Irish Times Property Clinic 9th day of June 2022.
Publishing Date; Thursday the 7th day of July 2022.
Q A number of years ago my husband and I left our large house and gardens behind and downsized to a lovely little apartment on the first floor of our building. We have really enjoyed living here. Unfortunately, we have recently experienced difficulty with new neighbours.
The flat below us was sold and is now let out and our peaceful apartment block is now quite loud. A group of young men moved in and seem to have band practice well into the night. What’s more, they are constantly smoking on the porch just below our porch and windows. We have to keep our windows shut or our home is filled with the smell.
We asked them nicely if they might smoke a few yards away but they said their landlord won’t let them smoke inside, so they expect to smoke there. They have also ignored our request that they limit their band practice time.
We are quite frustrated both with the noise and the smoke. Is it possible to raise a noise complaint with our owners’ management company? Would it be possible to propose a designated smoking area away from the building? It would be a shame if we have to keep our sliding doors and windows shut during the summer months.
A. It can be very stressful to experience nuisance at your home. We can’t choose our neighbours and residential developments require occupants to be considerate of others for all to have peaceful enjoyment of their home.
Standard owners’ management company (OMC) leases would have lessee covenants stating that it is not allowed for a noise-making instrument or device to be audible causing annoyance to others between certain times. It would traditionally be in effect between late at night and early morning. A review of your lease will clarify the specific rule.
The house rules of a development are an extension of the lease and will reference prohibition of nuisance noise at times also. The OMC may be called on by you to enforce the rules. Consultation with the OMC on the provision of a smoking area may yield results and could be investigated with your fellow members as a proportionate response to the issue with the aim of a smoking area being provided at the next meeting.
The landlord may not be aware of the breaches, and this should be brought to their attention as they are responsible for any lease breaches by their tenants’ action.
If the landlord does not provide suitable relief, you may refer the matter to the Residential Tenancies Board. However, from experience it will be difficult to obtain a meaningful adjudication as even the most severe of antisocial behaviour is difficult to resolve and noise complaints are viewed as being on the lower scale.
Paul Huberman FSCSI FRICS is a chartered property and facilities manager, and a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd
Publish Date: 07/07/2022