Managing Noise Complaints and Tenants in Rental Properties
If there is one issue that property managers are likely to hear about more than any other, it’s noise complaints. Noise complaints often go up in the summer, when windows are open and more tenants are spending time outdoors, but they can be a hassle at any time of the year. Professional property managers such as Martin Feinberg understand that doing nothing is not an option, but knowing what to do is not always clear.
Noisy tenants can be detrimental to an investment property and those who own them. They can drive good tenants away, make it difficult to attract prospective tenants, and can also sometimes even lead to police involvement.
Reliable property managers will deal with a noise complaint promptly. They will work with all tenants—both the accuser and the accused—to find a quick solution to the problem.
Typically, a one-warning system works best, especially if the noisy tenant is caught in the act by management. If a property manager receives another complaint for the same infraction, the managers need to look to their lease for remedies and then follow them. A good lease will always have clauses that deal with different infractions and outline how they will be handled.
Once the noisy tenant has been dealt with managers should always follow up with the complainant to help them feel heard and to let them know that management has not ignored the problem.
Knowing how to handle noise complaints is important, but the best way to quell noise complaints is to keep them from happening in the first place. This can be accomplished with good leasing policies.
- Find out if prospective tenants have a bad reputation for noise problemsbefore you allow them into your property.
- Anticipate the common elements of noise complaints—TV, stereos, barking dogs, guests—and set appropriate limits in your lease or house rules.
- Set a noise curfew.
- Make sure tenants understand they are responsible for keeping their guests quiet.
- Treat all tenants equally.
- Document all noise complaints and the efforts made to handle them.
Occasionally, resolving a complaint requires a property manager to push back against the complaining tenant. For example, the tenant complaining may simply dislike kids, and any noise they make will be a problem. When that happens, property managers need to talk to the tenant and outline discrimination policies or remind them that other tenants also have a right to reasonably live their lives.