When it comes to community living, the occasional noise from a nearby neighbour is to be expected. When that noise becomes excessive or disruptive to the peaceful enjoyment of the other residents, however, it’s up to HOA management to resolve the issue. Here’s how to handle noise complaints in a way that is patient, professional and most importantly, effective.
Establish and Document a Policy
First and foremost, to properly address a noise violation, you’ll need a formal policy that you can actually enforce. Be explicit in what is and isn’t allowed, and the details surrounding those rules. For instance, there is to be no loud music after 9pm or excessive noise prior to 8am. Once you’ve developed your ordinance and achieved board approval, make it official by documenting it in your HOA bylaws.
Communicate and Remind
New HOA members should be made aware of all the community rules, including those involving noise. But don’t just stop there. Provide occasional reminders as well. And when someone breaches the noise ordinance, give them the benefit of the doubt, gently remind them of the rules and inform them that their behavior is in violation. Be sure to also make them aware of any and all potential consequences should the situation not be rectified.
Oftentimes a homeowner will rent out their property, either to long-term tenants or as a vacation rental. Regardless of which scenario is at play, it’s ultimately the owner of the home who is responsible for ensuring that all HOA rules and bylaws are followed. If it’s a one-time issue, it’s probably not a big deal. If it’s an ongoing problem, however, the absentee owner must be held accountable.
Mediate When Necessary
As an HOA manager, it’s your responsibility to facilitate the timely and peaceful resolution of homeowner disputes. If a noise complaint begins to escalate, it is in everyone’s best interest that you and/or other board members step in to try and defuse the situation before it devolves into a legal matter.
If verbal and written warnings aren’t sufficient for curbing noisy behaviour, it’s time to start enforcing some consequences, whether it be a fine or something more severe. Again, these regulatory actions should be clearly stated in the HOA bylaws so that you are legally able to enforce them. They should also be reasonable and fair.
Addressing noise complaints is an essential job of HOA management. The tips above should help you handle violations like a boss and ensure a peaceful and harmonious community for everyone.