Thin wall problems

Question from Karl updated on 3rd June 2013:

I have just had a tenant move into one of my properties. They have signed a 12-month fixed term contract. After one week they have sent me an email detailing noise between the walls of their rental and the adjoining rental (it is a villa conversion). They have politely, but firmly, stated that the noise is unbearable and that the thin walls and sound issues were not correctly and honestly advertised when they signed up for the property. I conduct my renting through agents so I do not have anything to do with advertising the property. I am unaware of the noise issue as the previous tenant was there for years and didn't raise it as an issue. However the wall between the master bedroom of this rental and the adjoining rental is very thin and I have no doubt noise does travel through. What would you recommend doing in this situation? What are their rights under the law regarding noise between adjoining rentals?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

If these tenants don’t like the noise, another tenant probably won’t either. Installing some form of sound insulation in the adjoining wall is a possible way of reducing the interference from next door. However, it’s not going to be an easy task if the tenants are in place. I suggest you ask your tenants what they want you to do about it. Perhaps they want to move out, in which case that may give you an opportunity to install some acoustic insulation. Alternatively, if the tenants are willing to undergo a few days of inconvenience while you install insulation in the walls and restore the wallpaper and paint, you may solve the problem. In summary, sit down and talk with them. Communication solves most issues.

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