While everyone isn't always on the same schedule, a modest amount of noise likely won't bother tenants living in close proximity to one another. Even a few loud gatherings typically aren't a cause for concern, provided they don't happen frequently and aren't deafeningly boisterous.
But some people make an excessive amount of noise — and some sounds are particularly unsettling.
In one one tenancy dispute, a B.C. landlord alleged that a tenant's noisy "afternoon delight" sullied their peaceful summer afternoons.
According to B.C.'s Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), landlords are responsible for providing quiet enjoyment to all tenants. Upon getting a disturbance complaint from a tenant, the landlord must take steps to fix the problem. For example, a landlord may need to speak to a tenant about noise if it bothers neighbouring tenants.
Tenants must make sure they, their guests and their pets don’t unreasonably disturb other occupants.
Sex in the afternoon
In a 2015 dispute, a B.C. landlord said she enjoyed working outside in the summers. Since she was retired, working in her gardening, entertaining guests, and working in her garage comprise the lion's share of her time. However, she claimed that a particularly noisy tenant prevented her from enjoying peaceful afternoons due to the raucous sex the renter was having with her partner.
Starting on Mother's Day, the landlord and her adult children were woodworking in the driveway when they heard the "unmistakable sounds of sexual intercourse." Rattled by the noises, the family moved inside the landlord's unit as they felt "so uncomfortable."
And the sex-related interruptions didn't stop there, according to the landlord. On three separate occasions the following weekend, she claimed she was forced to go inside her house due to the noise. One time she was having coffee with her sister on the patio, while in another circumstance she was working in the garage on a project that required a saw. In the final incident, she was talking to her neighbour on the driveway.
On May 20, the landlord broached the issue with the female tenant and issued her a letter. The conversation was described as "awkward" for both parties and the tenant felt targeted for being "a deviant."
The renter purchased a security camera, ensured her blinds were closed, checked that the windows were shut, and took steps to minimize the noise of the sexual activity, such as playing music and putting padding behind the headboard. She also claimed that the landlord was "lurking" and that she felt her privacy was invaded.
Despite the renter's attempts at diffusing the sound, the landlord provided evidence to suggest that the boisterous noise emanated from the rental units well into September. The Residential Tenancy Board ruled in favour of the landlord because she submitted evidence that showed an open window and also because she kept a log of the incidents. In contrast, the renter did not check with the landlord to see if her attempts at eliminating the noise were successful.
As far as the renter's behaviour was concerned, the ruling underscores that essentially nothing changed. As a result, the landlord was successful in ending the tenancy.