Have you ever lived in a rental property, away from home? It gives you the freedom to lead life your way. For some, living in rented properties is a memorable experience. On the other hand, if you fall into the hands of wrong neighbors, your life is sure to become a living hell.
Sharing an apartment or a neighborhood with loud, noisy neighbors is annoying, disturbing and intolerable. If you go around asking, you would notice that a lot of people around us have encountered dealing with pathetic, uncooperative neighbors.
If you are facing a similar issue, do not even think of adjusting. There are a lot of things you can do to address this problem and ensure it ends immediately. In this guide, we have enlisted the various actions tenants can take, if their peace of mind is affected by noisy, loud neighbors. So, without any further delay, let’s see how one can solve this matter.
What to do if my landlord won’t do anything about noisy neighbors?
Needless to say, noise is a proven health hazard, not simply a nuisance. Continuous exposure to loud noises is bound to affect one’s health, resulting in stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and what not.
If you are sharing a neighborhood or an apartment with a noisy neighbor, it’s time to take action. Read below to know what you can do as a rightful tenant.
Threaten to move out or withhold rent
No matter in which corner of the globe you have rented a flat, you are entitled to enjoy the rental peacefully. Usually, this clause is covered in the state laws, or in the rental agreement. In case your peace is affected by noisy neighbors and your landlord does nothing about it, you can stop paying the rents any further or leave the flat, without bearing any responsibility for paying future rents.. For this, you have to take the matter to the court and convince the court by providing appropriate evidence.
Sometimes, proving your cause with necessary evidence becomes difficult. That’s why, before taking the matter to any court, you must discuss it with an attorney general.
Sue your landlord
It’s true that no federal law of any state covers a renter’s right to enjoy a peaceful environment. However, all lease agreements must include suitable clauses to ensure a renter’s right to quiet enjoyment, under an implied covenant. Even if it’s not mentioned in the lease agreement you have signed up for, the court will consider your right to quiet enjoyment as a basic need.
In case the condition is not met, renters and landlords can move to courts to uphold the covenant. For instance, according to the California Civil Code section, dated 1927, landlords are liable to repay the entire rent of the month to the renter, when the renter’s right to quiet enjoyment was violated or breached. The refund can be partial or whole.
If your landlord refuses to perform his share of landlord responsibilities, you have every right to sue him as a tenant for being irresponsible. It’s the duty of every landlord to protect the peace of his tenants. Looking after their problems also is a part of his responsibility.
Not just that, you can also sue him to the reduced value of the rental flat because of the neighbor’s bad actions.
Gather evidence in support of your complaint
If your loud neighbor continues to bother you and your landlord has turned his back to your problem, it’s time to gather evidence in support of your complaint to strengthen your case, while filling a police complaint or visiting a law court. The evidence you furnish would make your case more convincing. It would probe the authorities to intervene and take immediate action.
Without proper evidence in support of your complaint, the police or law court might refuse to take much interest. When your neighbor plays loud music or argues loudly for hours, take sound recordings, if possible.
It would be even better if you can gather others from the neighborhood as witnesses on your behalf. Talk to your neighbors. Ask if they are facing similar troubles due to one loud, noisy neighbor. If you can make others stand up for justice, you have a good chance of winning the case.
Talk to the noisy neighbors directly
If your landlord fails to cooperate with you in this matter, do not worry. Try informing the neighbors of your problems and see if they care to note that. Of course, you can contact the police or the court. However, it’s advisable to talk to the concerned individuals once before taking any further step.
Sometimes neighbors do not realize that they are being loud and causing discomfort to others. Simply communicating the issue with them allows them to know about the problem that others are facing. Co-operative neighbors tend to quiet down immediately.
Contact your neighbor’s landlord for help
If your noisy neighbor is a tenant of some other landlord in the same neighborhood, talk to the landlord. Inform him of the troubles you are facing. Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure each of their tenants behaves properly. They have the power to take appropriate steps if any of the tenants show an unjust code of conduct.
If your neighbor’s landlord is cooperative, he will add a noise clause in the rental agreement stating that the tenant must not and should not breach the right to quiet enjoyment of other tenants or neighbors and allow other tenants to be at peace. So, if there’s a noise clause in the lease agreement and the tenant violates it, contacting his/her landlord would definitely help. The person might also be evicted on the same ground.
Also, there are several cities that require landlords to obtain rental licenses, without which they cannot legally rent properties. Now, multiple complaints from others against one or more tenants might put the landlord’s rental license at risk. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of every landlord to perform landlord responsibilities promptly and address the troublesome tenant’s behavior immediately.
Stay put and try to resolve the matter without your landlord
If your landlord refuses to do anything in this regard, do not feel disheartened. Know that you are protected by the law and you can take appropriate actions to protect your peace.
You can visit the community mediator or visit a local claims court or refer to the neighborhood mediation services asking for justice. Continue to read below to know what else you can do.
Warn the neighbor
If talking to the neighbor peacefully didn’t work, it’s time to take action against him/ her. Get a copy of the local noise ordinance and send it to your neighbor. Ask him/ her to go through the ordinance to understand how and when does the individual break the law and the consequences that are likely to fall upon the concerned individual. If this doesn’t worry the neighbor, move to the court or call the cops, in the next step.
Also, mention that if he/she doesn’t follow the ordinance, you would be forced to take the matter to the authorities, asking them to take necessary legal steps. In your letter, make sure to mention how your neighbor bothers you, including the date and time, if you want to be specific. Describe the noise, if possible.
To be more impactful, get the signatures of other neighbors who are similarly disturbed and annoyed by the actions of your loud neighbor. That would strengthen your case. Probably then your neighbor would also understand the seriousness of the situation.
Call the police when neighbors are noisy
No matter where you decide to rent, being a tenant, nobody has to adjust with loud annoying noises or party music, especially at midnight or early in the morning. If this issue persists for months, you must inform the authorities, asking them to take proper measures.
If your noisy neighbor has ignored your request, and continues to do activities that disturb others, contact the police. Inform the police about the situation beforehand. If possible, furnish appropriate evidence. Next, whenever you notice your neighbor being noisy, call the police. That’s a good opportunity to catch your neighbor red handed. Seeing the police, your neighbor is most likely to listen to their orders.
If your neighbor remained silent for a few days but started to create noise and chaos again, it’s time to move to the court.
File a case
To ensure that people can live peacefully in one community or neighborhood, there are nuisance laws. These laws ensure that others aren’t affected by the activities or actions of another neighbor. Every individual is protected by nuisance laws and you aren’t an exception.
Depending on the degree of noise produced, how it affects you and the nuisance laws of the region you live in, you can file a nuisance lawsuit against your noisy neighbor. In fact, you can complain against your landlord for not doing his share of landlord responsibilities.
If you have decided to take this step as the last resort, contact a local real estate lawyer or a personal local jury to prepare the case along with proper evidence.
Shift somewhere else
If you have rented a flat based on a month to month agreement, you are free to move out of the flat the next month, provided you notify your landlord a month prior. Usually, it’s the duty of the tenant to inform the landlord a month before shifting out.
However, if your rental contract is for a long term, and you decide to move out of the rented flat before the term is complete, you are breaking the contract. In that case, you are liable to answer the landlord and he might hold you responsible for the remaining period of unpaid rent.
Therefore, before moving out, know the consequences that you might face and decide accordingly. If you are bound by the agreement to stay for a long term, it’s wise to continue staying there and take other actions instead.
The Bottom Line
By now you have got a clear idea of what needs to be done if you fall in the hands of an uncooperative landlord. In situations like these, one should never give up and start adjusting to the problem. Take the matter in your own hands and if you can furnish appropriate evidence, your complaint would be heard.
If your loud, noisy neighbor repeatedly disturbs your peace of mind, despite multiple requests, you have every right to sue the individual and ask the court to order the neighbor to pay for financial damages. If you aren’t interested in taking money from the annoying neighbor, but want the noise to stop, you can simply ask the court to put an end to the nuisance by any means.
In case you want to settle the matter by charging money from the neighbor, you can file a noise complaint case to the local claims court. However, if you want to send the neighbor a legal notice, ordering him/her to stop being noisy, you will have to file a case in a regular court.
Remember that in both cases, attaching strong evidence is essential. Without proper evidence, your case might not even stand in the court, let alone initiating legal actions. Evidence like sound recordings of your neighbor playing loud songs at night, or police reports you have filed previously, written complaints to the landlord, testimony of the witnesses, etc. would be sufficient to support your case.