Tenant is complaining of a noisy neighbour. Can I help?
I own two flats, one on top of the other in a block. I have had complaints from one set of tenants that the other set is causing undue levels of noise, and are disturbing their ability to live peacefully in their property. What do I do, how do I appease both sets of tenants?
This is a bit of a tricky situation – noise issues can be a difficult situation to address, especially if you are dealing with families.
According to ARLA Propertymark, you have a few options available to address this issue.
The first thing you could try is simply to have a chat with the ‘noisy’ tenant. Somethings the ‘softly softly’ approach can be all that is needed! Mention that you have been contacted about noise issues (maybe don’t mention who has contacted you!) and ask the tenant if they can think of anything they might be doing that could be causing undue noise. They might have a valid explanation, and be able to prevent the issue arising again. Alternatively, they may have been unaware that they were causing distress.
If this approach doesn’t work, make sure to check your tenancy agreement – some have a clause stating that the tenant is ‘not to cause a disturbance’. If this has been continually broken you would have grounds to serve a Section 8 notice. However, do consider if you issue the Section 8 notice when a quiet word would have sufficed, you risk losing a tenant from your property.
Given that you are involved with both tenants, you could refuse to get involved with the dispute, and direct the tenant who has reported the disturbance to the relevant council authorities. The tenant could make a complain to the council, but they will have to obtain string proof of the noise over the course of a few weeks in order for the council to take action against the ‘noisy’ tenant. If the council get involved, they are likely to get involved with a noise abatement order.
If an abatement order is issued, the noisy tenant would receive a letter requesting them to stop making a noise nuisance, or face further legal action. If the abatement order is broken, they could be fined up to £5,000.
Noises that the council would take seriously include:
• Loud music
• Barking dogs
• Vehicles, machinery or equipment in the street (for example, music from car stereos)
Statutory noise nuisance laws don’t apply to noise from:
• Traffic or planes (they do apply to model planes)
• Political demonstrations and demonstrations about a cause
• Premises occupied by the armed forces or visiting forces
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