Last updated: January 20, 2023 at 13:35 pm
It’s difficult to tell who is responsible for soundproofing between flats as there is no clear guidance or law surrounding this topic. One might think the responsibility lies solely on the owner/landlord that is connected to a building, but this isn’t always the case.
The responsibility depends on the situation so it’s important to familiarise yourself with different options and scenarios. In this article, we will delve into where this responsibility can fall and the ways in which you can go about this procedure as both a landlord and a tenant.
IN THIS ARTICLE
Is It the Landlord’s Responsibility?
The answer to this question is ambiguous because there are new clear laws surrounding soundproofing between flats. This means that landlords have no legal obligation to ensure their building(s) are soundproofed in any shape or form.
Having said this, tenants do have a legal right to Quiet Enjoyment, a law that was established in real estate laws. The Quiet Enjoyment Law states that a tenant has the right to peaceful living, to a certain extent. This law can help with unwanted noises surrounding a property but it’s important to note that this law does not give you the right to complete silence, which soundproofing can ensure.
Therefore, total soundproofing that would block out typical noises such as talking does not really fall into the hands of the landlord. Having said this, landlords can benefit from implementing soundproofing measures in their flats.
Benefits for Landlords
While it’s not legally required for landlords to implement soundproofing between flats, there are many benefits to it for everyone involved.
As a landlord, you can keep tenants satisfied by soundproofing the area you’re renting out and avoiding noise complaints in the future. These kinds of complaints can become quite costly and time-consuming and it’s best to avoid them altogether.
You can also avoid any legal trouble by ensuring that this is implemented early in the renting process/ before anyone moves in.
A Good Selling Point
You can advertise your flat(s) as being soundproof which will entice residents to stay longer and attract new residents to the area if you’re renting out multiple flats. Many renters have certain criteria they’re looking for when hunting for a flat, and this often includes sufficient soundproofing between flats.
A good level of privacy is important for almost everyone, and soundproofing allows for this. This will increase the value of your building significantly and ensure a quicker renting process in the future.
Keep Tenants Coming Back
You want to ensure tenants are happy with their renting agreement and hope that they stay for a longer period. If this isn’t possible, it would also be beneficial if tenants left a solid review for any future tenants and leave a happy review of their stay.
Studies show that soundproofed buildings allow for better sleep, the prevention of hearing and health problems, and overall improved well-being.
Unnecessary noise can affect your comfort levels while you’re at home in a number of ways. Tenants will likely continue to rent in a quiet area and may recommend the area to a friend because of this.
Keep Heat in and Out
The materials that are used in the soundproofing process contain insulation properties, meaning heat can’t get in or out of the flat. Soundproofing means more dense walls and insulated windows and doors.
This means that tenants won’t need to use as much heat during the colder months and won’t need to use air conditioning in the hotter months. While it may cost money to soundproof the building, you’ll save on energy bills so it should balance itself out. Along with this, it’s an added benefit for tenants!
Who Else is Responsible?
In some cases, tenants can take the issue of excessive noise to the council. This is a good option if your landlord/ owner in charge of the building is not taking responsibility for any excessive sound issues.
Tenants are entitled to peaceful living; therefore, the local council may have to step in if the landlord refuses to fix noise problems via soundproofing.
Options for Soundproofing for Landlords
If you’ve decided to take responsibility for your flat as a landlord/ building owner, it’s important to understand what kind of soundproofing is out there.
The options we’ve listed below are quite affordable and, as listed above, will greatly benefit you and your tenants in the long run.
- Floor Underlayment: Installing flooring underlayment is a great idea. These go under your floorboards and will ensure a reduction in noises such as footsteps, objects dropping to the floor, and moving furniture around. An added benefit is that this process can make the surface softer to walk on. A thick carpet can help this situation also
- Insulation: Not only will insulation help reduce the noise coming from inside flats, but it’ll also keep outside noises, outside. Insulating walls is one of the best ways to accomplish this, but you can also insulate the ceiling, windows, doors, and so on. This is another affordable option
- Door Sweeps: Another affordable soundproofing option is to purchase door sweeps for your flat(s). Door sweeps are placed in the gap at the bottom of the door to reduce noise coming in or out. They’re also easy to install and can be moved around, which is useful if you’re travelling and want to soundproof a hotel room
- Ensuring Heat Vents/Ducts are Checked: This is important in the soundproofing process. Any noise travelling through heat vents or ducts is amplified and can be the cause of a lot of noise. You can install insulation properties in your heat vents/ducts to avoid this problem
Options for Tenants
If you’re a tenant looking to soundproof your flat and you’d rather take responsibility for the process, there are a few ways in which you can do this yourself. This way, you’re not involving a landlord or property owner and you’re not damaging the property that you’re renting.
One of the best solutions is furniture. Furniture, such as large couches, pillows, or similar objects, can soak up noise and create a soundproof barrier. The location in which you place your furniture is also important because placing large pieces of furniture against a shared wall can help block out any noise from your neighbours.
If you have permission to line your floors and you live above other flats, you could line your floors with a carpet that will prevent noise from rising from below. A rug would also work if you’re looking for an easier soundproofing option on a budget.
Another option would be to speak to your neighbours. Having a polite conversation with the people renting flats around you can sometimes be your best option. Talk through the soundproofing options with your neighbours and see if they’d be willing to implement some easy soundproofing methods in their own flats. This way, you can all help each other out!
Soundproofing at Night
While this may not be a long-term option, hanging thick blankets or cloth from your ceiling can help soundproof your flat. Especially during the night-time if you’re surrounded by loud exterior noises.
This can also be used as a short-term option while you’re waiting for proper soundproof measures to be implemented. It’s easy to set up and take down.
There are a few simple fixes you can use to soundproof your flat as a tenant without making any real changes or adjustments to the building. Once again, these options are useful at night if you’re surrounded by a lot of noise and unable to sleep.
- Ear plugs/ Noise Cancelling Headphones. Investing in ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones is a simple way to avoid unnecessary sound, especially when trying to sleep at night. This is also a good idea if you’re waiting for a landlord to fix the problem, but you want a temporary solution. (Remember to be careful that you can still hear fire or emergency alarms when using these).
- White Noise Machines. White noise machines work the same way. They create an ambient sound that blocks out any noise in your surrounding area. It’s particularly useful for babies and small children at night when you’re living around noisy neighbours. You can save money by downloading a white noise app or using a white noise YouTube video, which works in a similar way.
The responsibility of soundproofing between flats depends on each individual situation. There is not necessarily one sole person who is responsible, but rather, a few different people depending on the renting situation.
It’s best to consider your options and speak to your landlord if you want your flat soundproof and quiet. As for tenants, it’s a good idea to implement these soundproofing measures in order to achieve happy tenants and higher property value in the long run!