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How to Respond to a Noise Complaint as a Landlord



Noisy tenants not only create a local disturbance in the area, but their activity can also get local law enforcement involved. It’s not important where the source of the noise comes from - it could be loud music, screaming, home improvement, or barking dogs.


In most cases, it is difficult to resolve noise complaints because:


  • They usually occur at night

  • It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the noise

  • Efforts to negotiate a resolution aren’t always going to work


Perhaps the complaining tenant is being unreasonable with their expectations of what it means to have a quiet place.


The Right to A Quiet Life


Tenants are entitled to live free from noise disturbances - as long as they are unreasonably loud. If the noise is excessive and persistent, it could lead to a noise complaint and an investigation by local law enforcement.


It’s better for all parties to walk away from this experience without pursuing legal proceedings. Unfortunately, some negotiations end up escalating into a dispute and become a bigger problem.


This is why it is important for landlords to approach the situation empathetically. A certain degree of emotional intelligence is required to handle the noise complaint effectively without making your tenant, and the complainant feel bad.


Below are a few best practices to consider when responding to noise complaints.


Respond Immediately


Act quickly to noise complaints. This is important because you’ll be able to witness the noise yourself. Responding right away will help you decide whether the disturbance warrants action from your end. Your primary goal is to prevent tempers from flaring without offending either party.


Provide Solutions


Neighbors who raise complaints are usually at their wit’s end - and you’ll need to leverage an understanding of human psychology to rein the complainant in. Start by showing empathy to the complainant. Let them know that you are aware of their pains and fully understand that the noise is disrupting their daily life.


Tell them that you will intervene, and if you have enough rapport with them, offer suggestions to minimize the impact of the noise. For example, run a white noise machine to block the noise from outside, run a fan, or move the furniture to quieter rooms of the rental unit. If nothing else works, you can try shifting the complainant to a different apartment (if you own a multi-unit apartment).


In rare cases, you may have to make threats of eviction if your tenants continue to make a noise disturbance.


Craft an Air-Tight Lease


The lease agreement can be very effective at handling most noise complaints. All you have to do is remind the tenants that they are breaching the terms of their lease agreement. This will help the complaining tenant as well as the offending tenant.

For this to work, your lease needs to be as crystal clear as possible. The more details you include, the better.


Pro tip: Work with a property manager and an attorney to create an effective lease that minimizes your liability as a landlord.


Noise Proof the Property


You can minimize noise complaints by properly insulating the rental unit. For example, you should add a soft layer on the floor (with thick carpeting). It’s worth mentioning that fitting carpets are more affordable than hard floors that are prone to making noise.


Pro tip: Double pane windows are highly effective at isolating noise from your rental unit. In addition, you can add noise-blocking plants such as pines, hollies, and spruces. That should take care of most noise complaints and make your property look more aesthetically appealing.


Dealing With Music and Parties


Loud music and parties in the wee hours of the night are bound to get on everyone’s nerves. If you are getting noise complaints of this type, you should ask the tenant to be more responsible about the timing of the loud music. Instruct them to turn the ruckus down after 10 PM because people have work the next day.


Remember: Always Remain Calm


It is important to stay calm during negotiations and stay emotionally detached yet empathetic about the situation. Be patient when the complainant is ranting at you, and never overreact if they are getting emotional.


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