What are my rights as a renter regarding loud noise?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2013

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What are my rights as a renter regarding loud noise?

This may seem like a moot discussion but it is really affecting my comfort in the room I rent. I rent from a mom (owner occupant). She has 2 kids (girl 16, boy 15). The boy has DJ equipment with big speakers that project sound/bass through the entire house. His equipment is in the basement and I live 2 floors above and can clearly hear the music and bass. I have complained to the mother many times to resolve the situation. It seems, however, that on a near daily basis now, we are having to confront this loud music issue. Are there any next steps I can take to resolve this aside from moving which would be more of a hassle at this time?

Asked on January 3, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there really isn't much you can do other than moving out. The loud noise, created by a member of the landlord's household, seems to violate the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment, or the renter's right to be able to use ("enjoy") the rental free from unreasonable disruption. However, the main way this covenant is enforced is by affording a tenant the opportunity to terminate a lease early, if the landlord does not address the issue after notice of  it.

You could try to sue for monetary compensation for living with noise in violation of the covenent, but it is very hard to both prove the unreasonableness of the noice (unless you take decible readings) and hard to fix an amount for compensation. You could also in theory sue for a court order requiring them to moderate the noise, but in addition to the proof issues above,  you'd have to file in regular county court (not small claims), which can be expensive and generally requires a lawyer to help you, adding to the cost--and at the end of the day, if you get the order but the landlord and her son simply ignore it, it's hard to enforce.

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