Being a landlord requires you to take on many responsibilities. You're in charge of making repairs to the property, collecting rent, handling complaints from tenants as well as overseeing many other day-to-day tasks.
Dealing with noise concerns is a common issue you could encounter. Landlords are accountable for addressing and resolving noise complaints made by their tenants or about their tenants.
Tenants or non-tenants may accuse one another of making excessive noise, and the investigation to ascertain whether the complaint of a disturbance is true can take a long time.
Since noise might interfere with a tenant's right to quietly enjoy the premises, it may be necessary to step in. You should be aware that the right to quiet enjoyment is recognized under the law and should therefore be taken seriously.
But how do you go about addressing noise complaints? The following are the necessary actions for a landlord to take in response to a noise complaint.
Assess the Complaint
Before moving forward with a response, it's critical to determine the legitimacy and seriousness of a grievance.
If there is a cap on noise decibel levels, landlords should verify with the local, state, and federal laws to determine if renters are prohibited from exceeding the limit and what penalties are associated with the violation.
Before approaching the tenant, you should determine the specifics of the complaint. Making noise is acceptable to some extent because tenants are free to go about their daily activities. Here are various scenarios where a noise complaint might occur:
No matter the time of day, hearing noise in the unit above you is typical in buildings with multiple levels. However, it’s appropriate to file a complaint if these noises are occurring louder than is necessary and during the late hours of the night.
Couples and families are bound to have disagreements, but loud arguments or even boisterous conversations that goes on every night is unacceptable.
A dinner party with some soft music on the weekend or hosting a few guests around for supper from time to time are certainly not grounds for complaints. However, administrative measures should be employed if a tenant regularly hosts loud parties that last late into the evening hours.
Dogs constantly barking, cats meowing, or birds chirping in a pet-friendly building are expected. These noises occurring nonstop throughout the day and night are not, though.
Animals don’t make consistent noise without a reason, so check in with your tenant's pet to make sure everything is all right. As the landlord, you will especially need to look into the problem and assume control if a pet is making noise in a building where they are not allowed.
If the Complaint Cannot be Upheld
Inform the individual who filed the complaint if the noise isn't coming from your tenant or if they are not the problem. Inform them that after investigating the circumstance and learning more about the incident, you have not found any evidence to support the validity of the complaint.
Make sure to provide sufficient proof and keep records all communication.
If the Grievance Is Valid
If indeed the allegation is legitimate, the response you give should reflect how grave the issue is. When a tenant invites some guests over one night and it accidentally becomes a little boisterous, it simply warrants a warning.
On the other hand, if the issue persists or is severe enough, you might need to remove the tenant in accordance with the legal eviction process.
Steps for Resolving Noise Complaints
The following are the steps to take when addressing a noise complaint:
Demand Changes from the "Loud" Party
If you have previously included a noise provision in the rental agreement, taking this step will be easier because you can simply tell the disruptive tenant that they're already in violation of their lease.
Since there can be another side to the story, be sure to talk courteously to all parties involved in the complaint and give them the chance to defend themselves. Remind them that should the violation keep happening, they have the right to begin the legal eviction process.
Reach Out to a Mediator
You might need to speak with a trained mediator to find a solution if the person in question won't make any adjustments or engage in respectful dialogue with you.
This could be especially helpful if the person causing the disruption is not your tenant. Make sure you pick a reputable, knowledgeable professional, and arrive at the discussion with an unbiased view.
File Noise Complaints to Your Local Authority
You might be able to submit a formal grievance and obtain a noise-abatement warrant by contacting your neighborhood Environmental Health Department.
This route may be especially beneficial if you failed to add a noise clause in your leasing agreement, although it’s also relevant if your renters have complained about other neighborhood residents making noise.
You might be within your rights to evict the renter if they are the cause of consistent noise complaints. However, this may only be applicable if the tenancy agreement contains a noise clause and you can demonstrate that the clause has been broken repeatedly.
It’s always important to address these issues to make sure that your rental accommodation is a pleasant place to live in and to develop strong relationships with your tenants and others in your community.
You might be able to prevent any noise complaints in your rental accommodation by properly screening renters, putting a noise provision in your tenancy agreement, and insulating your building.
From what has been detailed above, you can appreciate the challenges that come with self-property management. The trusted team at Schambs Property Management can assist you in managing your investment property in Wake County, North Carolina. Contact us today to learn more about our quality property management services!