Noise problem

14 Replies

I own a condo in nj that I rent out and recently found out one of the tenants from the unit below mine is moving out because of the noise from my tenants. The noise is from movement in the unit, not music, partying, etc.

I'm meeting with the condo board this week to try to resolve the issue. Obvious solution is to put down rugs but I'm hesitant as I don't want to take on that added expense.

Curious if anyone has had similar issues and how they rectified. I think the nj condo laws are that 75% of the floors must be covered in carpet but it's not enforced. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

Noise problems in my opinion are a waste of my time and I rarely get involved. If a tenant has a problem with noise from another unit I first encourage them to speak to the offending tenant and try to work it out. If it continues I tell them to call the police. Let the police determine if any noise ordinance is being broken. It never gets to that and usually the tenant being bothered realizes its just part of the deal with renting. If I hear the same complaint from multiple tenants I will say something but again, that is rare. People dont typically like to complain and cause tension between neighbors.

Thanks Rob. I like your approach.

I think you should check your bylaws and make sure that 75% of floors do not have to be covered. Excessive noise can violate a tenants right to enjoyment here is the new York law

Excessive noise and vibrations violate a New York State law known as the “warranty of habitability.” That statute — Real Property Law § 235-b — requires landlords to ensure that all residential rental units are free of conditions detrimental to the occupants’ life, safety and well-being, even when the hazards are caused by third parties (like fellow tenants).

In many states you can be sued so read over your leases and bylaws 

California Civil Code Section 1927 provides all tenants with the Warranty of Quiet Enjoyment.

As @Steven Picker says, if there is a law being broken by you as the landlord, you need to know about it and fix the problem. The person downstairs could make this a problem for you and your tenant may and likely have no idea of this law. I'm not aware of anything like that here in MA but I'm not a lawyer either. I do my best to keep up to date on all landlord/tenant laws as all landlords should be doing for their own state/county/city.

Need to know the condo bylaws and know how to comply with them. Some people are bothered by normal walking noise from upstairs neighbors, some are not. The key is whether the noise your tenants are making is normal or excessive. Also, it would be good to know how the building structure plays a role and what successes others have had with dampening natural noise in this condo. What is the history of the condo association in addressing resident complaints? How effective are they at negotiating a win-win? Be involved and show you are a responsible condo owner.

I am reviving this thread as my problem is similar to the OP.   The downstairs occupant is complaining that the upstairs occupant is walking too loudly.   They would like them to wear slippers. I have told them to work it out between themselves.

We have also made sound related improvements to common areas solely due to this one downstairs occupants complaints.  He stopped complaining resigned his lease and started complaining again with 3 complaints in 4 days , some within hours of others.  All about his upstairs neighbor.

What experiences  have the rest of you had with renters like this whose complaints center around what I would consider normal apartment noise?   I am tired.  Adding sound control to his ceiling is not going to satisfy him and I don't think he will like it anyway.

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :

I am reviving this thread as my problem is similar to the OP.   The downstairs occupant is complaining that the upstairs occupant is walking too loudly.   They would like them to wear slippers. I have told them to work it out between themselves.

We have also made sound related improvements to common areas solely due to this one downstairs occupants complaints.  He stopped complaining resigned his lease and started complaining again with 3 complaints in 4 days , some within hours of others.  All about his upstairs neighbor.

What experiences  have the rest of you had with renters like this whose complaints center around what I would consider normal apartment noise?   I am tired.  Adding sound control to his ceiling is not going to satisfy him and I don't think he will like it anyway.

Sounds like it's time to serve this pita the "happy clause."  Seriously, if people don't like the sound of people walking above them, they shouldn't move into a downstairs unit.

@Kimberly T. that is what I was thinking.   He could do a lot worse then the current upstairs occupant so I am thinking this person is not suited to a multifamily.   I am not sure what exactly he is expecting me to do.   He may believe I can kick the upstairs tenant out or require specific footwear.  I doubt any modification will meet his expectations.  

If it was another noise but walking too loud?  He implies it is my responsibility to address but I think it would not be considered a  noise disturbance by most people.  leave in the next 60 days or stay until lease end?   How long have other people given in the same situation?

@Colleen F. I wouldn't tell him to leave, I'd just give him the happy clause: "Sounds like you aren't happy here, but I'd be happy to let you out of your lease without penalty."  If he leaves, great, no more pita to deal with.  If he stays, great, he'll know not to bother complaining about frivolous stuff to you any more.

Wow!  There are some really nice landlords out here on BP.  I am not one of them.

I had a downstairs tenant DEMAND that I not rent the upper unit to a man and that the woman I rented the unit to could not weigh more than 125lbs.!!  I followed my usual protocol for renting and the upper unit was re-rented in 3 weeks.  About six months in, the lower tenant got into a row with the upper tenant, including threatening her with violence because she could hear her walking around.  

The lower tenant was on a month-to-month and the noise complaints on her part were the final straw. 

My letter to her:

Thank you for your tenancy over the last X year(s).  I have decided to go in another direction and will begin re-renting the apartment per the terms of your rental agreement. 

Regards,

I re-rented her unit in less than 2 weeks.  

Well, she called a lawyer, who tested my knowledge on the laws in my state.  I came back to him with an e-mail citing the law...and he responded saying his client would be out by the end of the month.  Never heard from him or her again.  New tenants upper and lower have lived in harmony ever since. 

Know your state laws when throwing someone out! 

Actually my thought was not to throw him out but to give him an out.  If you leave in the next 30-60 days  I will forget you just re-signed a lease otherwise I will assume you are happy and you and upstairs  will have resolved your noise disagreement and you will finish the terms of your tenancy.  It is a closed topic.   He started complaining again 1 week after renewing a 1 year lease. 

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