Archives for posts with tag: landlord news

Boston’s North End Has a Noise Problem

Even if you are landlord in the most responsible, timid, and low-key neighborhood in the country, chances are you’ve had to deal with at least one set of noisy tenants. Whether it’s parties, loud exercise equipment, or even particularly raucous, ahem, intimate relations, where there are a lot of people living in close proximity, someone is bound to get to loud.

In Boston, a city councilor has taken to legislation to try to curb the decibels in one of that city’s most densely populated areas, known as the North End. Councilmember Salvatore LaMattina has proposed a city ordinance that would make landlords responsible for the loud behavior of their tenants. It seems that recent years have brought an influx of young professionals and recent college graduates to the North End who decided to bring their frat house habits with them. This has caused much dismay in this historic neighborhood where people complain of frequently being woken up 2 or 3 times per week due to noise on the street and in neighboring buildings.

According to boston.com:

LaMattina’s nuisance control ordinance, filed in late July, would levy fines as follows: for the first offense, the resident, the organizer, and any attendees of a loud party responsible for creating a public nuisance would face a $100 fine. On a second or subsequent offense within one year of the first, a $300 fine would be levied against all the above, plus the owner of the property.

This means that landlords, no matter where they themselves live or who their tenants are, will be held financially responsible for noise complaints filed against their tenants, even if it is a party and the noise is being cause by non-tenants.

As a landlord, you may have had to deal with noise complaints before, between your own tenants. But an ordinance like this is rare. After all, most landlords and property owners who rent out apartments do not live on the premises with their tenants. This makes it impossible to really know about noise issues until they become a problem.

Of course, there are a few ways to address these issues before they explode into problems and you find yourself paying fines. First, it is important to screen tenants before they sign a lease. This means more than just a credit check. Talking to past landlords can be one of the best ways to find out if a tenant is destined to be noisy since most people don’t pick up partying habits overnight. Additionally, having a property manager on site at your building can nip noise issues in the bud before they become real problems. Yes, this may mean losing out on a bit of rental income but if it saves you and your property even one night of contact with the police, it may be well worth the expense.

In the end, it is unlikely that most municipalities will enact the same kind of ordinance that is being proposed in Boston, but taking preventative measures to avoid noisy and disrespectful tenants will never be a waste of time.

Who You Gonna Call? A Lawyer!

There are a lot of things you want to avoid as a landlord, like delinquent renters, unnecessary paperwork and shifty contractors.  But chief among these for most property owners is a law suit.  Whether you’re being sued for rental discrimination or unlawful eviction, you do not want to be faced with your recent tenants in a courtroom, no matter what the circumstances.

So you can imagine how thrilled a Toms River, New Jersey landlord was to find out he was being sued by a couple that had moved out of his rental home after only a week.  Turns out they thought they should get their security deposit back in full because the landlord didn’t tell them that the house was haunted.

After a week of what the couple has described as eerie noises, flickering lights and slamming doors, Jose Chincilla and his fiancée Michele Callan called in a paranormal expert to diagnose the house as haunted.  The ghost busters (not their technical name, I’m sure) at the Shore Paranormal Research Society decided that the house was indeed haunted and the couple moved out immediately.  You can visit the society’s website to see a video of their highly inconclusive evidence of paranormal activity (which is different from an all out haunting, apparently).

As you might expect, the landlord has a pretty different opinion about the situation.  He is countersuing the couple because he believes what actually scared them away was the prospect of paying their rent every month and the ghost story is just an excuse to break their lease and still get their deposit back.

A tenant certainly has a right to know about the quirks of a unit before they move in, but it’s doubtful that landlords are going to start including a haunting clause in their leases.

What would you do if your tenant told you that your property was haunted?  Would you give the deposit back?