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My neighbour is a noisy tenant – what can be done?

As property managers, it’s not uncommon to receive phone calls from a neighbour with a complaint that one of our tenants is being too noisy.

One of the most common questions we’re asked regarding noise complaints is, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ The reality is that as agents, we aren’t responsible for the actions of our tenants and are under no obligation to act simply because a complaint has been made. When living in a rental property, tenants are obliged to not disturb the peace, comfort or privacy of their neighbours. In other words, the neighbours are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their property.

However, it’s important to note that ‘quiet enjoyment’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘not noisy’. There are a lot of activities that people may take part in which may create noise, and yet would not be deemed unreasonable. For example, if your neighbours want to have a party and have loud music playing, that’s not grounds for a noise complaint, as long as the volume isn’t at an unreasonable level and doesn’t carry on well into the morning.

The first thing we always advise is to directly discuss the matter with the tenant in question. If this does not lead to a resolution, then the neighbour should proceed to make a complaint with the police or the council authority. If we receive repeated written complaints about one of our tenants from several neighbours, this may indicate that there is a bigger issue to resolve and we would seek instructions from the owner of the property as to how they wish to proceed.

Note that if the tenant is an owner occupier, there is no recourse available through a property manager or the RTA, as there is no tenancy agreement in place, and tenancy laws will not apply.

It’s also important to know that if the property is in a building complex, the tenant may be breaking Body Corporate by-laws. In this case, the complaint should be made directly to the Body Corporate for further action, rather than the property manager.