Addressing Noise Complaints from Tenants

Having to address noise complaints from tenants can be a daunting experience for property managers. It can quickly escalate into a potentially sticky situation, if the proper steps aren’t taken to remedy the situation. Here we break down the process of addressing noise complaints from tenants, with step-by-step advice on how to proceed.

What Is Considered Excessive Noise at Tenant Dwellings?

Excessive noise is defined as noise that can be heard beyond the boundaries of the tenant’s dwelling and/or causes an unreasonable interference with the use or enjoyment of a tenant’s space. Examples of excessive noise include:

  • Music and amplified sound
  • House parties
  • Loud vehicle engines or exhausts
  • Yelling and arguing
  • Animals or pets barking
  • General disturbances such as construction or renovation noise

Knowing the scope of excessive noise is key to fairly addressing tenant complaints.

Steps to Take When Receiving a Noise Complaint

When receiving a noise complaint from a tenant, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Listen carefully to the complaint, and ask for direct examples such as specific times and types of excessive noise.
  • Thoroughly document the complaint and take notes of the conversation.
  • Investigate the complaint by speaking to the tenant(s) in question, and following-up with relevant neighbours if needed. Make sure to keep impartial and objective as your objective is to get both sides of the story.
  • Supervise the property at regular intervals, such as during peak noise times and the evening hours.
  • If there is a breach to the noise by-law, speak to the tenant in question about their responsibilities.
  • Take action appropriately, such as issuing warnings or dealing with any fines or penalties.

Being organized and professional in the process of addressing noise complaints will ensure all expectations of tenants and property managers are met.

What Should Property Managers Consider Regarding Noise Complaints?

When it comes to noisy tenants, there are some things that property managers should always be taking into consideration. These include:

  • Having a clear understanding of the tenants’ responsibilities.
  • Making sure you follow municipal policies and regulations.
  • Keeping a log of information, even for minor noise issues.
  • Issuing warnings or notices if there are ongoing noise problems.
  • Managing expectations and following through with any allocated tasks.
  • Making sure that everyone – both tenants and property managers – understand their rights.

Receiving Multiple and Recurring Noise Complaints

What should you do when a tenant receives multiple and/or recurring noise complaints? The short answer is, be proactive.

Your objective as a property manager should be to investigate each occurrence as soon as possible, and to be transparent throughout the process. You may also need to implement some additional steps such as:

  • Issuing a final warning note to the tenant.
  • Setting up regular onsite visits;
  • Contacting relevant neighbours, or anyone else affected by excessive noise;
  • Creating a timeline of events;
  • Reevaluating lease agreements and any terms regarding noise.

Noise Attorney or Mediation?

If the tenant and/or the property manager are refusing to comply with the rules and regulations, then it may be time to consider other options – such as a noise attorney or mediation.

Noise attorneys have a deep understanding of noise-related legal matters, and can provide advice and represent their clients during any legal proceedings. Mediation, meanwhile, is an informal and inexpensive process of conflict resolution which involves a neutral third party.

Uncooperative Tenants

If you come across an uncooperative tenant who refuses to take responsibility for excessive noise, then there are other actions you can take.

If the tenant is on a lease agreement, then consider issuing a warning note that states the breach of the agreement and outlines the actions that are expected of them. If the tenant continues to be uncooperative, then you can choose to give the tenant a notice to end tenancy and, if needed, process an eviction.

What If Noise Complaints Are not Enforceable?

In some cases, noise complaints may not be enforceable. This could be due to numerous factors such as the noise being circumstantial, or that it doesn’t necessarily breach noise bylaws.

Although retaliatory eviction is illegal, and property managers are not allowed to take action against tenants if their noise complaints are not enforceable, here are some steps you can take:

  • Communicate with the tenant – emphasise that the property manager’s own noise rules need to be abided by.
  • Understand that some level of noise is unavoidable. Discuss with the tenant and see if noise-reducing measures can be taken.
  • Maintain relationships with the neighbours in order to understand other noise issues.
  • Continually remind tenants to practice noise awareness, and suggest alternative activities they can partake in which don’t cause excessive noise.
  • If all else fails, you may need to enlist the help of a noise attorney or mediator.


Address noise complaints from tenants can be difficult. However, if the right steps are taken, property managers can ensure not only that excessive noise is prevented from happening, but that resident relationships remain positive. By following our outlined recommendations, property managers will ensure that complaints are addressed quickly and accurately, and that all parties are treated fairly. With proper planning and communication, property managers can successfully address noise complaints from tenants in an ideal manner.

What is the best way to respond to a tenant noise complaint?

The best way to respond to a tenant noise complaint is to ensure the tenant feels heard and respected. Start by expressing your sympathy and concern and ask them to explain what the noise is and when it occurs. Then, take appropriate action to address the complaint. This might include talking to the tenant making the noise, issuing a warning or a fine, and possibly a suggestion to install soundproofing or better insulation in the property. Finally, make sure to follow up with both the tenant filing the complaint and the tenant making the noise to confirm the issue has been resolved.

What should landlords do about tenant noise complaints?

Landlords should take all tenant noise complaints seriously. They should document the complaint, discuss the situation with the tenant who made the complaint, and collect evidence whenever possible. If necessary, landlords can also get the help of an independent mediator or noise enforcement agency. Additionally, landlords should set clear expectations with tenants regarding noise levels through specific language in the rental agreement. Finally, landlords can reach out to the tenant responsible for the noise to discuss and address the situation and enforce any penalties that are outlined in the rental agreement.

What legal recourse do landlords have for tenant noise complaints?

Landlords may have a variety of legal recourse at their disposal in response to tenant noise complaints. Depending on the state, landlords may be able to evict tenants for violating noise regulations, or may be able to impose fines or other monetary penalties on tenants who fail to comply with the lease. In some cases, landlords may need to first send an official written warning before enforcing a penalty. Additionally, some landlords may be able to take legal action against tenants who fail to comply with noise regulations in the form of a civil suit, allowing them to recover damages for the nuisance caused by the quiet tenant’s noise.

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