A thin wall separates my bedroom from my neighbor's living room. Sleep is often impossible. Is this grounds to terminate my lease?
I don't think I can overstate how amazingly well sound travels from my neighbor's apartment into mine. We hear the TV, even at low volumes. We hear all conversations. This morning, a conversation next door, seemingly conducted in an indoor voice, was loud enough to wake me up at 5am. It's as if the building somehow amplifies noise from their apartment. When any activity is occurring in their living room, it is simply impossible to sleep in our bedroom.
My neighbor is sympathetic and has been great in working with us to try to make the situation bearable. We've established some hours during which she's agreed not to use her living room. But it's a tough situation; her family operates on a different schedule than we do, is up at different hours, etc. Today she asked, for the second time, to reduce our "silent time" window. And even during silent time, exceptions regularly occur (e.g., tonight they have company in town, so they will be up late).
I understand their position and am grateful for the accommodations they've been willing to make. But my sense is that they're simply not going to be able to adhere to our agreement over the long term, since it requires them to make a conscious effort on a daily basis to keep quiet in their own home.
I've explained all this to my landlord, and sent him some links to sites
that describe how to soundproof new and existing walls, and while he didn't reject them out of hand, I don't really think he is going to make any changes unless I make some firm demands.
Before I consider going down that road, I'm trying to understand my position. (Note: I'm currently two months into a twelve month lease.) It seems like, as a tenant, I have the right to quiet enjoyment
of my home. (See also here
.) Does this situation qualify as a breech of the covenant of quiet enjoyment? Is the landlord obligated to take action? If he does not, can I rightly ask to terminate my lease early?
(One other item to note: for what it's worth, the apartment is actually a condo that my landlord owns (so the tenants next door are not his). It's a very nice building that was remodeled just a few years ago. The apartment has new appliances, high end hardware, etc., and the rent I'm paying is higher than average for the size of the apartment and the neighborhood, which I was willing to pay because it's supposed to be a nice place. And because we're paying extra for a nice place, I feel, rightly or not, entitled to a bedroom where I can sleep without interruption and without resorting to wearing earplugs.)
What do you think? I would especially love to hear from anyone who has been in a situation like this before or with legal expertise in this area (I know you are not my lawyer).