Downstairs Neighbor complaining about noise: Landlord take these Steps

It becomes real important for a landlord to act when neighbors are complaining about noise coming from your rental apartment. Be it the noise complaint from fellow tenants in your rental or the neighbors around your property, you have to act fast.

Being a landlord, you can help the tenant complaining about noise by confronting the tenant at mistake. Suggest this tenant a plan to work up on unwanted noise. If you still feel necessary, you can give him a notice to either comply or vacate the premises.  

Landlord Remedies when Neighbors Complaining about Noise

Last month, I got an email from a tenant living in one of the rental apartment of my multifamily building. This really infuriated me and is the sole reason why I`m putting this article in place. My tenant`s complaint was for the upstairs tenant who was regularly making loud noises at night which is causing him sleepless nights.

He ardently needs a solution from these unwanted noises and wants me do something about it. Or, he wants to move out as soon as possible from the rental unit. If you are on the same page and occurred to a similar kind of problem, then you would definitely like reading this complete article.

But before that, let me also share with you another important piece of information. As, you know everyone has a right to quiet enjoyment. And causing a disruption into which can run a landlord into trouble even if it is your tenant`s mistake. Not acting on complain about noise, you can face these troubles.

  1. Formal Complaint from HOA`s
  2. Complaint about noise to Police
  3. Vacancies from other Tenants
  4. Heavy Fines

Now that you want to solve this problem real fast, let me tell you how I acted on this downstairs tenant complaint about noise. And, what measures I took to resolve it without the need of him leaving the apartment. So, let’s get started.

Give Assurance

The tenant had entered into an agreement with you where you are liable for providing him uninterrupted stay which also includes covenant to quite enjoyment. So it becomes your responsibility to take the needful steps and assure your tenant that you will solve this problem.

Your tenant should know that his complaint is going to be taken seriously and will not get ignored. You will stay in touch with him until you reach the end of this problem. The tenant needs to have faith in you and understand that there is a solution to this problem.

In my case, I asked my tenant to furnish a written complaint explaining the problem in detail. You should know what time this noise disturbances occurred and what kind of noises were coming from the upstairs tenant`s apartment?

Tenant complaining about noise
Tenant Furnished Written Complain about Noise

Gather Proofs

It is always good if you can gather some proofs of the disturbing noises. Luckily my downstairs tenant had recorded the noises coming from the upstairs tenant`s apartment. It was the sound of excessively loud music. The tenant living upstairs was having a party with his 3-4 friends at 2 am.

Having proofs, you can take needful actions without a delay. You can easily understand what kind of actions should be taken and whether or not solution can be done peacefully? An occasional party can be neglected and tenants can mutually solve this by talking to each other.

But this time, it is different and needs my urgent attention. I decided to confront the upstairs tenant and listen to his part of the story as well.  It is not wise and you certainly can`t take action by just listening to one side of story.

Evaluating the Noise Complaint

It is not required that you confront the tenant at mistake all the time. Not every complain about noise needs your attention. There are few issues your tenants and neighbors can solve mutually by talking to each other. Better let your tenants solve the noise issue if it has occurred due to

  • An Occasional evening party that ended before 11 pm. You should intervene if there are regular late night loud parties going on in the apartment.
  • Two partners having a loud argument over something which doesn`t happen regularly.
  • The Neighbor`s occasionally Barking Dog.
  • Sound of walking on the floor which might be disturbing the downstairs Tenant. However, you should not neglect the sound of someone jumping on the floor.

Everyone has a personal life and they have the right of living their life on their own terms. You shouldn`t then take any action without evaluating the noise complaint. The complaint you have got should have a solid base and then only you should go and confront the tenant at mistake.

Well in my case, the upstairs tenant was not disturbing the peace first time. The downstairs tenant has the proof of disturbing noises coming from the upstairs tenant`s apartment every now and then.

Not only, he was disturbing the peace of other tenant`s of the building but also of the neighbors living nearby my rental building. So, it then becomes important that I should go and confront this tenant at mistake.

However, if the tenant is complaining about noise for the first time. You can simply send a letter to faulty tenant notifying about his mistake and ask him to keep noise levels reasonably minimum.

Confronting the Faulty tenant

Confrontation is all about conveying your tenant about his fault and not at all about making him leave immediately. There is a solid chance you can work up with this tenant and rectify the issue of disturbing noises.

The need is to solve the problem and not creating the vacancy by making the tenant to leave. Certainly, you should ask the tenant to leave if he is unable to control his disturbing behavior. But at this time, you need to listen to his side of story as well.

You should ask your tenant whether he is aware about the trouble he is creating to other residents or neighbors. Has any of the neighbor or fellow resident in the building had approached him for making unwanted noises? There is a chance, he is not yet aware of the trouble he was causing to other people.

Suggesting the Plan

If the upstairs tenant wasn`t aware of this earlier and now wants to rectify his mistake. Suggest him ways to control the unwanted noises and control his disturbing behavior. The idea here is not to ask the tenant to shut up but figuring out the way that he can do his activities and still not disturb others.

For this, I thought of having the tenants sit together and work out some plan on this. So I called an up an open meeting where I had invited both the upstairs tenant and the downstairs tenant along with other tenants of my rental building that were complaining about noise. Together they worked out and found a plan

  • Try to avoid parties after midnight.
  • Listen to music at reasonable volume.
  • Use of Headphones for listening to loud music.
  • Tenant`s What`s App Group to convey problems to each other.
  • Using Area Rugs for little sound proofing.

All in all, I found that the tenants are willing to work out with each other. They want to keep the environment happy and peaceful for them and for the others.

A Tip here is that every landlord should keep their calm in such situations. Dealing these situations with anger and rudeness will only mess things. You may even end up ruining your landlord tenant relationship.

Have an Undertaking

Great! those tenants are willing to work out things. But still, you need to be sure that the complaint about noise don`t arise again anytime soon. For that, it is important you take an undertaking from the tenant at mistake.

Undertaking for Complaining about noise
Tenant Given Undertaking

Have an undertaking that this tenant would not repeat the same mistake again. Repeating the same mistake again means violation of rental agreement and doing so, you will take actions as stated in your lease.

Mostly, all the rental agreement has a clause that states the violation of lease will lead to an immediate termination of the stay. I have this clause in my rental agreement. It is better you also review your lease once and include this clause if not present.

Change in Policies

It is very important to review your lease from time to time. There is always an opportunity to modify an existing policy or add new one based on day to day scenarios occur at your rental. Downstairs tenant complaining about noise was one such opportunity for me.

To avoid any future complaint about noise, I felt the need of adding one clause in the rental agreement. To which, I added the clause and conveyed the same to my tenants. So what is that policy, I added to the existing policies?

As you might have remembered, the upstairs tenant was having regular parties while his friends come over to his place. So, I set up a guest policy which limits the number of guests that can stay over with the tenant.

Being Creative

There is no harm in getting little creative. Sometimes becoming little creative can actually do wonders in solving big problems. Though, I don`t know how much being creative contributed in solving the noise issues. But yes I`m sure that I am not going to occur to noise complaints anytime soon.

Earlier when I was researching harmless ways to avoid tenants complaining about noise, I occur to this.

  • Change your WiFi name to something like ‘Quite Hours Running’, ‘Silence Zone’, or ‘Loud Music at your own Risk’.
  • Ask your tenants to invite other tenants if they are having a party or at least inform them that they are having one.

Taking Feedback

Taking feedback from the tenant who has made the complaint about noise is really important. You may have taken all the steps in solving problem. But what if tenant is still facing the problem? You can`t wait for this tenant to give a move out notice.

Having a feedback, you can then get assurance that problem has actually solved. Furthermore, it also shows how much you are dedicated to provide a comfortable and uninterrupted stay for your tenants.

So, I also took the feedback from the downstairs tenant. He hasn`t reported any single incident in the last month where his peace got disturbed due to unwanted noises. The Upstairs tenant really worked on his behavior. He ensured that none of his behavior annoys other tenants in the building.

To appreciate his efforts I decided to renew this tenant`s agreement without increasing the rent this year. I also did the same with the downstairs tenant as a way to make up the inconvenience caused to him during his stay.

The Bottom Line

Having tenants complaining about noise is always an annoying trip. Taking needful actions in time is what is required. Don`t ever ignore the Tenant`s complaint and think your tenants will solve on their own. Even, one of my friends Alex from Landlord Tips suggests that leaving it on tenants is the worst strategy for dealing with complaint about noises.

You are only inviting trouble for yourself and destroying your landlord business. Confrontation is what works most of the times for noise complaints. But if that is also not working, you can always ask the tenant to leave or pull eviction if he is not leaving. Always ensure you follow a proper Screening Process that can save you from lots of problem caused by Tenants.

Consider hiring a Rental Management Company, if you are having hard time managing your rental business.

3 Thoughts to “Downstairs Neighbor complaining about noise: Landlord take these Steps”

  1. Tom

    I am a tenant. Recently I had something happen from where I rent (an apartment) that didn’t make me happy. I moved into my place 4 months ago. I workout with weights and my unit is on the top floor. When I first went to the place to look and see if I wanted to live there, I asked the manager if I could workout with weights. She said it was OK as long as I don’t drop them. That was before I signed any kind of lease to move in.

    After I moved in I had done what I could in working out to make it the least disturbing to the other neighbors. I had been working out for three months. I thought I had done a great job of working out and not making it disturbing. Until just recently. I got an email from the manager at the apartment telling me that I have to modify with the noise I’m making. The manager is assuming that it’s my working out is what’s causing the noise. It was because of my downstairs neighbor complained to the manager. I never got a complaint from the downstairs neighbor.

    As of now I have halted my workout just to keep peace. I feel like I had been betrayed because I was given an approval to workout in my unit and had done so for three months without any problem. The downstairs neighbor just went to the manager and not to me; in which we could have talked it over and for a solution. And had waited three months! Also the manager told me not to speak with my downstairs neighbor about it.

    I have a lease that will last until May. For a while, after adjusting to moving into my new place, I was feeling wonderful. Now I hate it and feel bitter about it. So I hope something will happen to make me feel better.

    1. Pro Landlord

      Tom, the best resort to this problem is to ask your manager to provide the proof of the noise disturbing the neighbors.Having the proofs you can have an upper hand on the situation and you can take necessary actions if the noises are actually bothering to such an extent.

      1. Tom

        Thank you for reading my post and replying. It’s a good suggestion, but I feel like it’s easier said than done for me. For some reason I feel like the manager does not like me, even before this incident. I could be wrong, in which I hope I am, but I just have a feeling about it. And now I feel the same way about the manager just like my downstairs neighbor felt about me – fear to confront. My downstairs neighbor, who complained, is a 14 year old girl. She lives with her single mother. At first I thought it was the mother that complained, but it was the daughter. I came to that conclusion because I spoke with the daughter (I had asked for her mother at that time and the mother was not there), and then after that I got the message from the manager saying “not to speak to them”.

        I’m still depressed but I have cooled off with my bad feeling. On the lease I read (and that I had signed, of course!) it said that “any noise that causes a disturbance of peace to other neighbors are not allowed”. What’s really absurd to me are a couple of things. My workouts (it involves barbells and dumbbells) are done two to three times a week at around 5:45 PM – 6:15 PM in the bedroom. And that the apartment building is a 55+ place. The mother is 42 (that’s what I heard from a fellow neighbor) and I already said how old the daughter is.

        So I hope I clarified things more. I hope to hear from you again, if you have a suggestion or from anyone else reading this. Thanks again.

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