NOISE & NUISANCE:
Most standard rental and lease agreements have a clause entitled “Quiet Enjoyment.” This clause gives tenants the right to live in their rental property in peace and quiet. The tenant also has the responsible for not disturbing the neighbors as well. Noise can create more problems between tenants and the landlord must enforce the terms of the agreement. The situation can deteriorate into conflict, tenants and neighbor complaints, pounding on the ceiling or stomping on the floors, calls to the police followed by louder noise when the police have gone, other retaliation in one form or another.
Landlords are normally not responsible for the noise of third parties, however, if the landlord rented to the third party that is doing the disturbance, then the landlord needs to take action that may result in an eviction. The “Quiet Enjoyment” clause exists wither it is stated or not in the written lease If there is no covenant of quiet enjoyment written into the lease, a Small Claims Court will consider the clause to be there as implied.
Landlords’ habit of properly screening new tenants. Tenant Screening can provide insight as to which of them may become a nuisance or cause excessive noise. Landlords may not want to reject the prospective tenant simply because of these issues. Proceed with caution: if the landlord would like to place the new tenant in a rental they may want to place them in a unit where noise will be less of an issue. Perhaps a secluded rental or one near other potentially noisy tenants would be a better location for these tenants. A landlord may not want to put a group of college students next to a family with small children or near an elderly, retired couple. Landlords should make the rules vary clear upon entry to the rental property. Such tenants are much more likely to respond positively to a landlord who approaches such situations with care as opposed to abrasiveness so it is important that landlords deal politely with all tenants. Tenants may feel that they are being harassed because another tenant or a neighbor has been complaining about the noise level coming from their unit. They may feel the complainer is unreasonable or overly sensitive. It is important for the Landlord to deal with the situation in a diplomatic way and maintain good relations with the tenants as well as the neighbors.
Landlords have a duty to keep the structure, exterior and other parts of the rental unit/building in good repair, Maintenance & Repairs and to give the tenants the benefit of quiet enjoyment of the property. The Landlord should not allow the rental to fall into a poor condition which can constitute a statutory nuisance.
Tenants have a duty to take care of the property. The tenant must also ensure that neither his activities nor those of his visitors should cause damage to the property or disturbance to other tenants and/or neighbors who also have the benefit of “Quiet Enjoyment”. If the tenant breaks these rules, the landlord can apply to a small claims court for possession.
TENANTS WITH CHILDREN:
Tenants and landlords should know the State Law for noise when applying to children. Normal “kid noise”, such as a baby crying or kids playing is protected under Federal and State Fair Housing (anti-discrimination) law. Families who have children cannot be penalized for noise that arises from children’s’ normal activity.
NOISE & NUISANCE EXAMPLE’S:
- Air Conditioning Units
- Construction Noise
- Road Repairs and Construction
- Odors and Fumes
- Noisy Dogs
- Noise from parties
- Statutory Nuisance
- A high volume of noise, (parties, music, radios etc).
- Loud sounds emitted from equipment, motor vehicles or machinery.
- Rubbish being dumped.
- Toxic fumes (gas, smoke or other odors).
- Noisy dogs or other types of pets.
- Unclean environment or overcrowded conditions.
It is important for landlords to handle noise and statutory nuisance in a timely fashion, If as a landlord you feel uncomfortable talking with tenants and/or neighbors, or talking hasn’t worked in the past, try writing the tenant or neighbor a letter.
TIPS ON WRITING A LETTER:
- Be calm and polite
- Document the specific incidences of noise
- Negotiate a compromise, if possible
- Keep a copy of the letter!
The tenant or landlord should not try to fight fire with fire. Don’t start blasting loud music to retaliate, this may only encourage confrontation, tenant against tenant landlord. The landlord would not want to be nasty to the neighbors or tenants at any point, always try to be friendly. As a tenant, don’t call the police unless you have contacted the landlord and the landlord agrees that the noise is excessively loud.
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