Do you recognize the following? Neighbors or roommates who argue in the evening, regularly give parties or neighbors who put the volumn of their TV just a little too loud so that you can not sleep? In this blog you will read which options you have as a tenant to prevent your neighbors from causing a lot of noise.
Discuss the disturbance with your neighbors
Normal living sounds from neighbors should be tolerated. But what is the boundary between a ‘normal’ living noise and noise disturbance? This differs per person. We therefore advise you not to approach your neighbors too quickly, but to first wait and see if the situation improves. If they continue with the nuisance, then it is wise to talk to your neighbors. Maybe they will immediately listen to you. Did it ever occur to you that it’s possible they were not even aware of the fact that they were causing so much noise? You could, for example, agree upon a ‘music clock’ which means that loud music is only allowed between certain times of the day.
My neighbors don’t listen to me
But what if you’ve talked to your neighbors multiple times but they don’t care about you and simply don’t listen? Check if there are any house rules or regulations that say something about noise. Notify your landlord about the situation and ask him to solve the issue. You also have the option to report the noise to the municipality. Your landlord could act as a mediatior or take measures against your neighbors to make sure the noise ceases to exist. The owner of your house could insulate the walls or even try to terminate the rental contract of your neighbors if they are renting from the same landlord.
The Rental Committee
The Rental Committee can decide upon a temporary rent reduction if they ascertain a severe defect. Is noise pollution a severe defect? We believe it could be. However, the Rental Committee can only issue a reduction if a certain defect is mentioned in their defects booklet. Unfortunately noise disturbance is not mentioned in the defects booklet. This means that noise pollution does not give a basis for a rent reduction issued by the Rental Committee.
Although the noise pollution itself cannot be a reason for rent reduction with the Rental Committee, if the noise occurs because of insufficient isolation of the walls, floors or cealing which you share with your neighbors it could be. It’s understandable that not every tenant will make the rather complicated calculation of the Rental Committee, but if you’ve got the feeling that your walls are insufficient isolated and you experience noise pollution, then it’s a possibility to start a procedure with the Rental Committee. It is important to know that the Rental Committee requires a report from a recognized expert that shows that the walls are indeed not well insulated. Such a report often costs between 1000 and 1500 euros and these costs – unfortuantely – are for your own account.
Start a court case to stop the noise
What to do if you can’t reach an agreement with your neighbors and mediation did not work either? Then you could start a court procedure. It’s possible to start a procedure by yourself, but it may be wise to get a lawyer. A lawyer can give you advise, strengthen your position and he/she can estimate your chances of winning the procedure in court.
You can only start a procedure if there’s unlawful nuisance. If you can proof this, the judge can decide to lower your rent. Your landlord is obliged to take measures if the noise disturbance is caused by neighbors who have the same landlord as you. The noise disturbance then qualifies as a defect, because it disturbs your living comfort. Your common landlord is obliged to resolve these defects. If the neighbors who cause the noise disturbance don’t have the same landlord as you, you can sue them with an action based on an unlawful act or based on the statutory rights and duties between neighbors. A disadvantage of a court case is that the outcoming is uncertain, because the judge weighs up the various interests. In these kind of procedures a judge often asks if you have already tried mediation. If not, the judge can refer you to mediatior so it’s wise to try mediation before you start a procedure in court.
What is it you should do?
We do not recommend you to contact your neighbors after every single sound they make. You should ask yourself the question if the noise pollution is really that bad. A certain amount of noise coming from your neighbors can’t be prevented. If it’s very annoying and continiously happening, try to seek contact with your neighbors, so you can work it out together. The next step is addressing the problem to your landlord and the municipality to find out if they can act as a mediator. Still no solution? Noise pollution itself cannot lead to a rent reduction at the Rental Committee, unless this is the result of poor isolation of the walls or ceiling. If the Rental Committee is not an option, we suggest mediation. If finally the mediation is not succesful either, you could start a lawsuit.
Please note that we advise you not to let the disagreement between you and your neighbors get this far, since a lawsuit can worsen the relationship between you and your neighbors extensively.
Are you experiencing noise disturbance coming from your neighbors? And do you continue to experience inconvenience after trying the steps mentioned above? Come to our office. We are happy to help you.