A noise complaint is the most reported problem for tenants renting a property, these complaints have increased during the current pandemic when tenants have been at home a lot more during lockdown due to the Coronavirus situation. With people unable to work, and when the schools were closed, this led to tenants and neighbours possibly being at home much more than they would normally be and of course, has then led to increased noise levels which some people may not be used too. Failure of the landlord to take action can violate a tenant’s right to live quietly and peacefully in a place free from unreasonable disturbances.
Noise can be caused by anything from loud neighbours to railway proximity. Here are some common noise complaints and ways a landlord can handle these properly:
- Noisy dogs
Excessive barking, whining or howling are a common reason for complaints. The landlord should first talk to the dog owner to express his or her concern. But if the problem persists, it is best to contact the local authority’s dog warden service. In some cases, the RSPCA should be informed.
- Noise from parties
The Environmental Protection Act does not contain any clause that indicates when music cannot be played or what hours are considered night-time. However, the landlord can include information in the Tenancy Agreement as to when music can and cannot be played. Tenants must always ensure to check their tenancy agreement and ensure they comply accordingly.
A person who is experiencing excessive or unreasonable noise from frequent parties can contact the Noise and Nuisance team or the Environmental Protection Team of their local council. More likely, the local authority will request that the person responsible reduces the noise caused to other residents or community.
- Noisy tenants or the tenants’ visitors
- The landlord should include in the Tenancy Agreement a clause that his/her tenants must agree not to make unreasonable noise or nuisance that can cause stress to neighbours and the community.
- If your tenants or the tenants’ visitors are disturbing the neighbours the first step is to encourage your neighbour to try discussing the concern with the person responsible.
- If the neighbour has already tried talking to your tenant, or they are unwilling to try, then you as the landlord should try to approach your tenant and discuss their concerns. Respectfully ask what activities caused the noise and try to help him/her think of ways to resolve the problem.
- If the problem tenant or visitor is unapproachable, then it would be best to use a mediator or ‘go-between’. A mediator will listen to both sides of the story and will try to solve the concern.
- If nothing has changed after, the next step is to send your tenant a copy of the Tenancy Agreement, with the highlighted noise clause and the consequences if they breach that clause (which is a possible eviction).
It is important to take note that the law gives the landlord the right to take action against excessive or unreasonable noise or nuisance caused by tenants or the tenants’ visitors. Under the terms of the tenancy, a landlord can deal with this problem by applying to the courts to evict the tenant.
- If the problem continues, request for your neighbour’s help. The neighbour will maintain a diary of days and times that the noise is happening, any observed patterns and what they think is the main source of the noise. It would be helpful also if for them to use audio recording equipment as evidence. All these pieces of evidence should be presented to the Environmental Health Department (EHD) at the Local Authority, they have a duty to deal with any noise that they consider as a ‘statutory nuisance.’ The identity of your neighbour will be kept confidential with the EHD.
- Upon the evaluation of the EHD, if they too decide that the noise is too loud and the tenants are not willing to resolve it, you can take the necessary legal steps to terminate the tenancy.
Ultimately, being a successful landlord requires a great deal of time and energy. Opting to get the full service of a letting agency will free up your time from the day-to-day management and handling of common tenant problems. Contact us to find out more about our services.