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Can I Withhold Rent For Noisy Neighbors?

Imagine settling into your bed for the night, resting your head on your pillow and counting the seconds until you fall asleep, when suddenly a cacophony of sounds come pouring through the ceiling above you. You think "Tuesday is an odd night for a party," then start to drift off to a mildly disturbed sleep. The next night, the same thing happens and continues to happen for several weeks. If you've ever experienced this level of disturbance, you have noisy neighbors.
Noisy neighbors got you down? Wondering what you can do about it? Perhaps you've tried talking to the noise culprits or your landlord, but to no avail. Maybe this lack of resolution lead you to start considering withholding your rent from your landlord, but you haven't done so because you're unsure as to whether you're legally allowed to do that. Whose Your Landlord has all the answers as to whether or not you can withhold rent from your landlord for noisy neighbors.

When can you withhold rent?

Typically, you can only withhold rent if something (or someone) is posing a threat to your health and safety. If the heating system in your unit weren't working or there was a gas leak on your floor, and your landlord did nothing about it, then you would be in a situation where you could withhold rent. Generally speaking, if you have an obnoxiously noisy neighbor next to or above you, chances are their noise isn't causing a major problem to your health or safety, so there's not much ground to stand on if you choose to withhold your rent. In extreme cases where your loud neighbors are preventing you from getting sleep or causing some anxiety, you could start withholding rent until something is done about the situation. In these occurrences, a note from a doctor is necessary to prove that the noise is starting to affect your health.

Instead of withholding rent, here are some action steps you can take against your noisy neighbors:

  • Talk with your landlord. Explain the situation and see what they can do to step in and try to fix the problem. It's their job to maintain peace in their building, even if they have to post a "Quiet Hours" notification on the hallway bulletin board.
  • Request a move. In some cases, your landlord may be able to accommodate a move. See if there are any other units available further away from the noise-making renter. Bonus if you can move to a top-level floor!
  • Chat with the noise maker. Sometimes, a neighbor won't realize they're noisy. Having a friendly conversation with them can give them a chance to recognize that they're loud and disturbing others. When talking with your neighbor, be friendly and open to the conversation instead of defenses. Most of the time, the culprit has no idea how noisy they are. Offer to exchange numbers so that when they're getting a little too loud, you can shoot them a text and ask them to please quiet down.
  • Ignore it. As difficult as it may seem, ignoring the noise may be your best bet. In situations where your neighbor works days and goes about their life at night, there's not much you can do about them making noise, so try to live in harmony by making small adjustments to your life. Try sleeping with a white noise machine, fan, or earplugs to try and drown out the noises.
We've all dealt with a noisy neighbor at some point or another. If you're not okay with popping earplugs inĀ and ignoring it, take these action steps to try and remedy the situation. In severe cases, you can start to withhold rent, but remember to have documentation of the damage the noise is doing to your health first!
In any situation where you feel like withholding rent is the answer, know that there are other options first. Stay tuned to Whose Your Landlord for all the best advice when it comes to withholding rent from your landlord. If you have questions or concerns, drop a line below.