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Can You Break a Lease Because of Noise?

By George Hadgelias

Most people have been there – settling in for the night on the couch for a movie or finally collapse into bed after a long day and then it begins; the noise from next-door, across the road or the apartment upstairs.

For homeowners and renters alike, excessive noise can be a major issue and seriously impact day-to-day life. And while there are official processes in place to help deal with noise issues, renters often wonder if they can break a lease because of it.

The short answer is no, a tenant cannot get out of their lease without penalty because of noise. Here’s all the detail you need to know.

Can I break my lease because of noise?

Head of leasing at property management agency :Different Kasey McDonald said a tenant can’t break their lease without consequence due to noise.

“While the lease agreement has a provision for the tenants’ right to ‘quiet peace and enjoyment’, this relates to what is in the owner’s control, such as no unannounced visits, no inspections beyond legislated routine inspections and entry notices for maintenance,” she said.

Of course, a tenant can end their lease at any time, but it can be costly.

“If a renter did opt to break their lease due to noise made by outside parties, such as neighbours or suburban noise factors, they would be responsible for all terms associated with doing so, such as paying compensation to the landlord for re-letting expenses and rent between tenancies,” Ms McDonald said.

“Your compensation fee will differ based on state legislation and the terms of your lease agreement.”

What does “quiet enjoyment” mean?

When it comes to renting, “quiet enjoyment” relates to the ability to enjoy a home without unnecessary or repeated interruption.

“This means a landlord or landlord’s agent is not able to unreasonably disrupt the peace, comfort and privacy of the renter,” said Ms McDonald.

In a more general sense, tenants are also entitled to seek a solution with a relevant authority if they’re experiencing extreme noise including dogs barking or excessive noise from air conditioners.

What to do about noisy neighbours

No matter what the issue is, the first step should always be to approach the neighbour politely.

“It’s always best to try and find a solution to the problem directly and keep on speaking terms with your neighbours. For example, if your neighbour likes to mow the lawn really early on Sunday morning — which may be the only day you get to sleep in — why not have a chat with your neighbour and see if they could do it later in the day?,” Ms McDonald advised.

However, if the neighbour is consistently disregarding the reasonable expectations of peace and making excessive noise Ms McDonald recommended escalating the matter to the police.

“An appropriate time to call the police is when the noise sounds threatening or if a neighbour is throwing a loud party that shows no signs of easing through the night,” said Ms McDonald.

If, on the other hand, the neighbour has a noisy dog that won’t stop barking, and they refuse to acknowledge concerns after a friendly conversation, it’s best to contact the local council to lodge a formal complaint.

Advice if you live in an apartment

For renters who live an apartment, if the noise issue is from another apartment in the building, Ms McDonald said it’s wise to go through “official channels”. This means asking a property manager or body corporate.

It’s always best to put complaints in writing or keep a record of the noise occurrences just in case you need them down the track.

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