It’s all fun and games… until someone gets evicted. Having a new home can be a great reason to up your social game or host band practice, but as the fun amps up, so can the noise. And when you’re renting, that can mean that – legally – your landlord can kick you to the curb. Yikes! Should you be worried? Protect yourself and find out if your landlord can evict you for noise complaints before you push send on that happy hour text.
Read the Fine Print
Eviction is the legal act of forcibly removing tenants from their rented homes, primarily because of a lease violation. If you’re like most people, in your move-in-excitement, you signed your lease quickly without memorizing the details. Pull it back up. Comb over the violations section. Next to the pet requirements and other prohibited conduct, there is often an outline of noise expectations. Take a mental note of the wording and know that there is probably terminology along the lines of “you must not behave in a loud or disturbing manner.”
Now, take a deep breathe and know that your landlord won’t show up tomorrow and demand an expulsion. If your noise conduct is outside the realm of acceptable for your building, you will get a written notice from your landlord or building manager. While the actual timeline and process are different depending on your state, to evict a tenant, a landlord must file an eviction notice with the courts to make it legal.
Everyday Noise is A-Okay
If your noise falls under the category “everyday sounds,” don’t sweat it! In the United States, tenants cannot be evicted for normal household noise. In 1943, a judge in New York ruled, “Apartment-house living in a metropolitan area is attended with certain well-known inconveniences and discomforts. The peace and quiet of a rural estate or the sylvan silence of a mountain lodge cannot be expected in a multiple dwelling.” This means crank up that vacuum (during the day), enjoy that record and invite those friends over for a 5 o’clock cocktail.
If, however, your noise is more along the lines of screaming matches and slammed doors, you may have an issue to remedy. These behaviors and other similar situations are appropriate reasons for neighbor complaints and may put you on the path for eviction.
Check the Clock
During the day, most noises are alright. But when the sun sets, know that societal expectations change. If you frequently host parties late into the night or bang on the drums at 2 A.M., your neighbors have a reasonable complaint against you. And if your landlord receives enough complaints from unhappy tenants about your behavior, you could be staring into the face of an eviction notice. Be considerate and realize that your neighbors are as entitled to their shut-eye as you are your social life. A good rule of thumb is to not be super loud during hours when the general population is asleep.
Fact: Kids Make Noise
If your number one noise concern is your children, or if you’ve received complaints from the woman next door about your crying baby, know that you have rights. Courts have specifically ruled that you cannot be evicted over the sound of your kids running around the apartment or your baby crying for nourishment in the middle of the night.
If you’re the one suffering from a noisy neighbor, remember that a tenant cannot evict another tenant. Only a landlord has that power. Instead, make an apartment noise complaint the right way. And know that a lot of apartment-living angst can be cured through communication. Before banging on doors and losing your cool on a neighbor, check out these tips on dealing with noisy neighbors for good.
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