If a tenant is noisy in the middle of a forest, will anyone file a noise complaint? Probably not. But most tenants tend to live near other people, which can lead to a few different things happening: emails from the neighborhood HOA, complaints from a building manger, or in the worst-case scenario you can receive a nuisance complaint from the city.
Noise is a part of life. Tenants will have friends over or yell at a game on TV and create noise as a result. The open windows and screen doors of summer will only escalate the problem.
So what do you do when you receive a noise complaint? Ask these questions:
Is the Complaint Valid?
Every neighbor has the right to peaceful inhabitance in their homes. However, every neighbor will have a different idea of what peaceful means. Your tenant may have been causing an disturbance; but it is also possible that your tenant was just going about their daily lives.
There are a few different ways to determine if a complaint is valid. Some areas have a cap on noise decibel levels and if your tenants has exceeded the cap, then they are in the wrong. If there is no legal cap, there is always common sense to determine if your tenant was being rowdy or if their neighbor was being fussy.
How Many Complaints Were There?
If there was one stray noise complaint, then you may not have anything to worry about. The problem is when you are getting several, from different sources. This is an indication that you may need to speak with your tenant about the problem. When you speak to your tenant, try to find a solution. In some situations, it may be as simple as making the space more soundproof or agreeing to an hour when noisy activities need to end.
Unfortunately, there might be times when a tenant will continue with their noisy behavior. If they cannot agree to a solution and complaints continue to file in, it may be time to evict.
How Can I Prepare for Noise?
It is possible to stop noise problems from happening before you receive complaints. While soundproofing the entire rental property may not be reasonable, placing noise protection clauses in your lease is. There are several ways you can do this such as including a quiet hours clause in your lease. If a tenant breaks the lease terms, you can act according to the clause.
Another way to stop noise complaints from coming in before your tenant moves in is to screen them. During the screening process, you can find out if your prospective tenants have a history of noise complaints against them.