As a landlord, noise complaints can be one of the most stressful and complex issues to handle when renting a property. Whether the noise is coming from the neighbours or within your own tenanted home, handling these complaints quickly and effectively is crucial to ensure a peaceful and happy rental experience for everyone involved. Additionally, tenancy disputes can arise from noise complaints, so it's essential to understand your responsibilities.
Here, we addresses what to do if you receive a noise complaint, tips to address noise caused by your tenants, and how to avoid noise disputes during the tenancy.
Causes of Noise Complaints
Many factors can contribute to noise complaints. Some of the most common causes include:
- Loud music or television
- Barking dogs or other noisy pets
- Construction or renovation projects
- Noisy neighbours
- Appliances or equipment that produce a loud noise
Receiving a Noise Complaint as a Landlord
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, and the Noise Act 1996, we all have the right to be protected from excessive noise that interferes with our quality of life.
In general, landlords have a legal obligation to provide tenants with a quiet and peaceful living environment. This means taking reasonable steps to address noise complaints and prevent excessive noise from occurring in the first place.
If your tenants have complained about noisy neighbours, whilst legally, landlords are not liable, it would be helpful to assist your tenants in order to maintain a positive relationship with them. Excessive noise can lead to sleep disturbances, stress and could make them less likely to renew their lease, so it's in your interest to help resolve.
You may wish to communicate with the neighbours causing the disturbance on behalf of your tenant if they feel less comfortable doing so. If this approach does not help, you can support your tenants in filing a complaint with the local environmental health office. Whether the noise disturbance relates to a barking dog or construction work, advise your tenants to keep a record of the noise, as evidence will be required.
Landlords can help foster a happy and long-lasting relationship with their tenants by being supportive and responsive to noise complaints.
If a property is poorly insulated, there is a greater chance that tenants will be able to hear neighbours through the walls, which can lead to noise complaints. Landlords should be mindful of this when renovating a property. Certain changes, like replacing carpets with wooden flooring, can increase noise levels, particularly in flats where tenants live above each other.
Carpets are generally better at reducing noise than hard floors, which is important to consider if the property will be rented to families with noisy pets or children.
Street Noise or Road Works
Should your tenants seek assistance in a situation involving a third party, they must file an official complaint with the Environmental Health Department of your local council.
They'll conduct an investigation, take appropriate action and have the authority to issue a notice to reduce noise levels.
Receiving a Noise Complaint About Your Tenants
Whilst landlords cannot be held accountable for their tenants' excessive noise (unless you've knowingly rented to problem tenants, or were directly involved in creating the noise), when it's your tenant causing the noise, it's wise to communicate with your tenants to try to resolve the issue.
If communicating with your tenants does not help, your neighbours may wish to contact their local environmental health authority.
A frequent reason for noise complaints is playing loud music late at night. When dealing with complaints about loud music or late-night parties, advise your tenants to ensure that any future parties are held at reasonable times, and that music is turned down after 11 pm.
Tenants should also inform their neighbours in advance about any upcoming parties and disturbances.
While occasional parties are acceptable, frequent noise complaints may require additional action.
Tips for Handling Noise Complaints Caused by Tenants
At the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, our adjudicators are established with handling disputes between landlords and tenants, and can offer expert tips to resolve many disputes before they require court action. Here are our expert tips:
- Start open communication with your tenant. It's possible that they're unaware that their behaviour is causing a disturbance. Therefore, being made aware of the problem could resolve the issue quickly.
- Document the complaint and all the communication with your tenant, including the steps taken to reduce the noise. Be sure to follow up on the complaint to check that action has been taken and the issue has been resolved.
- Include a clause in the tenancy agreement that addresses excessive noise and designated quiet hours. Usually, quiet hours are observed from 11 pm until 7 am, although they can be modified if needed. It is important to keep in mind that these quiet hours must be reasonable. Should your tenant consistently create excessive noise during the designated quiet hours, this would be in breach of their tenancy agreement.