Irish Times Property Clinic 17th of April 2014
Publishing Date; Thursday the 17th day of April 2014.
Q. My wife and I are owner-occupiers of a two-bed apartment and have a three month old baby. The apartment beside us is rented out and recently got new tenants. They are very loud; talking loudly late at night (which I don’t really blame them for as the walls are quite thin) but they also have late night parties fairly regularly. I have tried approaching them and explaining the situation but have had little success. I have also addressed the issue with the owner of the apartment but he hasn’t done anything about it- we get the impression he is happy as long as they are paying the rent. We’re at our wits end. Where can we go from here?
A. An owner’s management company (OMC) lease agreement binds the company to its members and would indicate the lessee’s covenants. You should review your lease with the OMC to identify the conditions therein. It is likely that there are conditions for the allowed times for audible noise to be heard outside the premises. The OMC House Rules may also be used as an instrument by the OMC to protect the members’ rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property and the members may consider such rules and regulations at a general meeting. The property owner is responsible for their tenants’ actions and behaviour during their tenancy inclusive of House Rule and Lease breaches.
The Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 (Noise) Regulations, 1994 (S.I. No. 179 of 1994) provides redress in the case of common types of noise problems. A guide to noise regulations is available to download on www.enfo.ie. or can be collected from their offices. It is also possible for you to contact the Environmental Agency or your Local Authority to take an action in the District Court so as to seek a Court Order to resolve the issue of the alleged noise. The Court will provide you with a form to fill out and will then hear your case and that of the defending party. As the property is rented you may wish to consider taking an action with the Private Residential Tenancies Board. The PRTB will only review a complaint about a landlord if the case is not before the District Court so both actions cannot be undertaken at the same time. The Private Residential Tenancies Act 2004 allows for a person to take a complaint to them in the event that a landlord fails to ensure that their tenants observe their lease agreement.
It is important to maintain detailed records of the noise. This will ensure a comprehensive record of events for use at a PRTB adjudication or communication with the local authority.
It might be best to consider adding another layer of dry lining to your apartment which will act as a sound insulator and would preserve good relations with your neighbours.
Paul Huberman is a member of the Property & Facilities Management Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland
Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd
Publish Date: 17/04/2014