Noise is all around us, it’s unavoidable and inescapable. But if noise occurs in a rental property, then as a landlord, it can cost you a lot of time, money and heartache.
Handling any noise complains that your tenants have falls onto your pile of responsibilities, which can often call for a tricky resolution. Most excessive noise occurs at night time, from shouting to loud music and your enforcement efforts may fail, but here are some vital tips to ensure you are taking the best action to resolve the problems.
Tenants – Know Your Rights
Tenants have a “Right to Quiet Enjoyment”, which is the foundation to every complaint you will receive. Your tenants are entitled to go about their daily lives without being disturbed by any excessive noise or unreasonable disturbances.
If you chose not to act upon any complaints, you will be in direct violation of thee rights and could result in you paying monetary rewards as means of compensation. In any instance that these complaints should arise, it’s important to make sure that you address them swiftly. But like most things, resolving these issues can be easier said than done.
When Does Noise Become Excessive
Noise made from daily activities are unavoidable, from starting a car, to mowing the lawn – these activities can be excessively noisy, so what can constitute as excessive?
The fact of the matter is, that some tenants may just be overly sensitive to noise that cannot be helped i.e. a noisy neighbor in the flat above who mimics the noise of a herd of elephants when they walk across the floor. This means that as a landlord, you must evaluate each complaint with reason and caution. Essentially you need to decide whether the one who is complaining, or making the noise requires your intervention.
Stop And Evaluate The Complaints
There are some simple guidelines to help you determine when noise becomes excessive. But again, it’s up to you to decide on a case-by-case basis when to intervene. This situation in itself can become petty and unreasonable, so always remain impartial and uninvolved. Here are a few guidelines to consider:
- Whether the complaint comes from more than one person
- If the complaint arises only from your tenant, whether they have a habit of complaining, and whether their previous complaints have been justified
- How many times does the noise occur – whether it’s loud music, loud banging, or shouting every night, etc.
- Whether the noise is created by everyday living – i.e. walking around, starting the car, mowing the lawn
- Whether the noise has been resolved in the past
It’s imperative that if the complaints have weight behind them, that they are being filed and acted upon. Whether this is speaking with the person at the root of all the noise, or contacting the local authorities. Failing to do so, could result in a trip to the small claims court, where tenants can be awarded between $2,500 and $7,500 for their troubles.
As a landlord, remember that it’s your responsibility to keep your tenants happy, whether that’s addressing ongoing noise concerns, or dispelling any negative feelings that your tenant may have towards the surrounding areas.