One of the most important tasks rental property owners and managers face is setting quiet hours for tenants and guests. Because there are so many different circumstances at play, it can be difficult for a property owner or manager to know what’s appropriate for their situation.
Quiet hours can have a big impact on the quality of life of your tenants and in turn, their satisfaction with you and your company. This article will help you understand how to establish quiet hours for your rental properties—both from an administrative standpoint as well as from a legal standpoint.
Why It’s Important to Have Quiet Hours in Your Lease
The idea of “community” is very important for residents renting units in your building. While you want to make sure that tenants are happy and comfortable in their new homes, you also need to ensure that your residents can live together in harmony. And if a renter wants to play the bagpipes at 2 a.m.—that can be a big problem.
Some tenants may have different lifestyles and schedules than others. For example, one of your tenants might work a night shift and need to sleep during specific hours. Another tenant might enjoy having family members over late into the evening.
Different lifestyles can lead to issues among neighbors, especially if they’re renting units that aren’t well insulated.
One way to help ensure that everyone is on the same page is by establishing some quiet hours for rental properties. Quiet hours are a specific time when the noise level must be kept to a minimum to not disturb other residents living in the building.
The purpose of this is twofold:
- To keep the peace among residents
- To keep your property safe from noise complaints
By implementing quiet hours in your lease, you can set the standard for your expectations and use your guidelines to settle disputes between neighbors.
Example Quiet Hours Lease Verbiage
One way of communicating this is to include the quiet hours in the lease verbiage. For example, include the following clause:
The following quiet hours will be observed at the above-referenced property. These quiet hours shall be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. During these times, tenants agree not to:
- Operate stereos, radios, televisions, and musical instruments in a manner that disturbs other tenants or neighbors
- Create or allow any noise or activity that disturbs other tenants or neighbors
- Allow loud talking or other noise emanating from the unit that can be heard outside of the unit
- Engage in any activity that disturbs other tenants or neighbors
Quiet hours are generally after 10 or 11 p.m. and before 8 a.m., but you can also set quiet hours at any other time. It’s important to establish clear boundaries and set quiet hours that work for everyone in your property management business to avoid conflict with your tenants.
Allow for ‘Peaceful Enjoyment’ at All Times
While quiet hours are a great way to reduce the chances of noise complaints among your residents, the law permits tenants to have “peaceful enjoyment” of their home at all times.
Even during the day, excessive noise should not be acceptable in your units. Some of your residents may work from home or work third-shift, and they deserve quiet time during the day.
Noise complaints that fall outside of quiet hours can be more difficult to manage. Unless the complaining tenant has proof that the noise was disruptive and prolonged, how can you prove it was “excessive noise?”
The best way to preserve peaceful enjoyment for all residents at all times is to include clauses in your lease that prohibit certain particularly noisy activities. For example, many leases include a clause that disallows residents from playing certain musical instruments in the home.
You can’t control every situation, but you may avoid issues before they arise if you can target certain disruptive behaviors in your lease agreements.
Managing Quiet Hours and Noise Complaints at Your Rental Property
Managing noise complaints is part of the job of a property owner or landlord. You can minimize the risk of noise complaints and protect yourself against legal action by including the appropriate clauses in your lease agreement.