Thursday, January 05, 2006

Crisis Averted

Tuesday the tenant from Apartment 3 asked me to speak to the tenant from Apartment 5 about the excessive amounts of noise his TV was producing.

The story, as I piece it together now after the fact (and this is not 100% reliable, as much of it is surmise), is that Apt 5 started turning his TV up louder and playing it more often as a result of his frustration with the noise coming from above him.

At any rate, by the time the issue came to me, the two tenants had reached the point where Apt 5 would not always answer the door for Apt 3, and when he finally did, swore at him instead of having a rational discussion.

I should mention the fact that the tenant from Apt 5 is on some kind of disability pension, is partially deaf (especially in the higher registers) and certainly does not have all of the social skills one might wish for.

So, as a dutiful landlord, I attempted to speak to Apt 5 in person. However, as I often do, I got no response to my knocking at the door. Therefore I decided to write a letter, which I then polished and printed the next day at work, and left in the mail slot.

This resulted in a passionate knock on the door last night, where I was made aware of the full force of Apt 5’s frustration. I explained that they both had a duty to respect each other and not make so much noise that the other person couldn’t enjoy their apartment, agreed with him that he had a right to peace and quiet too, and after a few minutes, suggested that we both go talk to Apt 3.

I was really impressed by the person in Apt 3’s handling of the encounter; he was very calm, and very accommodating, saying that he understood that Apt 5 was having trouble with the noise too, and to please just let him know and he’d do what was necessary to keep the noise down. At the end they shook hands and parted fairly peaceably.

I’m not 100% convinced I’ve heard the last of this problem, but Apt 3 felt that we had probably solved it. He’s got a lot of experience in dealing with people like the tenant in Apt 5, as he works as the night manager at a local pub. All I can say is, I hope he’s right.

As a landlord, I have some obligation to step up and protect each of my tenants from any interference in their enjoyment of their apartment, and I certainly have an interest in not losing good tenants, but I don’t have any recourse if the tenants aren’t cooperative. The only action I can personally take is to use the one tenant’s complaints as a reason for evicting the other tenant, which I suspect would be difficult, especially in a situation like this where each would say the other was the offender. Either tenant could potentially call an Ottawa Bylaw officer to report a noise violation, which could result in a fine, if proven.

In the main, I just have to rely on people’s good sense. Cross your fingers.


Anonymous areicker said...

I'd say it's better for everyone involved to have you (vs the cops) as the go between!

5:10 p.m.  

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