How to handle noisy neighbours when you live in a condo

September 29, 2017

Living in a condo comes with its challenges (there’s never enough storage space and you can’t do rental upgrades). But one common problem that most renters have to deal with is noisy neighbours.

Thanks to building code standards, it might seem like the walls between your condo and your neighbours are paper thin.

Noise transmission will happen; follow this guide to work with tenants and prevent disputes from happening over noise complaints.

Before you make a formal complaint, consider how best to handle the situation. Your state/province will have legal stipulations that discuss how to handle noisy neighbours. In Ontario, for example, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) governs the landlord and tenant relationship. Tenants do not have the right to sue other tenants at this level for noise disturbance. Often times, noise complaints are misunderstood for daily normal activities. Multifamily situations or tenants who work late into the evening will make noise at the times you might be sleeping. It’s important to understand if tenants are sensitive to the noise, or have a legitimate complaint.

Here are factors to consider before making a noise complaint:

  • Is the noise coming from a single tenant (yourself) or are other tenants complaining as well?
  • How frequent is the noise? If it occurs every once in awhile as opposed to every night, then it might not be an acceptable complaint.
  • Is the activity above normal living activity that can’t be helped?

Chances are good your neighbour doesn’t even realize they’re making so much noise (unless they’re holding parties at 3 am). In that case, you need to rectify the situation in a calm and efficient manner. Here’s how.

Have a calm conversation with the noisy neighbours

If the noise is keeping you awake at night, you as a tenant have the right to make a complaint. The thought of confronting your noisy neighbour might seem unnerving, but it might simply fix the problem. Knock on the door and let them know that the noise they’re making travels; politely ask them to keep the noise level down. Sounds easy enough, right? The key is to be polite about it. Otherwise, it could cause tension between you both.

Make a plan and stick to it

Even if you’re the one complaining about noise levels, chances are good you’re making noise without even realizing it. For example, say you enjoy karaoke. A plan can involve you playing karaoke until a specific time in the evening in order to accommodate your neighbour. In return, your neighbour agrees to turn down the noise level on their activities. Making a plan means you can both enjoy the activities you love and get your beauty rest at the same time. Everyone is happy.

Talk to your landlord

There are cases where a tenant makes a noise complaint about an irrelevant reason. People are allowed to make noise during the day, and people are allowed to have guests over. Having said that, if a neighbour isn’t willing to work with you, a landlord may step in to diffuse the situation. What they can do is send the noisy neighbours a letter indicating an anonymous complaint has been made and ask to keep the noise levels to a minimum. This is where the lease agreement comes in; the letter can refer them to the clause around noise levels. If a person is not acting in accordance with the lease, the landlord can state the noisy neighbour is in violation of the lease agreement. Chances are good it will be enough to stop the noise.

If your landlord can’t or won’t help

Let’s say you’ve taken the necessary steps to remedy the situation and all courses of action aren’t working. The RTA requires landlords provide their tenants with a peaceful, quite premises. It is, therefore, a landlord’s responsibility to handle noise complaints if they have been escalated to him or her. Failure for a landlord to take necessary steps means they are in breach of their legal obligations to you. Then, you may file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board against the landlord for failure to complete their duties. To file an application, however, means you will need some documentation to back up your claim.

Show evidence of the noise

As a tenant in a rental property, you likely know the importance of documenting everything, from landlord agreements about upgrades to emails about a water heater breaking down. The same applies to noise complaints. If you filed a complaint with the police, keep a record of it. Show records that you made calls to your landlord, or emailed them multiple times. This will illustrate the fact that your landlord could not deny there was an issue in the first place.

Are you still having trouble with noisy neighbours in your apartment? Then it might be time to move! Don’t forget to visit our rental property directory to find a new home in your desired neighbourhood. Better yet, install the app so you can get real-time updates on when new properties become available in your neighbourhood and price range.

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