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Should I file a noise complaint against another tenant?

Springfield, NJ |

I live in a 3 family house in Springfield, NJ. When I first moved here, one man was living upstairs.
A few months ago three more people moved in with him. Those three people are ridiculously loud (at all hours) to the point that sometimes I think my ceiling is going to collapse. I notified the landlord over a week ago and he has yet to return my call. I have also talked to the original tenant, and he said he has talked to his "roommates" about it, but the noise has yet to decease.
Should I go to the police and file a complaint or refuse to pay rent?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. In most states, every lease has what's called an implied covenant of "quiet enjoyment." Your landlord has an obligation to make sure that no other tenants are infringing upon your rights to enjoy your property and be free of the types of disturbances your neighbor is causing.

    I would suggest putting your noise complaint to the landlord in writing. If your landlord fails to act to correct the problem, then you may have other remedies available to you.

    Also, there could be potential local/municipal code violations (zoning regarding the number of people living in the apartment, noise violations, etc.). Calling the police and/or your local code enforcement authority may be helpful as well.

  2. It is unlikely that the Springfield Police will agree to get involved in this situation, which is a civil, not criminal matter. Therefore, your best course of action is to send a letter or e-mail to your landlord outlining your complaints and asking him to remedy the situation. The landlord must then send the offending tenants a Notice to Cease, demanding that they immediately stop the offensive behaviors; if they fail to do so, then the landlord must send them a Notice to Quit, giving them at least 3 days to vacate the premises before filing an eviction complaint in the Landlord-Tenant section of Superior Court in Union County . If the landlord fails to take these actions on your behalf, you may be entitled to an abatement in your rent due to the infringement upon your right to quiet enjoyment. You other option,should you so desire, would be to terminate your tenancy and vacate the premises yourself, using the landlord's failure to deal with the disturbance to your quiet enjoyment of the premises as justification for breaking the lease (if you have a written, year-long lease) early; if you are a month-to-month tenant, then you only have to give the landlord one month's notice of your intention to vacate. Be sure to document all communication with the landlord writing so you can prove why you have done whatever course of action you choose.

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