance, shouting late at night, partying till early morning, pets barking, etc. can be a source of disturbance for neighboring tenants. Anything that’s a cause of concern for tenants becomes the same for landlords, because it’s the latter’s responsibility to protect the rights of the tenants and ensure they are living in peace.
How do landlords distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable noise? How many warnings should they give before evicting the noisy tenant? Can a tenant be evicted for being too noisy? These are some common queries that are likely to strike your mind. If you are looking for answers, you have come to the right place.
This guide is useful not only for someone who’s soon to rent an apartment but also for landlords. So before you shift to a new place, you must be aware of your rights and how to tackle difficult situations like these.
Can you get evicted for a noise complaint?
Yes, a noisy tenant can get kicked out for noise complaints.
Usually, laws pertaining to landlords and tenants are set by local authorities. These laws are therefore different in different regions. However, the basic responsibility of a landlord remains the same. Every landlord is responsible for providing a safe, hospitable and peaceful environment to his tenants.
A closer understanding of the above responsibility would make it clear that landlords are required to provide a noise free environment in order to ensure that tenants can live in peace.
Therefore, by simplifying the responsibility of any given landlord, we can say that a landlord’s chief responsibility is to guarantee and protect a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment in a hospitable environment.
To fulfill this obligation towards the tenants, landlords include a noise clause in the lease agreement that’s signed between him and his tenant. This is a legal document which empowers the landlord to take actions against the concerned tenant, if noise complaints are lodged against him/ her. Obviously the landlord would first verify the authenticity of the complaints before taking any step.
In the process of his investigation, if he gathers enough evidence against the noisy tenant, he would send a few warnings first. In case, the tenant refuses to oblige and continues being noisy and affecting others’ peace of mind, the landlord has the power to evict the noisy tenant.
How Many Noise Complaints Until Eviction?
A landlord must send at least two warnings to the noisy tenant before he’s finally kicked out for noise complaints.
The specific amount of time that a tenant must be given to rectify his/ her behavior before being thrown out of the apartment varies from place to place.
The time period given to accused tenants is different in different regions. It depends on the local authorities and the federal eviction laws of that state. Usually, landlords give two warnings before eviction for noise complaints.
Also, no law of any state mentions how many complaints must be lodged against a noisy tenant to initiate the process of eviction against him/ her. This is a totally subjective matter and depends on his notorious activities and intensity of noise produced.
Every landlord must note the severity of the noise complaint and how it is affecting other tenants.
Tenants must deliver the complaint convincingly so that it captures the landlord’s attention. The landlord must understand the urgency of the situation and take immediate measures. Unless you convey your problems to the landlord, the latter is unlikely to know about it.
After receiving a noise complaint, the landlord must carry out the basic investigation against the alleged noisy tenant to understand the authenticity of the complaint. After talking to the accused tenant and collecting enough evidence, he can send a warning to the tenant, asking him/ her to keep the noise in check.
The landlord must clarify the rules that the tenant has violated because the latter is also entitled to some basic rights. Even if the noise persists, the landlord must send a second, more strict warning, informing that he/ she would be evicted if the behavior isn’t rectified.
Every renter in your property has the right to experience quiet enjoyment in your property. However, “quiet” here doesn’t mean that every tenant has to be silent. It simply means that tenants will carry out their activities by involving the minimum noise so that other tenants do not feel disturbed.
Producing reasonable noise is accepted. However the definition of reasonable varies. For instance, walking in heavy footsteps might not be disturbing for some tenants while some may feel disturbed by the same.
Renters having personal grudges against other tenants shouldn’t use it for their benefit. Even if they do, landlords cannot evict another tenant based on the personal problems of another tenant.
Only if a tenant is able to provide sufficient documents or proof against another noisy tenant, will his/ her noise complaint be taken into consideration. In other words, to initiate the process of eviction, sufficient evidence is required.
Usually, landlords do not reside in the same apartment with his tenants. Therefore, it’s unlikely that the landlord would be aware of everyone’s doings in the apartment.
In this regard, tenants are much more informed of what other tenants do in their day to day life. However, that doesn’t give them the right to complain about anything and everything.
Landlords therefore should take complaints with a grain of salt. They mustn’t react to the complaints immediately.
In fact, to safeguard the rights of tenants and prevent innocent tenants from being victims to malicious motives of others, landlords do not have the power to evict tenants on the basis of just one complaint.
Instead, he is required to research and investigates, and only if he thinks that the complaint is serious and just, must take the necessary action against the accused tenant. Also, there must be appropriate evidence to prove the wrongdoings of the accused tenant.
This ensures that no tenant can throw another tenant out of the apartment, only based on personal grudges, even if the latter is within his/ her limits.
Limitations in Your Lease
Landlords must keep their tenants in check. The only way to ensure that every tenant remains within their limits is by including the restrictions in the lease agreement. By doing so, you legally bind your tenants to abide by the clauses. Failure to do so allows the landlord to take legal steps against them.
A landlord will take action against another tenant only when someone lodges a complaint against the latter. Besides that, a police visit to the apartment can also attract the landlord’s attention to an ongoing problem.
There are various ways in which landlords can try to reduce noise in the building.
- Usually, landlords include a clause stating quiet hours for a certain duration in a day.
- Apart from that, a landlord can restrict the number of guests allowed inside an apartment at one time.
- Next, he can also put restrictions on partying till late at night.
Irrespective on what grounds a noisy tenant violates the agreement, the tenant has the right to know it before the landlord sends an eviction letter. In fact, the tenant must also be given sufficient time to rectify his/ her behavior.
Part of a landlord’s responsibility involved in regulating noise also includes promoting and ensuring a peaceful negotiation between two parties. Only after the landlord has tried all possible means to end the dispute, can he opt for eviction.
Sometimes, a tenant can transfer the rented property to a third party, provided the clauses of the lease agreement permits it. In that case, the tenant becomes the sublessor while the third party becomes the sublessee.
Though the tenant gives the third party the right to stay in the rented apartment, the tenant always maintains a reversionary interest. By the term “reversionary interest”, we mean that under appropriate conditions, the interest of the rented apartment will be restored to the sublessor and the sublessee will no longer retain any right related to the property.
When a tenant subleases his/ her rented property, the fulfillment of the clauses related to noise and quiet enjoyment becomes complicated.
When a rented property is subleased, the extent to which the sublessor will control the activities of the sublessee depends upon the landlord. In case the subleased unit is removed from the lease agreement, the tenant will bear responsibility for his/ her own actions.
Know Your Rights
Obviously, the landlord is responsible for ensuring peace is maintained and warn tenants who produce unnecessary noise.
At the same time, it’s also the responsibility of individual tenants to maintain minimum noise. To avoid any kind of miscommunication, the landlord must mention guidelines and rules pertaining to noise and ensure that tenants follow the rules.
Tenants must be aware of what’s expected of them. They must know the rules they need to abide by.
Tenants must also know the rights they can enjoy as tenants. No landlord can ask them to evict the property without giving prior warning. If a tenant thinks that his landlord is being unfair, he / she can sue the landlord.
We already said, landlords must include clauses mentioning quiet hours and right to quiet enjoyment in every lease agreement. An informative noise clause in the lease agreement must include the following details:
- What noises come under unreasonable noise
- Activities that are likely to cause excessive noise and must be avoided.
- When to maintain quiet hours
- Restrictions on the number of guests allowed inside the apartment at one time
- Consequences for violating the lease agreement.
The Bottom Line
By now you know how you can avoid getting evicted for a noise complaint from an apartment. You also know what are your rights as a responsible tenant. So the next time, someone tries to evict you on personal grounds, you must revolt.
There are various ways in which one can avoid getting an eviction notice for noise complaints in apartment. For instance, tenants must try to develop a cordial relationship with the landlord.
Tenants must also interact with other neighboring tenants. They must play music, watch television and use other electrical appliances in low volume. If possible, tenants can also opt for soundproofing the apartment.
No matter what you do, you shouldn’t give your landlord any reason to send you a warning. Try to resolve conflicts with other tenants yourself, before it reaches the landlord.
Therefore, communicate with other tenants and give them your number so that they can talk to you directly instead of informing the landlord. Tenants must try to remain in the good books of their landlord.