Excessive noise from disrespectful tenants

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Latest post 09-24-2013 4:26 PM by karen2222. 5 replies.
  • 09-24-2013 9:00 AM

    Excessive noise from disrespectful tenants

    Here in Ohio, I have tenants that come home with their friends after the bars close at 2:30AM.  They proceed to play loud music, yell, swear, rumble, etc. to all hours of the morning, both within their 2nd floor unit and on their balcony porch.  They wake up everyone in the 4-unit building they live in and also disturb other neighbors living in adjacent buildings.

    I have warned them several times to stop this activity.  First they deny it ever happened, then they apologize, but they've yet to improve.  I have very little confidence they will ever changeunder the present circumstances.  Because of this, I risk losing other valuable tenants in the building who are sick of losing sleep and being disturbed.  I have also complained to the police, but they haven't been able to do much to effect a change either.

    In an effort to remedy, I can develop and enforce a noise ordinance that allows for a first warning and then for escalating fees?

    I gather it's difficult to evict on the basis of excessive noise. If needed, to facilitate eviction, if they are late paying rent, can I refuse their effort to pay rent late and then file for lack of rent payment?

    If I lose a tenant because of their inablitity to keep quiet, can I deduct any lost rent from a lost tenant from their deposit?

    Thanks.

     

     

     

     

  • 09-24-2013 9:44 AM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,469

    Re: Excessive noise from disrespectful tenants

    august_west:

    I gather it's difficult to evict on the basis of excessive noise. If needed, to facilitate eviction, if they are late paying rent, can I refuse their effort to pay rent late and then file for lack of rent payment?

    How do you now that it is difficult to evict tenants for excessive noise?  In any case, if they pay there rent late, what if anything does your lease have to say about late rent payments?  That's where you look first for a remedy.  If you can legally evict in Ohio for late rnt payments, start the process and get it right the first time.  You and your other tenants will be much happier. 

    august_west:
    If I lose a tenant because of their inablitity to keep quiet, can I deduct any lost rent from a lost tenant from their deposit?

    What does your lease have to say about that possibility?  Probably nothing, so not likely.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 09-24-2013 9:56 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,323

    Re: Excessive noise from disrespectful tenants

    Suggestions from an old PA LL.

    Odds of  collection due to damages from losing other good tenants are about zero.

    Noise issues are exceedingly difficult to prove, other tenants won't appear and testify, unless you were personally there your comments are hearsay, absent ascertainable standards as to noise you will bat zero.

    If there are local noise or disturbance ordinances..a series of convictions for same may help..but just a lot of complaints may not be of useful weight.

    If your lease provides for a clear payment date and a hefty but not unreasonable late fee you can enforce that...but you cannot unilaterally add a late fee to an existing contract.

    My state is very liberal as to a late tenant can cure and stay...and in general contract law favors a cure but I do NOT know how it shakes out in OH..you dig...in some states if you accept money you lose the eviction option..some allow both, varies. But if you allow a cure or the law requires you to allow a cure...your odds to evict due to late alone may hit zero.

    H



  • 09-24-2013 2:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive noise from disrespectful tenants

    august_west:
    In an effort to remedy, I can develop and enforce a noise ordinance that allows for a first warning and then for escalating fees?

    You can put reasonable new requirements and conditions in any new leases you offer tenants, but you have no legal right to modify an existing lease without the tenant's agreement.

    august_west:
    I gather it's difficult to evict on the basis of excessive noise.

    I assume these tenants have a written lease;  when does it expire?  Are the tenants in violation of the lease as it is written?  If you're not sure, go ahead and quote the relevant parts here (verbatim).

    The Ohio Revised Code is a little inconsistent, but even though lease violations are not specifically listed in ORC 5321.03 (in the landlord-tenant Code chapter), they are listed in ORC 1923.02, in the chapter covering evictions (which are called "forcible entry and detainer actions" in Ohio law).  ORC 1923.02(A)(9) reads  "(A) Proceedings under this chapter may be had as follows: ... (9) Against tenants who have breached an obligation imposed upon them by a written rental agreement;"

    If there is nothing in the lease addressing their behavior, then you'd be stuck trying to argue that what they're doing "materially affects health and safety," and thus allows you to evict under ORC 1923.02(A)(8).  Probably not a winning argument, unfortunately.

    august_west:
    If needed, to facilitate eviction, if they are late paying rent, can I refuse their effort to pay rent late and then file for lack of rent payment?

    As I read the Ohio law (I'm not a lawyer), you can wait until the day after the rent is due and then send them an eviction notice. Don't wait until they try to pay.  It seems quite possible to me that even if they pay late, you can still evict them if you frame it as an eviction for a lease violation.

    Be aware that eviction is not generally recommended as a do-it-yourself process. You can send the eviction notice as described in ORC 1923 and hope they move out by the deadline, but if they don't, the next step is to start the legal eviction process.  That is a lawsuit, so you really need to hire a lawyer.

    In your shoes, I'd go ahead and consult a lawyer before even sending any initial eviction notice, because people on a forum like this can only go on what the law seems to be saying and don't know anything about how Ohio courts have interpreted these laws in previous cases, which can be hugely important.

    There are landlord associations out there also, that might be worth joining.  I don't know that much about them, but it looks like one thing they do is maintain some kind of list of lawyers who regularly do work for them and their members.

  • 09-24-2013 3:55 PM In reply to

    • Kivi
      Consumer
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-01-2005
    • CA
    • Posts 6,082

    Re: Excessive noise from disrespectful tenants

    The others have offered you some good suggestions.

    I am assuming these people have a lease. What you can do, when the time comes, is "non-renew" it in accordance with the terms of your lease. (You probably need to give them thirty or sixty days advance notice of your intention terminate their tenancy at the end of the lease term.Your lease should tell you how much adance notice you have to give them. If it does not, consult a local attorney familar with the statutes governing this sort of situation.)

    You might want to have your lease terms reviewed by a local attorney (one who regularly represents landlords), to see if you can insert language that might better protect you from this kind of situation with future tenants. But, I don't think you can change lease terms mid-stream, which appears to be your situation at this time.

     

  • 09-24-2013 4:26 PM In reply to

    Re: Excessive noise from disrespectful tenants

    august_west:
    If I lose a tenant because of their inablitity to keep quiet, can I deduct any lost rent from a lost tenant from their deposit?

    No.  You can try to sue them for damages, but you cannot take their money without a court judgment that says they owe it to you.

    The smart lesson to learn from this is to do a thorough background check before you accept a tenant.  There are companies that do that for a fee ($50 or so), which is the way to go if you are a small-scale landlord.  When you put one of those background-checking company application forms in front of certain people, they suddenly remember that they are late for something.  They promise to fill out and return the forms - but you never hear from them again ;-)

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