24 Sep Noise Compliant
How to Handle a Noisy Tenant
A noise complaint is one of the most common complaints a landlord will get. In fact, one of the most common noise complaints that landlords deal with, is noise from pets. From a dog barking until dawn and beyond to a loud party being held at one of your rentals, the right to quiet enjoyment is at the heart of all noise complaints. Not to mention in San Diego there are also noise ordinance laws everyone must abide by.
While there are endless ways to create noise, when it comes to a noise complaint about one of your tenants, you must do all you can to resolve a noise complaint quickly. That’s because, when noise occurs on a rental property, it can cost a landlord time and money. For this reason, being proficient at handling noise complaints is a skill you should seek. With this in mind, we offer some insight on what you should consider when receiving a noise compliant about one of your tenants.
Please Note: this information is not intended to be a substitute for qualified legal advice.
First: Determine if the Noise Compliant is Valid
Being a landlord involves a great deal of responsibility. From rental maintenance to responding to all complaints and concerns, before you confront your tenant, find out if the nature of the noise complaint is valid. In other words, noise is everywhere. Sometimes there can be a grey area on what constitutes normal everyday sound levels. On the other hand, unreasonable disturbances like excessive ongoing noise violates a person’s right to quiet enjoyment.
Normal daily activities like opening kitchen cabinets or walking on hardwood floors, make noise. Yet, sometimes other tenants often complain about these noises. The fact is, multifamily living is not the right fit for everyone. That’s because, some tenants are simply too sensitive to noise. While the guidelines for determining when noise is excessive are situation specific, here are some questions to consider during your investigation:
Investigating a Noise Complaint, Factors to Consider:
- What time did the noise occur?
- How long did it last?
- Was this the first time it happened?
- Is the noise compliant coming from a single source or are multiple tenants complaining?
- Has the noise been documented officially?
- How often are the noise complaints filed?
- Have you heard the noise yourself?
- Is the noise disturbance a normal activity like walking, talking, or cooking?
Second: Determine if the Noise is Excessive
In San Diego, there are limits on noise decibel levels, so your tenants should not exceed them. Because most rental properties are subject to noise laws in San Diego County, it would be wise to measure the noise level to see if it exceeds the applicable limit. According to the City of San Diego, noise which is disturbing, excessive or offensive, which causes discomfort or annoyance to any reasonable person of normal sensitiveness, is illegal.
For this reason, specific decibel limits have been set that range from 50 decibels to 60 decibels within residential areas. Depending on the type of residential area and the time of day, your tenant could not only be violating your lease agreement (noise policy), but also the law. So, respond to a noise compliant immediately no matter what!
Third: Address the Noise Complaint
A noisy tenant can negatively affect the quality of life of your other tenants. Although addressing a noise complaint can be a challenge, you must deal with it quickly. So, start by informing the noisy tenant about the complaint and what they must do to resolve it. Next, share your plan of action such as issuing a waring for example. After that, let the tenant who complained know that you spoke to the noisy neighbor.
If the excessive noise does not stop, the best plan of action is to enforce your rules and regulations about noise levels and quiet hours. This may entail a plan of action that includes a verbal and written waring, followed by a notice to quit. What ever your plan of action is, make sure to resolve noise complaints quickly and decisively.
Be Proactive: Reduce Noise Complaints with a Clause
The more tenants you have, the more likely you will have to deal with noise complaints. For this reason, it’s wise to protect yourself from noise problems by including a noise, or quiet hours, clause in the lease agreement. By setting clear expectations about noise levels and quiet hours, it will enable you to resolve noise complaints quickly. That’s because noise policies usually specify things like penalties for violation like a fine or worse, eviction. After all, a clause is there for a reason; if the noisy tenant signed the lease agreement, the consequences are clear.
A rental property is a community, and the people who live in it need to be respectful of one another. As a landlord, your job is keeping the peace among your tenants. While some of them may have different noise tolerances, by including a noise policy in your lease, you can save yourself time and money. Though noise policies are used to deter loud bothersome behavior, there is still a possibility you will have to deal with a disruptive tenant. For this reason, you may want to consider hiring a property management company to help you.
Often, a property manager begins managing a rental property when issues with tenants arise. So, whether you are interested in changing management companies, or simply looking to hire one for the first time, we can help. We take care of all types of residential rental properties including homes, condos, multi-family dwellings such as duplex and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. It’s time to stop stressing and let us manage your rental properties, so you can enjoy life! Get started today by calling us at (858) 576-2176 and start saving time, money, and the stress that comes along with managing your own rentals.