Dealing with Loud and Disruptive Neighbors

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The first step tenants should take is talking to the noisy person or the landlord. The next option is filing a noise complaint. If that doesn't work, tenants might be able to break a lease if the apartment has severely disruptive neighbors, which were undisclosed and unknown to the tenant. The disruption must generally be so severe that their health is affected (e.g., tenants have been unable to sleep for several nights in a row). The severity must account for the nature of the neighborhood - dense cities have different standards than suburban areas. Tenants may need to pursue public remedies first, such as filing noise complaints, before breaking the lease. Because fixing the problem can be difficult for landlords, tenants should be cautioned that future landlords tend to be unsympathetic to applicants who have previously broken a lease for noisy neighbors. Either landlords or tenants can sue heavily disruptive neighbors under private nuisance laws.

Noise Complaints

Landlords or tenants can call local police about violations of noise (or other) ordinances. This may result in fines or citations, which can help influence the disruptive neighbor to stop. If the landlord does not rent to the person causing disruptions, then this may be their only practical option. Landlords are usually advised to have tenants tell them first, not to confront neighbors about noise directly. It can lead to more conflicts and a potential back-and-forth battle that disrupts other tenants.

Landlord Mediation

If the landlord is also renting to the person who is causing the disruption, and the landlord has received complaints from multiple tenants, they can threaten to not renew the lease unless the disruptive behavior changes and in severe cases, evict the disruptive tenant. As a preventative measure, landlords can include terms in the lease that clearly state what constitutes disruptive behavior that would cause a violation of the lease. To offer landlords options, many leases include terms about parties, illegal activities, and health issues. Before exercising such right, landlords may be legally required in some jurisdictions to first offer a “cure-or-quit” notice, which gives the tenant a reasonable time to stop their disruptive behavior before the landlord evicts them for violation of the lease. Landlords also must provide reasonable accommodations to any tenants with mental issues, rather than evict or punish them for making noise.

Moving Out

Tenants are generally entitled to live free of unreasonable disturbances under their entitlement to “quiet enjoyment” of their property. This doesn’t mean the apartment has to be enjoyable, nor that it must be absolutely quiet. It means that tenants should be able to use the apartment without major, regular disturbances (whether noise-related or not). The rule is context-specific. The standard for “quiet enjoyment” is different for a trendy New York City neighborhood than for suburban housing. It’s examined on a case-by-case basis considering the totality of the circumstances, such as the frequency, severity, and unreasonableness of the disturbances. A key starting point is to ask, would an average tenant suffer health problems (e.g., lack of sleep) because of these disturbances? Tenants should consider that landlords tend to be unsympathetic to tenants who move out because of disruptive neighbors. From a landlord’s perspective, neighbor conflicts are often two-sided, some people are overly sensitive to noise and neighbors, and it’s hard to fix this kind of issue if it arises again. Future landlords may discover you’ve broken your lease and so, tenants should break the lease only if it’s very severe and they have clear documentation or evidence that would convince a future landlord that the decision was justified.

Private Nuisance

Landlords or tenants may also be able to sue the neighbor for causing a private nuisance if the disturbances are substantial and unreasonable. Winners of such a case can obtain money damages or an injunction. Landlords can recover damages like lost rent from tenants claiming their quiet enjoyment was disturbed, the reduction in property value, and the costs to mitigate the nuisance. Tenants may be able to recover for their discomfort and annoyance.

Noise Complaints


Landlords or tenants can call local police about violations of noise (or other) ordinances. This may result in fines or citations, which can help influence the disruptive neighbor to stop. If the landlord does not rent to the person causing disruptions, then this may be their only practical option. Landlords are usually advised to have tenants tell them first, not to confront neighbors about noise directly. It can lead to more conflicts and a potential back-and-forth battle that disrupts other tenants.

Landlord Mediation


If the landlord is also renting to the person who is causing the disruption, and the landlord has received complaints from multiple tenants, they can threaten to not renew the lease unless the disruptive behavior changes and in severe cases, evict the disruptive tenant. As a preventative measure, landlords can include terms in the lease that clearly state what constitutes disruptive behavior that would cause a violation of the lease. To offer landlords options, many leases include terms about parties, illegal activities, and health issues. Before exercising such right, landlords may be legally required in some jurisdictions to first offer a “cure-or-quit” notice, which gives the tenant a reasonable time to stop their disruptive behavior before the landlord evicts them for violation of the lease. Landlords also must provide reasonable accommodations to any tenants with mental issues, rather than evict or punish them for making noise.

Moving Out


Tenants are generally entitled to live free of unreasonable disturbances under their entitlement to “quiet enjoyment” of their property. This doesn’t mean the apartment has to be enjoyable, nor that it must be absolutely quiet. It means that tenants should be able to use the apartment without major, regular disturbances (whether noise-related or not). The rule is context-specific. The standard for “quiet enjoyment” is different for a trendy New York City neighborhood than for suburban housing. It’s examined on a case-by-case basis considering the totality of the circumstances, such as the frequency, severity, and unreasonableness of the disturbances. A key starting point is to ask, would an average tenant suffer health problems (e.g., lack of sleep) because of these disturbances?

Tenants should consider that landlords tend to be unsympathetic to tenants who move out because of disruptive neighbors. From a landlord’s perspective, neighbor conflicts are often two-sided, some people are overly sensitive to noise and neighbors, and it’s hard to fix this kind of issue if it arises again. Future landlords may discover you’ve broken your lease and so, tenants should break the lease only if it’s very severe and they have clear documentation or evidence that would convince a future landlord that the decision was justified.

Private Nuisance


Landlords or tenants may also be able to sue the neighbor for causing a private nuisance if the disturbances are substantial and unreasonable. Winners of such a case can obtain money damages or an injunction. Landlords can recover damages like lost rent from tenants claiming their quiet enjoyment was disturbed, the reduction in property value, and the costs to mitigate the nuisance. Tenants may be able to recover for their discomfort and annoyance.

Last Update : September 12, 2018 UTC

Comments discussing Disruptive Neighbors

10 months ago
0
votes

Help in in aHUD PRAC811lease my complaints are falling upon a deaf ear by my property manager regarding another threatening experience with a this neighbor. This landlord grossly oversteps her ethical boundries. Becoming a medical POA of my friend who died last week. Drivine tenants around town in her company vehical. Reguses to talk to me anout this issue she said if my neighbor gets a complaint over this she would be forced to file a complaint agindt me as well
Renter in Lincolnton, NC, USA
Disruptive Neighbors
5 months ago
0
votes

Renting one of three apt building. Others have gravel front and back. Mine has grass. I want to add grill and picnic table in back to create a area for the summer to relax but my neighbor on the other apt building keeps driving through the backyard and won't stop even after being asked not to and the property manager won't do anything. What should I do?
Renter in Mechanicsville, VA, USA
Disruptive Neighbors
over 1 year ago
0
votes

Another tenant is letting people with hostal inten to others in by opening front door on request by outsiderd. Even though witnessed by others and reported to landlord, he refuse to take action
Renter in Minneapolis, MN, USA
Disruptive Neighbors
over 2 years ago
2
votes

This is crazy! I live in a place where no one watches there children ,they use parking lot as a bike racetrack ,children running everywhere with sticks or throwing breaking glass .parents put trash out side of door instead of in trash. People slam there doors so hard it has knocked things off wall in my apt.landlord won't do anything. I was only white american.no children.surrounded by all refuges from other country.they told landlord i cussed at their children which I wouldn't do to a child.th

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Renter in Lincoln, NE, USA
Disruptive Neighbors
almost 2 years ago
0
votes

My neighbors suck. They are all up in my business, keeping tabs on who I have over and when I leave. And they call me and threaten to call the cops when I have guests, like even just a couple friends for dinner. And they constantly lecture me. I doubt there's a law to help.
Renter in Fort Worth, TX, USA
Disruptive Neighbors