Living in a community means being considerate of those around you. As a landlord, you must ensure that your tenants maintain this basic courtesy for their neighbors. In return, you must deal with their complaints about others’ noise.
Start Out Right
The best way to deal with noise issues is before they happen. Include a section in your lease about noise and any rules or regulations to be followed. For instance, if there is a noise ordinance in your neighborhood, the lease must comply with its conditions, which usually include the hours of the day when excessive noise is a problem.
You should also state explicitly that excessive noise is grounds for termination of contract and provide the steps that will be taken based on complaints.
Deal With Complaints Promptly
If you receive a complaint about noise, contact the tenants right away to let them know of the problem. In many cases, people are unaware that they are offending anyone. Once they are told, the issue is often resolved. If it's a one-time offense, it may no longer be an issue by the time it’s brought to your attention.
For those with multiple noise complaints against them, you must take further action. First, determine if the complaint is legitimate or just an issue for one tenant who is extra-sensitive or doesn’t like another tenant. Ask other neighbors if they have heard the noise, and talk to the person being accused to hear their side of the story.
If the noise complaint is legitimate, remind your tenant that he or she is violating the terms of the lease. If you have quiet hours in your building or community, you may be able to impose a fine for violations. In severe cases, you can even send a Cure or Quit Notice, which tells the person to quit their behavior or risk eviction. If the noise continues, you may have to follow through on your notice and begin eviction proceedings.
When the Noise Is Elsewhere
Sometimes your tenants will complain about a noise over which you have no direct control; for example, loud sounds from a neighboring property. The best option is to have the tenant talk to the noisy person directly. You can also speak to the landlord if the neighboring property is a rental.
Another option is to find out if the nearby noise is in violation of any local ordinances. If this is the case, you or your tenant can take the problem to the local authorities.
If noise is a continual problem near your property, look for other ways to prevent issues before they occur.
In some cases, you may benefit from relocating one tenant away from the other. For example, a family with young children may live next door to an older person who can’t tolerate the sounds of children crying or screaming from inside. In situations as this, moving one tenant can provide the best result for everyone’s happiness.
Dealing with noise is a common issue in rental life. As a landlord, it’s your job to make sure that everyone is obeying the rules and not infringing on another person’s peace and quiet.
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