How To Avoid Short-Term Rental Noise Complaints, Fines & Noise-Related Damage

Who better to talk about how to avoid short-term rental noise complaints than our friends at NoiseAware? Read on for tips on how to reduce the risk of complaints, fines, noise-related damage and rental bans through:

As vaccine distribution and loosening travel rules fuel the recent travel recovery, short-term rental bookings are on the rise in a big way. One recent study of three major U.S. vacation destinations shows July 2021 bookings exceeding July 2019 by between 2% and 16%. 

While travel site Expedia saw overall accommodation bookings fall by 67% in the fourth quarter of 2020, short-term-rental platform Vrbo, which is owned by Expedia, actually reported year over year growth for the same quarter. The site credits short-term-rental demand to the offer of greater privacy and less interaction than traditional hotels and resorts. Short-term vacation rentals also allow eager travelers to vacation in groups, dine and entertain in the comfort of their own space, and celebrate the lifting of travel restrictions…finally

More guests means more noise?

But with the increase in short-term-rental stays comes the potential for noise-related problems. An industry survey of nearly 1,000 homeowners and renters reveals excessive noise to be the single greatest concern among potential short-term rental neighbors.  

For short-term vacation rental owners, problems may include neighbor noise complaints, fines for violating noise regulations, and the potential for party-related property damage. Repeat complaints may even lead to revocation of a property’s short-term-rental permit altogether. 

Each year, short-term rental managers, hosts and owners can spend thousands of dollars in unanticipated costs related to noise. And these costs can deeply cut into short-term-rental profits, or, in the most severe cases, eliminate the ability to generate rental revenue altogether. 

But by taking a handful of proactive steps, short-term-rental property managers and hosts can minimize complaints, fines and the potential for damage. 

Be upfront with neighbors about short-term rental plans

Get to know your neighbors, and don’t let your short-term vacation rental be a surprise to them. While 33% of homeowners report that they are not very familiar with their neighbors, nearly 50% who are very familiar with neighbors say they would approve of a short-term rental next door. 

Communicate to neighbors that your property is being rented out as a vacation accommodation. Express that you are invested in the neighborhood, and care about the security and comfort of the people who live next door to or near your Airbnb rental. 

List out the steps you are taking to ensure that guests are quiet, well behaved and respectful (guest vetting prior to booking, house rules that must be followed, remote noise monitoring). You may even consider offering your Airbnb property to neighbors’ own visitors at a special “friends and neighbors” rate. And, of course, make sure your neighbors can get in touch with you should they need to inform you about anything questionable taking place at your property.

If your short-term vacation rental property or properties are managed by a professional property management company, find out how the company notifies neighbors of new STRs adjacent to them. Ask how they respond to neighbor noise complaints, and how you can expect to be informed about complaints. Get their complaint-response policy in writing, including liabilities and exclusions. 

Thoroughly screen potential guests before accepting bookings

Most major booking platforms allow upon-request bookings in addition to “instant” bookings. This option allows property owners and managers to review a guest’s history before accepting their booking. Important questions to consider include: Are the potential guest’s reviews consistently positive? Do previous hosts describe them as being respectful? Quiet? Good communicators? 

You can also ask the guest direct questions—within limits. For example, you can ask the guest to tell you a bit about themselves. You can also ask if they have any special plans while in town. But don’t dig for personal information like who they associate with, or if they have a college degree, or, it should go without saying, their race or religion. 

Negative reviews of a potential guest are an obvious sign of potential trouble.  or if he or she seems evasive or inconsistent in answering your questions, take note, and move on. A guest who has been flagged for bad behavior or for violating house rules in the past, or who won’t respond candidly and promptly to your basic questions, is more likely to cause costly problems such as noise ordinance violations or property damage.

Use privacy-safe noise monitoring technology to minimize short-term rental noise issues

Privacy-safe noise monitoring is one of the best ways to protect short-term vacation rental properties and profits. By monitoring volume levels without identifying or recording sounds, privacy-safe noise detection ensures that rental properties are compliant with noise ordinances, and helps hosts avoid costly fines and penalties. By managing noise remotely, this type of decibel measurement further minimizes rowdy behavior that may lead to expensive property damage. 

A remote noise sensor system will notify the property host as soon as it detects a problem. At that point, the host can send a reminder text to the guest, averting a potential neighbor confrontation or law-enforcement intervention. 

NoiseAware’s privacy-safe noise monitoring system has been shown to reduce the duration of excessive-noise events from 57 minutes to 13 minutes. Research shows that this rapid-response platform resolves 75% of noise issues with just the initial text to guests. Quick resolution has resulted in a nearly 30% reduction in damage claims by short-term-rental owners, and a savings of $5,000 annually in unplanned costs that may include ordinance-violation penalties, or repairing or replacing property damaged during parties or rowdy gatherings. 

While there is no single silver bullet to eliminate short-term-rental noise problems, a few simple, proactive steps can go far toward keeping the peace, and preserving profits. You can find more information on privacy-safe remote noise monitoring here, as you prep your property for this year’s travel boom, and beyond.

To learn more about how short term rental data visibility can bring you more listings and more guests: