If my landlord was aware thatI was a musician when I rented my apartment, what are my rights regarding my neighbor’s complaints?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2011

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If my landlord was aware thatI was a musician when I rented my apartment, what are my rights regarding my neighbor’s complaints?

My husband and I live in an apartment. We are both musicians, which we told our landlord prior to moving in.  We asked her if we would have a problem with playing our music and she told us no. It didn’t take long for our downstairs neighbors to start complaining. They have come up a handful of times to tell us it was too loud, so we turned it down a little to make them happy every single time (though the music was not loud at all). But today I came home to a note on my door from the landlord stating that we are in direct violation of the community policies and if any other complaints are made they will have to take further action. I understand that the walls are thin and at times I’ve been able to hear them coughing downstairs, but how loud is too loud? What can I do about this? I want to be respectful but there has to be some kind of compromise, I need to live my life too.

Asked on January 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there is always two sides to every legal issue, legal argument and a person's legal rights.  While you may have rights, they cannot infringe on the rights of others to enjoy their home in quiet peace. While you verbally informed your landlord, think of this as a business relationship with him and not as a friendship.  Meaning, you need to protect yourself.  If you included a provision in your rental agreement that you can play music until a certain time and at a certain volume, as long as those provisions do not violate your state or local law on noise violations (nuisance and trespass laws), then you should be ok. If you did not include this provision and materially relied on your landlord's promises that it would be okay to play your music, you need to realize that if it infringes on other's rights, the most you might be able to get out of this is to be able to move without technically breaching your contract and without giving up a lot of your security deposit.  Consider informing in writing your landlord that you were promised by him and you used this promise materially and to your detriment to enter into a lease agreement and that if he doesn't repair the situation by informing the other tenant of your agreement (again as long as your are not violating any laws), that you will need to seek legal redress with the consumer protection agency in your state who handles landlord tenant issues.

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