Noise complaints have been lodged against one of your rental properties, and you’ve been contacted through a letter, phone, email, or even a personal visit. The question is, “What do you do?”
Landlords face a complex accessibility problem when noise complaints are filed, as they are at the center of the accountability chain for both external noise and noise generated within the property. Your renters’ “right to peaceful enjoyment” of the rental property may be violated by excessive noise in the area, which might have legal repercussions for you as the landlord.
However, you must ensure that your tenants respect the neighbors’ right to peaceful pleasure.
How do you respond to tenant concerns about excessive noise? The correct response is conditional on several local variables, including laws, code enforcement, lease provisions, and specific noise-generating situations.
What are Illegal Noises?
What constitutes illegal noise varies by jurisdiction, from state to city to county. It is common for HOA communities to define both authorized and unacceptable noise levels in writing. Any noise that causes injury, interferes with daily life or is not required is illegal.
Construction noise may be permitted between 3 and 10 p.m. during business hours, but after 10 p.m. may violate local city council noise rules.
For example, the excessive blaring of a car horn is not tolerated in most communities unless it is an emergency.
You should keep track of each rental property you oversee and familiarize yourself with the local noise ordinances. Depending on how the city’s regulations were drafted, two properties on opposite sides of town might be subject to various noise restrictions addressing when and what noise is permitted or limited by law.
What is Considered a Noise Disturbance?
The right to peaceful pleasure in one’s home is violated when the noise occurs repeatedly or continuously nearby. It may be determined by averaging over 84 decibels, or it could be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
During the peaceful nighttime hours of a community, noise problems are more likely to be ruled out, and excessive noise may cause sleep disturbance, stress, and a concern to public health.
The border between acceptable background noise and noise that disrupts surrounding residents’ ability to go about their everyday lives is typically practical.
The Various Types of Noise Complaints
The threshold for what constitutes “extreme noise” varies from jurisdiction to the next, and even within a single city, different agencies may have divergent opinions. What kinds of noise are most frequently reported as the source of a noise problem in a particular area?
1. The Noise of a Barking Dog
It’s a sad fact that a dog’s incessant barking may drive anyone insane. If a dog’s barking is loud, persistent, or frequent, it may annoy neighbors. Pet owners should keep a close eye on their canine companions to ensure that they don’t engage in excessive outside barking while at the office.
Have your renter install a camera in the rental unit to film any noise their dog makes while they’re away. As soon as they leave the driveway and pass the property line, their dog may start howling endlessly, which may surprise them.
2. Noise of Construction
Home improvement projects that generate a lot of noise must be completed during business hours. Construction noise is typically governed by municipal ordinances and the rules of homeowners’ associations, mainly when it occurs close to existing homes. The use of a jackhammer in a residential neighborhood at 3 in the morning is an extreme example of construction teams making unacceptable noise.
3. The Noise of House Parties
The noise from a house party may easily travel to neighboring properties, which is a typical reason for complaints about disturbances. The prospect of rowdy house parties in their rental apartment is the stuff of many landlords’ worst nightmares, not only because of the disruptions to their peace.
4. The Noise of Loud Music
Another prevalent source of disturbance is music played at decibel levels that cause nearby households’ windows to rattle. It may be worthwhile to improve your property’s insulation and windows if you have a renter who enjoys giving their speakers a workout or who has a band that likes to rehearse in the rental.
5. Noise of Fireworks
While fireworks can be a nuisance in some areas and on particular occasions, others find pleasure in setting off rockets at any time of the year. Complaints about firework loudness should be taken seriously, and investigations should be conducted in regions where fires are a growing issue. Inside most city borders, fireworks are prohibited.
6. The Noise of Motor Vehicles
Vehicles revving their engines, playing loud music, or simply driving through the neighborhood at all hours are familiar sources of noise complaints. Excessive noise, whether from a motorbike or a neighbor who refuses to have a functional muffler on their automobile, may severely disrupt the tranquility of a night.
What Should You Do When You Receive Noise Complaints at Your Rental Property?
1. Graciously Accept Any Noise Complaint and Take Action Immediately
You want your building to have a good reputation and your tenants and the neighborhood to get along well.
To that end, be understanding if someone complains to you about noise. Experts advise that you tell the seller that you would act quickly to remedy any issues.
The complainant may have already had a conversation with the alleged wrongdoer. Be sure to verify this is the case before taking action. Ultimately, this will help you gauge their potential reaction to you.
2. Make Sure to Cross-Check with Tenants and Neighbors
Before taking action, verifying reports of excessive noise from neighbors is advisable.
Whether you receive a complaint, it could be a good idea to discover if any neighbors have had similar experiences.
Some people may be less bothered by the scenario than others since noise has varying effects on various people and because sound travels at different speeds across different environments.
3. Find Out the Real Cause of the Noise Complaint
There may be a workable solution to the conflict if it can be determined what kind of noise is causing the most distress.
It might be challenging to avoid hearing certain loud noises, such as a baby screaming or a dog barking. The authorities should be notified promptly if it seems likely that the frequent noise is the consequence of neglect or abuse.
After being convicted of animal cruelty, a person may be barred from owning pets for a considerable time. The present animal will be spared any more mistreatment, and the renter will not be allowed to get a new one.
It would help if you did not manufacture false accusations of neglect or abuse only to eliminate a noise complaint. First, do as much independent research as possible before deciding on this.
4. Ask the Party Who is Making Noise to Make Changes
If a noise restriction is already included in the lease, the landlord should notify the renter that they violate the agreement by pointing out the clause.
Tell them that if the noise problem persists, you will have to exercise your right to ask them to vacate the premises. There may be another side to the story, so be careful to talk gently and give them a chance to explain themselves.
5. Take the Help of a Mediator
The situation may require the assistance of a professional mediator if the other party involved is unwilling to make any adjustments or engage in respectful discussion about the issue at hand.
Pick a well-respected expert in the field, and approach the consultation with an open mind.
6. Make a Complaint to the Local Authorities
The local Environmental Health Department is the place to go if you want to file a formal complaint and have a noise-abatement notice issued.
If your renters have complained about noise from neighbors but forgot to put a noise provision in the leasing agreement, you can take this measure to address their concerns.
7. Consider Eviction
Tenants who are frequently the target of noise complaints may be vulnerable to eviction.
However, this is only possible if you have a noise provision in your leasing agreement and can prove that it has been violated on many occasions.
It’s essential to remember that landlords can’t take action against you until it can be shown that you’re causing the noise. However, it is always worthwhile doing all you can to remedy difficulties of this sort to ensure that your rental accommodation is a pleasant place to live and to create strong connections with other local people.
It is possible to prevent noise complaints in rental properties by being selective in who you accept as tenants, inserting a noise provision in your leasing agreement, and taking other measures to soundproof your building.
Responding to a Noise Complaint Report Against Your Tenant
What should you do if the cops show up because of a noise complaint from a tenant? Collaborating with the authorities and tenants is essential to find a solution. Tell your renter that the noise has drawn the attention of the police without generating an explicitly frightening encounter if you think they are courteous and receptive.
On the other hand, if your renters have turned into a significant issue, it’s a good idea to consult the police on how best to handle the situation in the case of an eviction.
Having decent tenants who have reported a neighbor for noise should put you on high alert. If noise in the area is a constant annoyance and threatens the safety of residents or visitors, your renters may have grounds to terminate their lease.
Are There Any Consequences If Someone Does Not Follow Noise Complaints Laws?
If the infringing noise threatens public safety, serial offenders may face penalties or jail time. When someone causes noise that travels from their property to another’s, it violates municipal noise control regulations. While noise complaints may prompt a visit from law enforcement in some jurisdictions, this is not the case everywhere.