Does a landlord have an obligation to tenants to enforce the rules in an apartment lease regarding noise complaints against another tenant, including following through with their "violations of this rule may be grounds for lease termination" rule?


I signed a 14-month lease for an apartment, and the tenant above me has been the source of ongoing noise complaints for over eight weeks. I attempted to resolve the issue neighbor-to-neighbor, but from my interactions the man is verbally hostile and uncooperative. He is essentially nocturnal, and believes his "different sleep schedule" makes him exempt from the "reasonable quiet hours" in the lease from 11pm through 8am.

  • Jurisdiction: New York State, but not in NYC
What I've done

I've documented everything and written seven (!) letters to the landlord. I have also given her a copy of the lease with all relevant violations highlighted (including other non-noise-complaint issues where the tenant is doing illegal activity in their unit). All of these violations are grounds for lease termination.

The problem

The landlord has listened to my complaints, but I believe she has been reluctant to take any meaningful action. The "action" the landlord has taken has been:

  • telling me to go "intercept" the neighbor when he gets home from work in the evening, because he refuses to answer the door
  • saying I have the landlord's "full blessing" to call the local police department for noise ordinance complaints
  • posting two informal, non-legally-binding (as described by the landlord) warnings of noise violations
  • speaking with the management company attorney, and telling me that the attorney thinks that between the pandemic's affect on renters and the court system, and the nature of the noise they "don't have a case"; they don't even want to try to serve the tenant with a Notice to Cure / Notice to Quit.

As you can see above, the landlord is trying to push the problem into my hands, even though the lease says noise evaluations are the "sole judgment of the lessor".

There's also a serious conflict of interest due to the landlord's familial relation with one of the tenants.

I believe my eight weeks of continued sleep loss, plus having the door slammed in my face twice, has been plenty patient to prove the tenant has no intention to remedy the issue.

I signed this lease with the understanding that there are reasonable quiet hours so all tenants can enjoy their living spaces (without being woken up nearly every night!).

Is the landlord's reluctance to carry out enforcement of their rules in the lease a breach of contract?

1 Answer 1


There is probably no legal requirement for them to enforce it, however because they are not holding up thier side of the contract (providing you with an apartment with quiet hours between 11 and 8), you would not be obligated to continue your lease either, and they must likely couldn't hold you accountable for early termination.

  • 1
    It's not clear to me that the clause requires the landlord to enforce any particular quiet hours. As described, it only seems to impose an obligation on the tenant to remain quiet. Sep 8, 2021 at 23:53
  • If the lease states that the apartment building has quiet hours from X to Y, a tenant can reasonably rely on that as a term of the contract that all tenants abide by, and the failure of the landlord to enforce that means a breach of contract.
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 9, 2021 at 0:11
  • It sounds like you are saying this is a breach of contract because I am not receiving what was promised in the lease. I've edited the question to list out what actions the landlord has done. They basically all punt the problem onto me. Do any of those actions change your confidence about a breach of contract? Could they throw their hands up in the air and say, "Look, we spoke with our company attorney and he said we don't have a case!" The lease never actually describes any steps the landlord must take, only that there are quiet hours and they can result in lease termination. Sep 9, 2021 at 1:27

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