Dealing With Noise Complaints

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Managing a rental property comes with a number of responsibilities, including dealing with noise complaints. Tenants’ concerns about disruptive noise can be challenging to handle, but dealing with these issues promptly and professionally is critical to preserving a positive landlord-tenant relationship

Bigham & Associates put together this article to help hands-off and DIY landlords find successful ways to deal with noise concerns.

How to Respond to and Evaluate a Noise Complaint

When presented with a noise complaint, the first step is to assess the situation objectively. This entails obtaining information regarding the kind and frequency of the noise, its occurrence hours, and any specific specifics provided by the complaining tenant.

Remember that noise sensitivity varies between people, so what is bearable to one tenant may be disruptive to another.

Timely and meaningful communication is also critical. Begin by acknowledging your tenant’s concerns and empathizing with them. Investigate the problem as soon as possible by speaking with both the complaining tenant and the alleged source of the noise. Gather information from both parties to develop a complete picture of the situation.

Factors to Consider When Dealing With Noise Complaints

When dealing with noise complaints as a landlord, it’s critical to consider a variety of criteria to guarantee a fair and successful settlement. Here are five important considerations:

1. Number of Complainants

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The number of people who report the noise is an important issue to consider. When numerous renters complain about the same source of noise, it indicates a larger problem that may require quick treatment. However, if only one tenant routinely files complaints, it may be worthwhile to conduct additional research to better understand the dynamics at play.

2. Personal Observation

Have you personally heard the reported noise? Your knowledge of the kind and severity of the disruption can be extremely useful. If you’ve personally heard the noise, it provides weight to the claim and supports the importance of a resolution.

3. Frequency of Complaints

Determine the frequency of noise complaints to determine the severity of the problem. A single complaint may be an isolated incident; however, frequent complaints indicate a persistent problem that must be addressed systematically. Understanding the noise disturbance pattern aids in developing an effective reaction. 

4. Official Documentation

Check to see if the noise complaints have been officially recorded. Written complaints or log entries, for example, serve as concrete proof that can be useful when resolving disagreements. Encourage tenants to document noise disturbances, including the date, time, and specifics of each incidence.

5. Nature of the Noise

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Distinguish between typical living noise and disturbing noise. Consider whether the presumed noise disturbance is a normal, daily activity like talking, walking, or cooking. Certain noises, like footfalls or casual talks, may be inherent in communal living and may not violate lease agreements. 

Understanding the nature of the noise aids in establishing reasonable expectations and distinguishing between true interruptions and routine activity.

What to Do When a Complaint is Valid

When a noise complaint is found to be valid, landlords must act quickly and effectively to resolve the concerns stated by the aggrieved tenant. Here are some tips on what to do if you receive a genuine noise complaint:

1. Insulate

If the noise problem is caused by outside factors, such as street noise or nearby homes, investing in insulation may be a good idea. Improve the insulation of walls and ceilings to reduce the influence of outside noise. It may be necessary to add weather stripping to doors and windows, seal gaps, or install soundproofing materials. 

Landlords can create a more peaceful living environment by reinforcing the house against external noise. 

2. Change Windows

To reduce noise transmission, consider adding double-paned or laminated windows to your property. Communicate these upgrades to renters clearly, highlighting that they’re being implemented in response to their concerns. Providing a more peaceful living environment improves tenant happiness and adds to the overall appeal of the rental.

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3. Upgrade Floors

If the noise issue is about sounds within the structure, such as footsteps or other impact noises, changing the flooring could make a big difference. To absorb and attenuate sound, use carpets, area rugs, or acoustic underlayment. This not only fixes the current issue but also contributes to an overall improvement in the property’s acoustics.

4. Address Tenant Behavior

Engage in a positive conversation with the responsible renter to address the behavior or activities that are generating the noise. Explain the nature of the complaint in detail, using examples if required. Discuss realistic noise-reduction strategies, such as changing quiet hours, employing headphones, or shifting activities to less disruptive areas. 

To avoid recurrences, establish clear expectations for future behavior.

What to Do When a Complaint Isn’t Valid

When a noise complaint is unfounded, landlords must take proactive steps to promote a positive living environment and avoid future misunderstandings. Consider the following two specific actions:

Establish Quiet Hours

Quiet hours should indicate a fair time frame during which renters are expected to maintain low noise levels.

To set clear expectations for all tenants, clearly outline these quiet hours in community guidelines or lease agreements. Doing so builds a structured framework that promotes a calm living environment and reduces the likelihood of dispute.

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Implement a Thorough Tenant Screening Process

Developing a thorough tenant screening procedure is critical to ensuring that future tenants meet noise community standards. Update your screening process to incorporate noise tolerance, lifestyle compatibility, and adherence to community guidelines. 

Thoroughly screening potential renters can help create a more peaceful living environment and lessen the chance of future noise-related issues.

Bottom Line

Resolving noise concerns as a landlord involves balancing renters’ desires with the reality of community living. When a noise complaint is raised, it’s critical to take immediate and focused action to address tenant behavior, improve insulation, and maintain excellent tenant relations.

Bigham & Associates provides experience and devoted support to landlords seeking professional assistance in reducing noise complaints and maintaining positive tenant relationships. Contact Bigham & Associates immediately and let us help you create a comfortable and serene environment for your tenants!