Snoring is causing tenant tension - can I help?

Question

A new tenant has just moved into my property, and according to my other tenants he has a snoring problem - what can I do, it's causing real issues?

Answer

What an awkward situation. It can’t be much fun for anyone in the property at the moment, a lack of sleep, combined with a housemates at war will not be making for a happy breakfast table.

It’s a tricky subject to broach without causing embarrassment, so your first step might be speaking to the new tenant about it in private. Try to ascertain whether it is a problem that they have experienced before, or if it could be down to factors that have changed in the move – new pillows, or bed perhaps? This has two purposes, firstly, it could promote an easy fix to the problem, but secondly it is important to ascertain whether the snoring is a pre-existing medical condition.

If the snoring is caused by a medical condition – many people suffer from conditions to which snoring is a side effect, sleep apnea for example – your options with regards to how you handle the situation are limited. Since the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 came into force, it has been illegal for landlords to treat disabled tenants less favourably than nondisabled tenants because of their disability, without justification. No matter how frustrated your other tenants may feel about the nocturnal noises, you would not be able to ask this poor tenant to leave the household on the grounds of their snoring – you’d be at risk of breaching the Disability Discrimination Act.

Instead, it would be wise to consider how best to manage the noise. Start in the tenant’s room first:

  • Is the bed next to a wall that adjoins another tenant’s bedroom? Can it be moved
  • Can you rework the layout of the property – can a living space become a bedroom to separate people even further?
  • Does the bedroom have a wooden floor? Sound vibrations are muffled better by carpet, so consider fitting a carpet if there isn’t one already
  • Noise-proof studding is an option. You can purchase installation designed to minimise noise escaping a room, however this is a fairly expensive option, and it may be better to explore all other options first.

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