No one wants to be a killjoy. But disruptive tenants can have a knock-on effect and become a real problem for the whole street or apartment building.

Everyone is entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their property and most tenancy agreements require tenants to not do anything that causes disruption to neighbours  – whether it’s loud music from parties, dogs barking at an ungodly hour or even a loud TV.

As the property owner, you will have to deal with disruptive tenants if the problem persists. It’s in your best interests to try and resolve noise issues informally before doing anything rash like evicting tenants. Eviction should always be treated as a last resort. If your tenant continues to be a nuisance, you may have no choice but to evict the tenant.

So, how much notice for a tenant that disrupts neighbours?

What constitutes a noise violation?

Firstly, it’s good to get an idea of what constitutes a noise violation. A noise violation is anything that is considered unreasonable and is affecting the neighbours’ lives. In other words, a noise violation is an unwelcome sound that is causing annoyance or distress to neighbouring properties and their occupants.

A noise violation could be:

  • Loud music
  • Parties
  • Loud voices
  • Lots of banging
  • Construction or DIY at unreasonable hours
  • A TV or another device that is too loud

Ideally, noise should be kept to a minimum between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am, also known as the quiet hours. Excessive noise during these hours will most likely constitute a noise violation.

With this in mind, it’s wise to include a clause in the tenancy agreement stating that tenants will not disturb the neighbours during these hours. Read our blog on how to write a tenancy agreement to learn more.

How to respond to a noise complaint letter

If you receive a noise complaint letter about your tenant, your gut instinct may be to take a side. But it’s important to remain neutral and assess the situation yourself first. After all, what constitutes a noise violation isn’t always so black and white. It could be that the neighbour is being overly sensitive and exaggerating slightly or perhaps your tenant is really the issue. Whatever the case, it’s sensible to do a bit of investigating yourself to establish whether the complaint is valid.

First off, there are a few simple questions you may want to ask yourself. Chief among these: is this the first time someone has made complaints about the tenant? In cases where there are multiple complaints, then it is likely that you will need to act quickly to resolve the dispute. If it’s just a one-off, it’s a good idea to observe the complaint yourself.

If you’ve heard the noise first-hand, you may want to speak to your tenant about quiet hours and reinforce the noise clause agreement. If the issue persists and you cannot make reasonable adjustments to your property, it may be time to escalate it to law enforcement.

If the complaint is about reasonable everyday noise that could potentially be avoided like moving chairs and ensuing footsteps, then you may want to make reasonable amendments to the property. Adding carpet flooring could help reduce noise complaints and irritation. So simple, yet so effective!

Once you’ve established the validity of the noise complaint, you should promptly respond to the neighbour and the tenant. Write a letter detailing a reasonable solution to create a harmonious environment that suits everyone.

Failing to act quickly may worsen the situation and, in some cases, leave you vulnerable to claims of negligence and litigation.

How many noise complaints before eviction?

It’s tricky to give an exact answer, as this will entirely depend on the severity of the situation. Under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985, excessive noise nuisance is a possible grounds for eviction.

Plus, if there is a noise clause in the tenancy agreement, the tenant will be in breach of their agreement. In such cases, you could potentially evict your tenant if the issue persists following their first official warning.  After all, if the noise complaint has been documented officially – either through you or the police – this further validates noise complaints.

But the question remains, how much notice for a tenant that disrupts neighbours? Well, you may be able to serve nuisance tenants a Section 21 notice. This means must give tenants at least 2 months’ notice to vacate the property.

Note that you may need to give a longer notice period if you have a fixed-term tenancy that has ended, but included a clause to continue as a periodic tenancy. Similarly, say your tenant pays rent every 3 months, you must give 3 months’ notice. That way, the amount of notice is the same as the rental period. If you’re unsure about whether you’re giving your tenant the right amount of notice, read our blog on how much notice a landlord needs to give.

We hope that our advice has helped ease some worry around how much notice for a tenant that disrupts neighbours. At CIA, we don’t just offer expert advice for landlords. Did you know we also provide landlord insurance to help you protect your property? Get in touch today to find out more or get a quote online.

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