Buzz-saw Snore Keeps Tenants Awake at Night
Robert S. Griswold | Steven R. Kellman | Ted Smith
This column on issues confronting renters and
landlords is written by Counselor of Real Estate and
Certified Property Manager Robert Griswold, host of Real
Estate Today! with Robert Griswold (10 a.m.
Saturdays on AM1130 - KSDO radio, or on the Internet
and by attorneys Steven R. Kellman, director of the
Tenants' Legal Center, and Ted Smith, principal in a law
firm representing landlords.
QUESTION: My next door neighbor's loud snoring is causing us many
sleepless nights. Is my landlord required to do anything about the
snoring neighbor if we complain? We have tried banging on our common
wall but this only wakes him up for a few minutes before he falls
asleep again and resumes snoring.
ANSWER: Kellman: The right to have a quiet and peaceful rental can
easily collide with a neighbor's right to do innocent protected acts
that make noise. For example, singing in the shower, running a juicer,
watching TV, having peaceful but slightly heated arguments are all
that make noise. This "normal" noise must generally be
multiunit housing, which means that very sound-sensitive people will
like living there.
Neighbors can, however, make too much noise. When this happens, the
line may be crossed where the noise making needs to be limited.
Snoring is clearly an innocent act done without intention to bother
anyone. But if the snoring is very loud, it certainly can bother
neighbors who have the right to be able to sleep without such
If you have tried all you can do without success, the landlord should
in and advise the snoring tenant to take whatever action he/she can do
alleviate the problem at the source. A considerate individual will
certainly wish to cooperate and take advantage of the many methods
available to reduce or eliminate the snoring noise. The simple use of
communication and cooperation may go a long way in resolving this
Smith: It'll be a sad day when California landlords are legally
modify the sleeping patterns of their tenants. You'd have a tough time
this was a case going to court.
But I do have some suggestions. First, go next door. Ask him to prop
head up, sleep on his side or stomach, or take some inhaler. Then, I
you to go buy some earplugs.
Seriously, noises of this nature are inherent in multifamily housing.
this case, based on the snoring, the landlord has not sufficiently
the implied warranty to provide quiet enjoyment. If you are thinking
trying to get out of a lease, I don't believe that you can. You would
stuck unless you can get the landlord to move you elsewhere.
Not a lost cause
A friend moved here from an apartment in New York City several months
ago. Her former landlord has not yet returned her security deposit,
despite her many requests. We realize that he's confident he can get
away with it
because she is not in a position to fly back to New York just to sue
through Small Claims Court.
Additionally, in the four years she's lived in his building, he has
paid her the monthly interest on her escrowed security deposit, as
by New York law. Are you aware of any action she might be able to take
to get her money back (including whatever additional money he now owes
her for not returning it within the requisite 21 days) without leaving
Kellman: Of course it sounds like your friend has a potential claim
damages regarding the improper handling or refund of the security
if, in fact, the landlord did not follow the law in New York.
According to the New York State Unified Court System Brochure, "A
Guide to Small Claims Court (September 1996)," you can sue in New
York Small Claims Court for up to $3,000. The important difference
between that court and the Small Claims Court in California is that
there you are allowed to be represented by an attorney.
Therefore, it appears that your friend may be able to retain an
present her claim with a neighbor or friend appearing as a witness
with her sworn affidavit as to her version of the situation.
In New York, one may have the case heard by a judge or an arbitrator.
the parties agree on an arbitrator, the award is final and there is no
appeal as there would be if a judge had heard the matter. The case may
even be filed by mail and the filing fee is $10 for claims up to
$1,000 and $15 for claims between $1,000 and $3,000.
For further information (and to confirm if an attorney may appear in
of your friend) you may call (212) 791-6000 for general information or
(212) 374-5779 for the Manhattan Courts.
Last month's rent?
I am a month-to-month renter who is planning to buy a home soon. My
current rental agreement states my monthly rent plus the security
deposit. There is no reference to the security deposit being used as
last month's rent.
When I give my landlord the proper 30-day notice to move do I have to
pay rent for that month or can I use the security deposit money to pay
for the last month's rent?
Griswold: Since your rental agreement does not state specifically that
have paid "last month's rent" as part of your security
deposit, then you
must pay the last month's rent or face the serious possibility that
landlord will begin legal action.
You would receive a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. Of course,
could contact the landlord and ask him to agree to use your security
deposit as the last month's rent, however, if he reads our column then
will not make this mistake!
YOU'RE A TENANT OR LANDLORD, the authors stand ready to
answer your questions in this column, although letters
cannot be answered individually. Write them at: Rental
Roundtable, Homes Section, San Diego Union-Tribune, P.O.
Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191. Or you may e-mail
them at firstname.lastname@example.org
2000 Rental Roundtable
Robert Griswold and the Real Estate
Today! radio show strongly support the intent and the letter of all federal and
state fair housing laws. As a reminder to all owners and managers of real
estate, note that all real estate advertised is subject to the Federal Fair
Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise "any preference,
limitation, discrimination because of race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sex,
physical disability, or familial status, or intention to make any such
preference, limitation or discrimination." Additional state and/or local
fair housing laws may also apply. Be sure to inform all persons that all
dwellings offered or advertised are on an equal opportunity basis.
Revised and Updated -
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Robert S. Griswold, CRE, CPM, CCIM,
PCAM, GRI, ARM
Griswold Corporate Center
Griswold Real Estate Management, Inc.
5703 Oberlin Drive, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92121-1743
Phone: (858) 597-6100
Fax: (858) 597-6161
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