Noisy Tenants and a Landlord's Responsibility
Keeping the Peace in Your Rental
Noise is one of the most common complaints a landlord will get from their tenants. It can be difficult to control the noise level at the property since many landlords do not actually live at the property. There are, however, legal rights a landlord does have when dealing with noisy tenants. Learn the steps a landlord can take to try to restore the peace in the rental.
Common Types of Noise Complaints
There are endless ways that noise can be created. Some of the most common sources of noise complaints include:
- Loud Music
- Loud Television
- Heavy Walking, Running or Stomping Overhead
- Excessive Noise After 10 PM
- Children Playing-Running or Yelling
- Children Crying
- Noise From Gatherings in Front or Back of Property
- Noise From Parties
- Noise From Neighbors in the Area- Next Door Neighbors or Otherwise Who Are Not Tenants
Landlord's Responsibility for Dealing With Noisy Tenant
If a tenant is disrupting other tenants in the rental property, it is your obligation as a landlord to investigate the situation and take action if necessary.
- Speak to the Tenant Making the Complaint
- You will want to get the facts from the tenant complaining about the noise. What time did the noise occur? How long did it go on for? Was this the first time it happened? Did they confront the tenant about it?
- Speak to the Supposed Noise-Maker
- Next, you will want to confront the tenant responsible for the noise. They may be unaware that they were disrupting other tenants or they may be unapologetic.
- Make the tenant aware that there is a noise complaint against them. If this is their first offense, you can let them off with a warning. Make sure you also let the tenant who complained know that you have addressed the issue.
- You may also want to speak to any other tenants in the property and ask them if they have had heard any excessive or loud noises in the property. The tenant could have had a couple of people over one night which led to excessive noise, or they may be chronically playing their music loudly.
- If the Noise Continues
You should have a clause in your lease regarding noise violations and quiet hours. You should remind the tenant that repeated noise violations are a breach of their lease agreement. You can give them a copy of their signed lease as a reminder.
- Is the Noise Breaching a Quiet Hours Policy?
Do you have a quiet hours policy in effect? If you make your tenants sign a Quiet Hours Policy as part of their lease, the tenant will be breaching the lease if they violate this quiet hours agreement. Depending on the exact wording of your policy and your local and state laws, you may be able to fine the tenant a certain dollar amount for failing to follow the agreement or to evict the tenant for breaching their lease.
- Cure or Quit Notice
For repeated offenses, you may want to provide the tenant with a Cure or Quit Notice, which gives them the option to quit the behavior that is breaching the lease by a certain date, or they will be subject to eviction.
- If the Noise Does Not Stop:
You may be forced to evict the tenant. If their behavior is affecting the quality of life of the other tenants, it is better to rid your property of this ‘bad-seed’ rather than lose all the other respectful tenants you have.
Landlord's Responsibility for Dealing With Noisy Neighbor
Unfortunately, the source of a tenant's noise complaint may be outside of your control. You have limited options if the noise is coming from a neighbor who is not paying you rent.
- Suggest That the Tenant Address the Noisy Neighbor
If a tenant is complaining about noise outside of the property, you can suggest that the tenant speak directly to the individual who is making the noise. The neighbor may not realize that their actions are affecting someone else until it is brought to their attention. The goal is to show the offending party how their actions are negatively affecting others by relating to them and without creating hostility.
- If the Problem Continues
If the noise offender still has not stopped their behavior after being confronted by the tenant, you can try and approach them also. If the offending party lives in a rental, you should try contacting the landlord or property owner. They will often be more responsive because they do not want to get a bad reputation in the neighborhood. If the culprit is the actual property owner, address them in the same polite and respectful manner as you have instructed your tenant to.
- If Nothing Changes
Determine if the neighbor is violating some sort of local law. For example, if they are making excessive noise after 10 pm. or before a certain time of the morning, they could be violating a local noise ordinance. In this case, the tenant could call the police about the noise violation.
- Ways to Reduce Exterior Noise