Noisy tenants and the complaining neighbours that go alongside them are every landlord’s nightmare, but is it really your issue to deal with? Essentially the answer is no, you are not responsible for the noise your tenants may make. That said it often pays to try to resolve noise related issues amicably if at all possible.
I recently let one of my properties to a young couple and had no issues at all for the first four months, rent paid on time and the three month maintenance visit revealed my flat looking better than ever, perfect. Shortly after that visit I received a call from the lady who owns the flat below complaining that my previously perfect tenants had turned amateur DJ overnight and were driving her insane with late night bass booming through the ceiling.
I called my tenants and spoke with them about the complaint explaining that specialised music equipment would be far louder than a standard iPod dock and that at 3am it wasn’t really acceptable behaviour in a shared period conversion property. I was very pleasantly surprised by the response I received, completely understanding and rational; job done! A quick phone call to the lady downstairs to say my tenants were very understanding and the noise issue wouldn’t happen again and I considered the whole matter done and dusted…
Not the case as it turned out, within the week I had the same complaint of late night music noise coming through to me. Unfortunately it seemed my tenant had no real intention of changing their behaviour and the complaints from downstairs just kept on coming. I then spoke with my tenant again calmly explaining that the other residents within the property had a right to quiet enjoyment and that should this issue continue and be taken to the council I would be within my rights as landlord to terminate their tenancy agreement. A few weeks after this conversation I checked in with downstairs to check up on the situation, I was informed that no music noise from my tenants had been heard after 9pm which was far more reasonable.
As a landlord dealing with noise issues is always a tricky business, on one hand you don’t want to alienate your tenants and cause them to leave; after all they are paying to live in your property and they must be able to live as they wish and see fit within reason. On the other hand dealing with constant complaints can become stressful and highly time consuming. Usually the best strategy to start with is to try and get both parties to talk about the noise issues and air their views; normally rational tenants can make slight adjustments which resolve the issues without any further problems. Occasionally this will not be the case. In situations where complaints regarding your tenants escalate to involve the council and verbal conversations are not producing results it may be worth considering a formal letter warning that if the problem is not resolved you will be forced to end the tenancy under a Section 8 notice, ground 12.
Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings