People have different levels of sensitivity when it comes to noise. That’s why this is one of the most common complaints you’ll deal with when you own a rental. As a landlord, here are actions you can take when you receive a noise complaint:
Objectively Review the Complaint
Take time to assess the complaint and keep calm to ensure the issue doesn’t escalate by accusing anyone right away. Be aware of whether or not your city has a standard decibel level to arm yourself with knowledge of the acceptable degree of noise. You can then impose restrictions if they exist.
When conducting an independent investigation, it’s best to refrain from communicating this issue to the renter. There are cases where neighbors have exaggerated the noise level.
If the results show that the offender was not your tenant, you can advise the complainant to speak with the culprit. Consider asking the other tenants whether they were disturbed by noise, too.
Restricting noises can be challenging since people can freely make noise and in some circumstances, it’s even expected. Below are scenarios that can trigger noise complaints:
Gatherings among friends and family are welcomed during special occasions. Music may be played and there may be excited conversations.
This is generally acceptable unless the parties occur far too often and the loud noises last beyond midnight when other tenants and neighbors can barely sleep. In a first offense, issuing a warning is enough.
This is a typical complaint in multi-unit buildings. But if the heavy footsteps and stomping around can still be heard during all hours of the night that affect a tenant’s sleep and therefore their right to quiet enjoyment of the space.
Another noise culprit is barking dogs. While dogs bark for a number of reasons, the frequency matters. Hearing the barks frequently and at all hours can be annoying. In fact, this can also mean that something is wrong.
If your rental home doesn’t allow pets in the first place, then this can be a suspicious situation that you can examine further.
It’s common for people to argue back and forth. What’s not normal is hearing screaming matches all day and night. It’s only right to notify the renters if it’s bothering plenty of residents. Provide them with a warning and remind them of noise policies that are listed in their lease agreement.
What to do When the Complaint Isn’t Valid
If you find out that the noise disturbance wasn’t done by your tenant or the complaint altogether isn’t valid, you need to tell the complainant about the findings. Walk them through the conclusion of the independent investigation you’ve made and inform them that there’s no evidence to support the noise claim.
What to do When the Complaint Is Valid
If after running the assessment, you see that the noise complaint is legitimate, the next step is to weigh the gravity of the issue. If the renter has displayed good behavior until this particular time then sending a warning should suffice.
However, if this is a repeated complaint and the tenant has not addressed the issue, you may decide to begin the legal eviction process of repeated lease violations.
Clause to Include in Your Leasing Agreement
Placing a clause specifically touching on noise policies into your lead agreements is advisable. This acts as a deterrent and details the consequences of violating noise policies clearly. Renters will know whether their noise can result in warnings or evictions.
There are different clauses you can add to your lease agreement pertaining to noise levels.
Consider adding disturbance clauses that state that tenant must tone down the noise or keep them within reasonable limits so disturbance is minimized and be aware of the noise generated in the rental space.
They should refrain from yelling, playing loud music, or singing loudly. They must also be conscious of the volume of their appliances and any instruments to prevent them from disturbing any neighbors.
The clause can state that tenant must also cooperate with other residents to promote a peaceful environment. The privacy of other people must be respected and activities that can cause a nuisance should be ceased and agree to not retaliate against the person who lodged the noise complaint.
The renter must also consent that violations of the noise policy can result in an eviction or a penalty.
Another clause to include in the lease relates to having guests in the rentals. They could look something like this:
- Tenants must be responsible for monitoring the behavior of their guests to limit noise disturbances on the property and avoid complaints.
- Tenants are allowed to bring in guests, but they must also adhere to specific conditions, such as only 2 overnight guests per night or agreeing to a maximum stay of 3 consecutive nights for the guests and seek approval from the landlord past this period.
- Social events must be confined inside the rental space. Common areas of the property must not be utilized for social occasions.
- The renters must seek authorization from the property owner if they want to sublet the rental space or welcome another resident in the unit to split the rental fee. Violating this would mean being penalized or evicted from the rental place.
As a landlord, receiving a noise complaint means performing a separate evaluation. Checking the validity of it should be done first. If it’s valid, make sure that the actionable step matches the seriousness of the offense.
Issue a warning initially and if it goes unheeded, you can proceed with an eviction. But make sure that all complaints and actions to remedy the situation have been properly considered before this final step. Keeping documents and a record is also a good exercise to protect you from any lawsuit and provide you with a legal defense.
Are you seeking a trusted property manager to help you manage your rental? If yes, contact State Property Management today!