Dealing With Noise Complaints

  1. One situation you’re likely to face as a landlord is a noise complaint. There are times when tenants may get a bit loud and neighbors will report being disturbed. It can be hard to know how to respond to these situations, especially when you are the middleman.

Thankfully, Rent Easy has an A-Z guide on handling these complaints professionally to keep your tenants happy. Read on for our best practices to follow when receiving a noise complaint.

Review the Complaint Objectively

First, you should make sure to approach the situation calmly and objectively before reacting or speaking with anyone. You want to maintain professionalism at all times.

However, in cases where you are a long-distance or military landlord, and cannot assess the situation yourself, then you may want to ask a trusted friend or property manager to help.

Evaluate how serious the complaint is and check if it is valid. Then research further to learn whether your city’s jurisdiction has a set noise decibel level where tenants are restricted from going beyond a certain degree of noise.

Avoid talking with your renter while you’re investigating the validity of the complaint. It’s possible that the source of the noise is another person. If this is the case, then you should delegate the responsibility and request that whoever issued the complaint talks with the tenant.

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Here are common situations that result in noise complaints:

  • Parties - it’s normal to invite friends and family over for special occasions. This can lead to playing lively music. This is understandable but if the parties are frequent and loud it affects the sleep of the other residents. Either a verbal or written warning should be issued.
  • Heavy footsteps - this is usually a common complaint, especially in buildings with several floors or units with children. It’s nothing out of the ordinary to hear renters walking around if you live below the floor of another unit. The only time you can report a noise complaint is when you hear the resident making too much noise after a certain time, usually 8 pm.
  • Dogs - another source of noise is barking dogs. It’s normal for dogs to bark but if it barks way too often at all times then this can be disturbing.
  • Loud talking or yelling - If this becomes a regular occurrence then this requires notifying the renters.

Invalid Complaints

If your investigation uncovers that the noise did not come from the tenant or the issue is not valid at all, then you’ll want to inform the person who logged the complaint. Explain that you looked into the matter and did not find any reasonable proof, but to notify you if the noise continues.

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Valid Complaints

If upon your assessment, you discover that the noise issue is justified, you need to evaluate how serious the situation is, then take action based on that.

If this is the first time the tenant has caused a noise complaint, and only had a few people for a party, then a warning is enough. If this is a repeated occurrence and the renter does not show any signs of adjusting their behavior then you may want to look into an eviction.

Include a Clause in Your Lease

As added protection for landlords, inserting a specific noise clause pertaining to noise is helpful. Take extra notice of this if you are a DIY landlord and don’t have prior experience!

Having a specific clause will help both you and the renter to be aware of the consequences. You will also know what is the appropriate action to take, whether it would be to send a notice, issue a warning or decide on an eviction.

Example of a Noise Clause

On Disturbances

  • The tenant must agree to keep noises within acceptable limits so noise complaints from neighbors are minimal.
  • The tenant must be conscious of the noises produced in the rental space. Screaming, loud music and loud singing are heavily discouraged. The volume of appliances and any instruments must also be strictly observed to prevent disturbances of neighbors.

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  • The tenant must be cooperative with other tenants in the property to ensure a peaceful atmosphere. Tenants must agree to honor others’ right to privacy.
  • The tenant must consent to keep from retaliating against the complainant who reported the noise issue. The renter must also accept that any violation can result in paying fines or being evicted.

On Guests

It is the tenant’s duty to monitor the behavior and conduct of their guests to prevent disturbances in the property. The tenant is permitted to welcome guests, but must comply with the following conditions:

  • Permitting only 2 overnight guests per night
  • Limiting the guests’ stay up to 3 consecutive nights only with no written approval from the landlord
  • Social events must be kept inside the rental unit. The common areas of the property are restricted from being used.
  • If the renter allows another person who didn’t sign the leasing agreement to occupy the rental without seeking permission from the landlord, this is considered unauthorized subletting. The tenant can be penalized or the tenancy can be ended.

Bottom Line

Once a landlord receives a tenant complaint regarding a renter, it’s best to take time to assess the matter and make an independent investigation. The complaint must be reviewed whether it’s valid or not.

If it is then the consequence must equate to the severity of the offense. Once a warning has been issued and yet no adjustment by the renter is being done then eviction can be considered as a final resolution.

The landlord needs to document the incident and keep a record as proof. This way, if a lawsuit is filed against you, there’s evidence you can legally present.

If you have any specific questions regarding your tenants, don’t hesitate to reach out to the property managers at Rent Easy! We have years of experience dealing with noise complaints and can best advise you about your situation. Contact us today!

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