The most common complaints landlords get from tenants are those that revolve around noises. When it comes to building codes though, apartments for rent aren’t required to have soundproofing.
The codes all revolve around structural consistency. Still, those that reside on the landlord’s property surely have a right to enjoy peace and quiet in their rentals.
When there’s a noise complaint, it’s usually because the neighbors are being noisy, the barriers between the units aren’t adequate, or even that some tenants tend to be more particular about sound than others.
For landlords that are constantly having to listen to complaints about noise, you might want to address the issue to make everyone happy.
That’s why soundproofing your rentals can be a great asset for your property’s future. Some ways to soundproof can be free or cheap while others can be more expensive.
If you keep reading, you’ll find soundproofing options to fulfill just about any need. Then you can hear less complaints about noise and your tenants can enjoy the peaceful existence they hope for!
■ What Is Soundproofing?
Soundproofing is what they call it when you use any type of means to reduce the sound pressure in a space while keeping the specific sound source and receptor in mind. There are a few basic ways to reduce sound. You can increase the distance between the source of the sound and the receiver of it. You can use noise barriers to absorb or reflect the sound waves.
You can use damping structures or active anti-noise sound generators too. The great thing with soundproofing is that you have lots of options.
When you’re trying to resolve noise complaints through soundproofing, you should consider how to improve the reverberation, or sound within a room.
You should also work to reduce the leakage of sound from adjacent spaces or outdoors. Acoustic quieting and noise control are great ways to keep unwanted noises out.
Soundproofing can squelch unwanted sound waves that lead to echoes and reverberations.
By doing so, you’ll have tenants that complain much less about the sounds they’re picking up from the neighbors in the adjacent unit. Keep reading and you’ll find out how and why!
Is Soundproofing Beneficial for a Landlord?
In short, yes, it is. Soundproofing a room or an entire unit is something that every property owner should consider if they haven’t already. There are a great many advantages to doing so and it’s worth it. If you rent out units, the frequency of noise complaints will decline when you take measures to soundproof.
Some of your tenants may work from home and if they do, having a comfortable and quiet place to concentrate might be best.
If you rent out homes and one of your tenants is a drummer, there is a great advantage to keeping the peace with soundproofing. And even not in those extremes, the day-to-day noises people hear from their neighbors will blur away when soundproofing measures are taken.
New babies that cry, listening to music even at a reasonable volume, footsteps and more can all be dampened by the efforts of your soundproofing.
If the property you rent is in a noisy area, you can really benefit from soundproofing too.
Plus, if you’re considering selling this property in the future, it will only enhance your selling power by making it what real estate agents refer to as dream property.
Sometimes soundproofing the windows and doors is all it takes to help bring more peace and quiet into a property. It ultimately depends on what’s causing the source of the noise and what you choose to do to dampen it.
You can choose to use soundproofing techniques that require the addition of insulation to ceilings or walls and in doing so, they will reduce utility bills for heating and cooling.
This also cuts down on maintenance. Initially, it’s more work and more investment, but it pays for itself in the long-run.
Soundproofing also increases the quality of life in the space in question. Even soundproofing the bedrooms in your apartment units can bring peace to your renters. This allows them better sleep which can make for happier, healthier residents.
Fortunately, there are many ways to soundproof your spaces. Some are obviously going to be more expensive than others, but that depends on what budget is comfortable for you.
You can make small changes that add for big improvement though. We’ll discuss that below so keep reading.
Reasons Why a Landlord Should Consider Soundproofing a Property
As a landlord, you should make your tenants happy. They’ll want to keep renting from you if you keep them feeling safe and comfortable.
No one wants to rent from a landlord that doesn’t give them the kind of comfort they desire in a home.
Here are the reasons why you should make the effort to soundproof.
■ Neighbor Comfort
In apartment units, neighbors can often hear the sounds from next door. Whether it’s a baby crying, loud laughing or talking, music, or sounds of amorousness, soundproofing can add a layer of privacy.
Just think of the movie Office Space where Peter’s neighbor Lawrence can hear everything he says!
If you use sound insulation, it can prevent those sounds from getting out and add more comfort and quiet for your residents.
Depending on which state you’re in, you may even be required to do something about the noise. Noise is considered a disturbance.
That’s why each city has a noise ordinance rule. Lawn maintenance companies can’t begin their toiling before or after a set time.
It differs by location and as a landlord, you must know the particulars. If you keep having complaints over noises and the police are called often enough to resolve them, you might just find yourself in the middle.
Instead of letting it go that far, take the time to soundproof your property enough so that tenants don’t disturb each other.
■ It Prevents Inspections
When you have soundproofing installed, it’s easier to pass inspections. In some cases, these inspections are mandatory and passing them with flying colors due to having it installed well is imperative.
Everyone deserves to have privacy in their own space. When buildings aren’t soundproofed accordingly, even ordinary sounds can carry and be a nuisance.
Adding sound insulation will stop the airborne sounds and allow residents to enjoy privacy.
■ Avoid Flanking Transmission
Acoustical engineers have a term called ‘flanking transmission.’ This is when a sound passes around, over, or under a main partition that separates 2 spaces.
This is common in apartment buildings. Getting soundproofing done properly when constructing new apartment units will be the key to keeping things comfortable for every tenant.
■ Avoid Impact Sound
Tenants should be able to have normal conversations and listen to music or watch movies at reasonable volumes in their homes without worrying that they’re disturbing the neighbors.
By soundproofing the property, you assure each of them that can come home and relax the way they want to without bothering anyone else.
Comfort goes a long with all of this. After all, the reason they’re renting from you is to have a comfortable place to come home to.
When you feel like you can’t relax in your own space, it’s not very comfortable. To lie awake in bed all night because you can hear the neighbors being affectionate or even simply watching TV at a normal volume will only make your tenants up and move.
■ Health and Safety
Noise pollution takes a huge toll out on health. It can lead to stress and poor sleep quality.
Sound insulation makes sure that the people you rent to will have a safe and pleasant space to call home for as long as they rent from you.
■ Effectiveness of Construction
If you’re going to build from scratch, the quality of your construction can impact the soundproofing.
Ideally, it’s best to add the soundproofing in at this stage. Plus, it will make your properties worth much more and last a long time.
Every building will create noise to some degree, however, the way you insulate it and soundproof it can give it a more quality feel.
In areas where competition is fierce to rent out to tenants, you can have the kind of property that everyone wants to live in.
A hushed quality when you enter a space is as coveted as a luxury car that does the same.
People looking to rent will be more likely to go for the spaces you’re renting, even if they’re smaller than the last place they looked at, because it gives them the feel of having more comfort and privacy.
Now that you know why you should soundproof your property, it’s time to think about how to make that happen. Keep reading and you’ll know!
There are some things you should be aware of though as you look to soundproof your apartment building.
Even the best built buildings can still be prone to sound. This is particularly true from the floor above to the ceiling below, but it can sometimes happen from other areas.
A lot of this can’t be helped and often, the other tenants aren’t trying to make a raucous.
The problems most often complained about tend to be heavy footsteps from above, especially if the neighbor upstairs keeps unusual hours.
Still, in the interest of keeping everyone happy, here’s what you can do to add a bit more quiet.
■ Soundproofing from Aerial Sounds
One of the ways, though not as commonly heard of, that tenants might hear their neighbors is through the air between their apartments.
Closing the window is one option, though on a nice night when the temperature is good, this might not be something your tenants want to do.
The first thing you should do is get an acoustic window sealing kit. You can use the standard installation screws on each unit, though if you’d like a less permanent way to adhere it, use Command Strips. Some kits for sealing doors and windows don’t need any hardware.
You can also use soundproofing paint, but if you have many large spaces to do, this might not be cost-effective for you.
It’s more expensive, plus it takes several coats to reduce the noise. It might be an option for places that only share one wall between them though.
Other things you can do is supply acoustic barrier blankets or soundproofing curtains to help dampen the sound from around.
■ Soundproofing from Impact Sounds
Direct impacts like footsteps on the floor can also make for an annoyance between renters. Unfortunately, it’s pretty expensive to fix without ripping up the entire flooring.
Sometimes, sound can even travel through the walls which is why insulating them and the flooring in a new build situation is a brilliant idea.
But if this is an older property, you can smooth things over by suggesting the upstairs neighbors lay down a rug or wear soft slippers when they pad about to try to keep the peace.
They’re within their rights to ignore you on that, but it might help everyone get along.
You can also suggest sound mitigation. This means having your tenants use things that take the annoyance out of the sounds.
Think white noise or fountains. Music that is played at a reasonable volume can also keep your tenants from hearing sounds they don’t want to hear. And when all else fails, ask them to be mindful of each other in the space.
As the landlord, you have a responsibility to see to these things. Talk to each of the tenants and see what kind of solution can be created from it.
Most people will appreciate that you’re doing something about it and when everyone comes together for a decision, things will improve.
What Are the Soundproofing Problems You’ll Never Fix?
Now, no matter what you do to correct unwanted noise in your building to make your tenants happy, there are some thing that are impossible to change. If you build from scratch, you can build soundproofing in and you should absolutely ensure you do for the enjoyment of that building and resale value for years to come.
Make sure it’s done professionally with top-tier soundproofing products to protect your investment.
So what can’t you fix?
3 Noise Problems Soundproofing Won’t Fix:
Even the best products for sound blocking will be completely useless if you don’t handle a few things first.
1. Leaky Points
Unwanted sounds travel most rapidly and efficiently through the air. At certain points in a room or space, that air can leak in or out, bringing the noise along for the ride.
If windows or doors aren’t sealed well, the air leaks around them will carry in sound. Holes in the sealing and other cracks will also allow this to happen.
What can you do? Before renting to a tenant, make sure you inspect the room or apartment and seal any vulnerable points where sound can come through.
As a frame of reference, a hold just 1-inch wide on a 10-foot by 10-foot wall will reduce the effectiveness of soundproofing for that room by 30%. If you fill it, you improve the soundproofing ability of the room.
2. Not Using the Right Products
When you use sound absorption products, they soak up the sound and keep them from bouncing off the walls. Sound blocking products trap the sound instead though. They keep that sound in the room and don’t let it move to other parts of the building.
Not sure which one you need? You’ll need to compare the source of the undesired sounds to the person that’s hearing them.
So if the noise is in the same space as the person who hears it, you’ll choose sound absorption products. If it’s in a different space, like the neighbor’s apartment, you’ll want sound blocking products.
When you use the wrong type of material, you waste money, time, and you don’t correct the issue with the noise. Before you buy any of these materials – sound absorbing or sound blocking – make sure you go back to the first point and seal every hole that can let in noise.
Truly take the time to go through the space for cracks or spaces between outlets, windows, doors, and along walls where previous tenants may have drilled to hang up artwork.
Once you complete this task, you’ll be able to see if you still need to add sound absorbing or sound blocking materials to the space.
3. Not Properly Installing Soundproofing Materials
After you’ve checked for all the small holes and cracks where sound can travel through and have sealed them all, if you still have troubles with the noise in a particular property, you can go ahead and get the materials you need for soundproofing.
But you should read all of the installation instructions completely. Sit down with it and study what needs to be done so you’re prepared.
You don’t want to arrive at the property to make the installation only to realize there’s a crucial point that you didn’t prepare for.
Planning ahead will always make things go more smoothly. You can also hire someone for the job and order your materials to soundproof your rental spaces.
This can be a much more efficient way to get it done, one that will guarantee the best results.
You’ll save by ordering these items yourself and it will be less difficult to pay someone else to simply install them efficiently.
Being a landlord isn’t easy. There’s always so much to think of when it comes to keeping your tenants safe, comfortable, and happy. That’s why making an investment into soundproofing your properties for rent can make all the difference. It increases the value of your investment and will make the property sell at a higher rate someday.
Doing the soundproofing right though is so important or you waste time and money. Some solutions will be easy to fix while others will be more challenging.
With the right materials though, you can ensure you restore peace to your property. Don’t forget to take the first step and always check out your rooms and apartments for those small cracks and spaces where sound can flow through.
By correcting those first, you’ll already be on your way to renting out more peaceful and quiet places to your tenants.