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Agony Agent

20th May 2017

Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners.  Agony Agent, is here to help!

Q: I have been reading your articles and need your help.  My tenants keep making noise and the other residents keep calling me complaining, please can you offer some advice.

A: Sometimes, no matter how thoroughly you check your tenants, they can become the tenants from hell.  One of the biggest issues landlords have is when their tenants start to annoy their often long-established neighbours.  Whilst landlords aren’t actually responsible for the noise their tenants make, it’s always a good idea to try and ‘keep the peace’.

So, what can you do if your tenants are disturbing others?

Firstly, include in your tenancy agreements a clause where your tenants must agree not to make unnecessary noise or nuisance that may result in stress being caused to residents.

I have made a list of best practice when it comes to advising your tenants about noise:

  • Place music systems and televisions on rubber mats or carpet to help absorb sound
  • Avoid placing sound emitting appliances next to shared walls
  • Check the time of day chosen to carry out housework, DIY and gardening
  • Limit noise at unsociable hours – 11pm to 7am
  • Avoid leaving dogs barking and disturbing the residents
  • Inform residents if they are to carry out disruptive DIY work such as drilling, hammering etc
  • Let residents know if they intend to have a party or bonfire
  • If going out or returning home late at night take extra care not to disturb residents through loud voices and slamming of doors

If the residents have complained about your tenants being too noisy, then I would suggest firstly to encourage the residents to take it up with your tenant; you are not legally liable for your tenant’s noise.

If they have tried this approach, or are unwilling to try, then you should try and communicate with your tenant regarding the noise complaint.  Ask them what activities caused the disturbance.  Be understanding, listen to their story, and try to help them come up with a solution.

If this doesn’t make a difference then send them a copy of the tenancy agreement highlighting the noise clause and the repercussions if they breach that clause.

If they persist, enlist the residents’ help.  They will need to keep a diary of days and times that the noise is occurring, any patterns and what they feel is the main cause of the noise.  If they are willing to use audio recording equipment to build evidence, they should do this, which will help their argument in the long run.

The next step is to present all the evidence to the Environmental Health Department (EHD) in the Local Authority.  By law, the local authorities have a duty to deal with any noise that they consider to be what’s known as a ‘statutory nuisance’.

The EHD will then assess the situation with all the proper evidence to hand, if they too decide the noise is too loud and the tenants aren’t willing to do anything about it, you can take the necessary steps to terminate the tenancy.  That will involve serving notice on the grounds of too much noise and anti-social behaviour.

We offer an eviction service, so if you need help with this or any other issues please contact me.

Richard Bond

Lettings Manager

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