I have spent most of my adult life renting from assorted different kinds of landlords. In those years, I’ve dealt with the hard-core business types, the overly codependent types, the nagging assholes and other kinds. I’ve learned to get to know the laws covering tenants and tenants’ rights.
Now, even though we’re trying to sell the house in which my sister has raised her children, we are still renting out the “mother-in-law cottage” in our back yard. This area has a tendency for a house being put up for sale to take quite a few years before the house actually sells.
Now, my sister has rented it out before. Before I moved in with her, she had decided to not continue renting it out, because while the income was nice, dealing with tenants took energy she no longer had to spare.
Along I come, and have a different perspective. So, since we have needed the money, I am in essence her property manager. I don’t get paid for it, just am much more able to deal with the issues that can pop up relating to having a tenant on the same property as we live. I deal with rent (receipts, late fees, issues) and am the go-to person for issues in the cottage.
Now, I’d like to think I am a pretty laid-back property manager. I don’t interfere with the day-to-day life of the tenant, nor do I make judgements on their personal choices (as long as those do not cause damage to the property).
But I am fairly strict about sound levels. Why? Because of two main reasons, only one of which is personal. The city of Cumberland, Wisconsin has an ordinance regarding noise, including noise created by people simply talking to each other. There is a curfew for sound: 10:00 pm. Not 10:00 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends like in the Twin Cities, but 10:00 pm period. And sadly, we as landlords can be fined for our tenants breaking that particular ordinance.
That’s the NON-personal issue. The other part? I’m pretty damned protective of my sister, and frankly she goes to bed fairly early (I’ve always been the night owl). Given her own issues, including the autonomic disorder, I want to ensure she does NOT experience additional stress from our tenant(s).
So, I’m fairly strict about policing sound. I spend a good portion of my day in the basement, because it is a much better place to spend time in during the summer months (hey, the house was built in the 1890s and renovated badly in the 1970s – so not a good candidate for central air heating and cooling; besides, the house was at one point a hospital….that should tell you the size of the place). But, being in the basement, means that if I hear boisterous partying from our tenants, it has gotten FAR too loud.
Maybe that makes me a bitch. But I really don’t care. Living as a tenant, I have had to deal with repeated parties lasting to the early dawn hours when I or my family needed to be up for work early. And more often than not, the landlords didn’t deal with the problems. Even though most cities have some form of “sound ordinance,” the bigger city police tend to put dealing with sound complaints prioritized under things like shots fired, breaking and entering, rape or any number of other kinds of assault. But we don’t live in an urban setting like that. Plus, we have a cop living just a few doors down.
I tell each prospective tenant that we have a cop living nearby (I usually point out the house). This is mostly to support my claim that it is a peaceful and normally uneventful location. But, this would be the first time I have had to repeatedly point out to the tenant that the sound ordinance requires peace after 10pm.
Trust me, I do understand the desire to spend time with friends, and have fun. Yet, one needs to be aware of other people and their needs as well.