Noisy tenants can be a real headache for landlords so here are some suggestions in 7 ways to handle noise complaints in rental housing the right way.
By James Durr
If you are the landlord of a property that is home to multiple tenants, or if the building you own is located close to other properties, it is possible that you will receive noise complaints. These complaints may be from members of the local community about your tenants or vice versa, or from different tenants about one another.
Let’s explore how to resolve these complaints about noisy tenants and ensure that tenants and local residents are able to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing experience in and around your rental housing.
Preventing Complaints About Noisy Tenants
Ideally, you should already have taken steps to prevent major sound bleed between and from your rental properties.
If possible, when renovating a property, extensive soundproofing should be included in the budget. You should consider installing acoustic insulation in walls, floors and ceilings, and selecting soundproof doors and windows.
It is also highly advisable to include a noisy tenants clause in any tenancy agreement you produce. This means that, upon signing the document, a tenant agrees that if they are to make excessive noise – particularly during any specified hours – they will be in breach of their contract.
What to Do if You Receive Noise Complaints: 7 Steps
1. Accept the Noise Complaints Graciously and Act Immediately
It’s important that your building is able to maintain a good reputation, and that the tenants who live there – and the residents of the local area – are able to enjoy a positive relationship.
“To this end, if someone comes to you with a noise complaint, show that you are sympathetic to their problem. You should also let them know that you will take steps to resolve the issue straight away,” comments auctioneer and fast home buyer James Durr of Property Solvers.
It may be that the individual making the complaint has already spoken to the “perpetrator.” It’s a good idea to check whether this is the case before doing so yourself. After all, this will give you a clearer idea of how they are likely to respond to you.
2. Check with Other Neighbors and Tenants
It’s best to corroborate any claims of excessive noise with others who may be affected before taking action.
If you receive a complaint, you may consider checking with other residents nearby to see if they too have been disturbed by the same incidents.
Of course, different people are affected by noise in different ways – and sound travels differently from space to space – so some individuals may be less troubled by the situation than others.
3. Look into the Cause of the Noise Complaints
If there is a specific type of sound that is causing problems, there may be a way to resolve the matter in a manner that suits all parties.
Some loud sounds, such as a baby crying or a dog barking, can be difficult to prevent. However, if it appears that the repeated noise is the result of neglect or abuse, this must be reported to the relevant authorities immediately.
In many cases of animal abuse, the owner may be prevented from keeping pets for a number of years in the future. This means that not only will the current animal be spared any further cruelty, but also that the tenant will not be permitted to replace it.
Of course, it’s extremely important that you do not make baseless claims of neglect or abuse just to resolve a noise complaint. Look into the issue as much as you can yourself before deciding to take action of this kind.
4. Ask the “Noisy” Party to Make Changes
This step is easier to take if you have already included a noise clause in your rental housing agreement, as you can remind the noisy tenant of this fact and reiterate that they are currently in breach of their contract.
Explain to them that, if this continues to be the case, you would be within your right to ask them to remove the source of the noise from the rental property. Be sure to speak politely and allow them the opportunity to explain themselves; after all, there may be another side to the story.
5. Get in Touch with a Mediator
If the individual in question refuses to make any changes or to discuss the matter with you in a civil manner, you may need to contact a professional mediator in order to resolve the problem.
Be sure you select an established and experienced specialist, and go to the meeting with an open mind.
6. Report to Your Local Authority About Noise Complaints
By getting in touch with your local Environmental Health Department, you may be able to make a formal complaint and get a noise-abatement notice issued.
This course of action may be particularly helpful if you have neglected to include a noise clause in your tenancy agreement, but it is also applicable if your own tenants have made noise complaints about other residents of the local area.
If the tenant in question is the repeated subject of noise complaints, you may be within your right to evict them.
This may only be the case, however, if you have included a noise clause in the tenancy agreement, and if you have evidence of repeated breaches of that clause.
It is worth remembering that landlords themselves are not responsible for the noise made by their tenants, so no action can be taken against you unless you are the source of the disturbance. However, in order to ensure that your rental housing is a pleasant place to live and to build positive relationships with other local residents, it is always worth doing what you can to resolve problems of this kind.
By carefully vetting tenants, including a noise clause in your tenancy agreement and soundproofing your building, you may be able to avoid any noise complaints whatsoever in your rental housing.
About the author:
James Durr has been a property buyer and developer for almost two decades. As one of the co-founders of a leading United Kingdom homebuying firm, he knows how to speak effectively and empathetically with property owners and business owners to find genuine win-win solutions.