House hacking nightmare

27 Replies

I have been renting my duplex for about 6 months to a family 3 kids and mom and dad. 1 of the kids 1 yr old. The kid is a demon. He is literally either screaming or beating on the floor all day every day. Every time he runs I can hear his feet pounding on the tile or hardwood. I have talked to the tenant about noise several times mainly about it after 9pm and nothing has changed. Everything downstairs is hard wood or tile except the bedrooms I can hear every bang noise and every scream. It is driving me insane since I work from home. I am literally going insane. Get this.. I live on the top floor.. other than noise the tenant does laundry every single day, every single freaking day.. we are planning on buying a coin washer for that problem. I need a solution please!! What can I do! I need an inexpensive sound proofing method I don't want to hear her kids anymore.. will carpet help if I put it on my floor or do I need to do something else?

I also think they are on drugs

If they have more time left on their lease than you can stand, I would review what possible "outs" you have in your lease. If they're not conforming to quite hours or some type of "respect" for other occupants you could try asking them to leave or possibly start an eviction process. I would consult with a lawyer before moving down this path to cover your bases. I've seen the spray-in foam insulation for walls, but I am not sure if it would work in a ceiling or if that's advisable. The best return on your dollar might be a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Sorry I can't be of more help, that's a sticky situation.

Haha! This is just really funny I'm sorry. I could only imagine what it's like it sounds crazy. Oh the joys of house hacking. How much longer do they have on their lease? You might have to wait it out until it's up. In my area there are some seriously sketchy neighborhoods, not in a violence kind of way but in a methy kind of way and taking them to court is just a bigger headache than letting the lease run out. I think carpet would work the best if you want to spend that money to pay for it. In lieu of putting in a coin washer/dryer, do your tenants pay for utilities? If they have to pay it might discourage them from washing so much. If that doesn't work then coin would be the best next course of action. 

I currently house hack but instead of a long-term tenant I use my extra room as a vacation rental and the clientele are AWESOME. Guests don't stay long, they want good reviews so they'll be nice and quiet and usually leave the space super clean, and you get to meet some cool people. My husband and I couldn't live with someone else long-term I think we'd go crazy. 

3 kids, of course she is doing laundry every day and it is in the day time while her husband is gone to work. That is what a normal family does at least I did when my 3 children were that age. I vote for headphones because you did not look for a good fit and it is not their fault.

Your tenant may be doing laundry for others.  I've looked at houses that had three sets of washer and dryer hookups.  But if free laundry was part of the deal when they signed the lease you can't really change that now.

People call me crazy for only doing month to month leases.  But its exactly what you need.  "Quite down or I will terminate the lease."

We only have one kid and we're doing laundry daily. Granted, usually only one load a day unless the kid pees the bed. Then we're doing another load. And kids make noise. Lots of it. Listening to mine throw a tantrum now.

As a parent, I can say I don't do laundry every day, but when I do it (every couple of days), it ends up being 2-3 loads worth... Also I can't imagine how you could keep a 1 year old, or any kid, from running and making noise all day. That is what they do. My 3 and 4.5 year olds like to jump from tables and couches... I couldn't imagine a tenant anywhere near me!

Ouch, that sounds kind of stiff. I'd check with an attorney for fair housing issues before doing anything because the problem is involving a kid. For a nice soundproofing method, I'd plug in some headphones and turn on the BiggerPockets podcast and listen to it all day? There may be enough episodes to last the duration of the lease.

@Shane Collins

Take this as a lesson going forward. What type of tenant can you share walls with?

Just crank up some Marilyn Manson during the day.... haha.

Don't renew the lease. Not sure what else you can do. Check the lease and see what your options are. See if they are violating anything in it.

I'm house hacking currently. Got one tenant who works at the hospital. Families will make some noise.

M2M is your best option especially for house hacking. Assuming there is only 6 months left on the lease you may have to wait it out and non renew. Alternately you give notice regarding the noise and when it continues you evict.

Next time you screen applicants you may have to risk discriminating in order to insure this problem does not repeat. Most would be opposed to discrimination however when it comes to choosing tenants it is better for a applicant you believe will not fit the unit to be rejected than risk being  evicted. 

From your post, I am assuming you don't have kids!  Yes, it is completely normal to have to do laundry everyday if you have 3 kids, especially a toddler! Yes, they make tons of noise and yes, it is incredibly stressful at times!  I understand how this would drive you crazy, but please don't assume that a coin washer will deter a mother from making sure her kids have clean clothing.  Also, the 1 yr old might be getting potty trained, at least possibly introducing it, every family is different so that's another thing.  Also cloth diapers are pretty popular now, so that might be another reason.  

What I'm really getting at it that having to do laundry everyday with 3 kids is completely normal.  I had to do laundry pretty much everyday when my son was a toddler and I just had 1 kid, with 3 it's pretty much a guarantee.  They get into things you would never imagine!

Do you have the utilities separate?  Its not fair that you should be absorbing the cost of doing laundry so much if you dont.  

Since you work from home, you may be able to soundproof your office.  If you do a Google search for acoustic soundproofing, there are many different options that could help you out for now.  Good luck!!!

if you think there may be drugs involved, that is another issue completely since there are children in the house.

I would give them a heads up and let them know you will not be renewing their lease, That you would accept mutual lease termination with 1 months notice. They don't care about the noise, or you, and noise violations as you being the landlord are probably not a court worthy eviction cause,, especially with out police calls.. you don't have to say why your non-renewing just your non-renewing. 

Put coin op washer in ,, a load a day for family of 5 is pretty normal, and who cares if they don't like it. I doubt the washer and dryer is listed as an appliance on the lease. if it's not in there unit, you can do what you want. 

how many bedrooms is this lower unit..??

Think about how your going to lessen the noise next time around. If it's a 2 br unit,, I would limit the number of people to 3, you don't have to do the normal "2 people" per bedroom, you can, but as long as you stay under that level for occupancy your life is like 1 extra person you don't have to deal with.. list it as 1 br with den ... and even cut your noise down more and limit occupancy to 2 people.. that would be perfect. 

wow are you trying to tell me a 1 year old is making noise?  Unbelievable.  I thought toddlers were supposed to be seen and not heard.  I had the same issue with my next door neighbor.  My demon 4 year old kept making noise and just refused to stop playing and laughing sometimes loudly.  Now mind you I own my townhouse so it's a bit different.  I encouraged him that the next time my demon son disturbed him at 6 in the afternoon please call LAPD...and he did.  LAPD issued him a big fat ticket for wasting their time and told him if he calls again more tickets were coming.  Let's just say I chuckle every time I see him. Next time you ride past a school what do you hear?  I hear lots of noise and laughter.  I've yet to meet a demon 1 year old but a lot of nasty entitled adults.

You mentioned working from home. Perhaps you can just have your workspace sound proofed to save money from sound proofing your entire home. Check your state laws and lease to find out how much notice you need to give the tenants notice that you are not renewing. Then give the tenants proper notice and when the lease expires replace them with new tenants without young children. Otherwise you are likely to face the same problem again.

If you have evidence of drug use or see drug activity then notify the police. If they are arrested for drug activity at home that will make it easier for you to evict them.

It is a 3 bedroom Deanna!  I love your answers lol. No washer and dryer not on the lease.

I know for a fact that she is doing drugs and I am not talking about weed her pupils look like pen points. I also cannot afford at this time to do anything about it because I need the rent, and I have not seen any signs that the kids are neglected or mistreated other than the one year old crying all day. The demon part was obviously a joke but the amount of noise is not normal or ok. I do not have kids but I have tons of family that have them and by no means have any of their houses ever sounded like my downstairs but of course that is probably because they are responsible sober adults. No responsible adult would allow the kind of noise simply out of respect loud laughing is one thing, but screaming and crying all day plus beating on the walls and floor constantly with who knows what is something completely different, no sane adult would want to listen to this extreme amount of noise all day unless of course they are so high that they don't care.

I would suggest working on increasing your savings ASAP if you feel that you can’t afford to lose the tenants. Cut back on your non necessities and put that money away for when the tenants stop paying and even potentially damage your property resulting in costly repairs. If they are truly using drugs it is only a matter of time before they stop paying the rent. I would also do periodic inspections to make sure they are not destroying the inside.

I have it even worse than that , I let a woman move in with me and there are 2 boys , they are noisy and messy , they turn up the TV too loud , play on the drums , and pee on the toilet seat . The washing machine runs once a day if not twice . 

I am not complaining at all , the woman is my wife and they are my 2 boys . There isnt anything quiet about kids . Thats life and I wouldnt give it up for anything . 

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That is what acoustic ceiling supposed to do. The new laminated wood popular costs like $2.25/sf has bubbling underlayer.  At Home Depot they have 3 different grades. It will attenuate the noise somewhat. Also when that little 1 year friend jumps up and down it will soften the vibration.  I think you need to get rid of them asking them to start looking. 

I was in the same situation with my house hack. I inherited the tenants when I purchased. The women and her family were complete low lifes. Her husband was in and out of jail. Her 40 year old, unemployed pot head son lived there and all his thug friends hung out there. I wanted her out but it wasn't worth the hassle to go through the eviction process. They paid on time and I didn't want to risk getting sued for discrimination. Keep in mind this was in ultra liberal Seattle and a section 8 tenant. I stuck it out for the remainder of the lease and just didn't renew. Simple

Just make sure to give the minimum notice your state requires.

@Jacob Barnhart yes, month to month only.  A long term lease, IMHO, ties the landlords hands more than the tenants.  If it becomes essential, tenants will leave, lease or not.  You have only limited recourse.  But if a tenant becomes a problem, like described here, your ability to get them to leave is also limited.  With a month to month lease, you terminate the lease.  With proper notice, of course.

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