So here is an interesting situation when it comes to noise complaints. Before I get to the complaint against me, I need to lay down the back ground situation.Currently I am living in a rented house that is owned by my sister's "God" mother and good friend of my mother's for at least fifty some odd years. Both my mother and she are currently in their early 80's. My mother is currently living in Oregon and Beverley (my sisters God mother, my landlady) lives across the street from me here in Salt Lake City. Beverley owns these two houses and 9 or 10 apartments down town.In 2001 my father passed away and a couple of weeks later, Ralph, Beverley's husband met up with him and are currently fishing in a "far better place" now. In 2003, I had started looking for a new place to rent as I was living in one of those paper thin apartments and couldn't even entertain my lady friends without a complaint from my upstairs neighbors. Even using pillows for sound reduction wouldn't help. Well at that very time Beverley's tenant was moving out of her rental across the street. Of course my mom stepped up and informed Bev she had the perfect tenant for her. Me.I am very capable at house caring. From painting to plumbing. From electrical repair to roofing. I can do it all. So Beverley agreed to charge me only $>>>.>> dollars a month. And in return I would do any repairs that either house as needed. She of course would pay for parts. Over the next 4 years I helped with all sorts of repairs on her apartments and went with her a couple of times up to her cabin for annual spring clean ups. I changed out the water the heater in my place and serviced her heater each fall. I am over to her house at least once a week to check on her and reset her remote controls as technology isn't her bag.At first I was charging her 20.00 bucks an hour for the work I was doing on her other properties then finally stopped charging her because of the great rent deal she was giving me. Of course we never felt a need for a lease as it was more of a family verbal agreement. All was and is well.In the mean time; I have a beautiful back yard that is quite like being in the woods. Small lawn area with a lot of trees and yes some wild life. Yet only about 1000 square feet. Perfect for pretending to camp out including a small camp fire, for which I went to the local fire department to find out if it was ok. The Fire department said there is no problem as long as it was contained. And as I use it for religious purposes they said even the local law enforcement wouldn't question it. And, I have laid out a small medicine wheel. Did I mention I am a Legally Ordained Priest for the Universal Life Church?The medicine wheel is to perform some Native American ceremonies such as greeting the Solstices and the Equinoxes. The Planting Moon and The Harvest moon kind of stuff. As regular drums and other instruments of faith can be rather loud, I have reverted to a simple stereo system. When not doing ceremonies I have played music during the day at an enjoyable level. Sometimes reaching maybe 70Db. (keyword sometimes.) I know this as I am a sound engineer for our local shin digs like the Utah Arts Festival and Salt Lake City First Night shows. I have a Db meter. The first 4 years I had not one complaint. The neighbors actually liked the music I played.Then, a couple of house up the street a new neighbor moved in. Actually he moved his mother into a home and he took over here house. I miss that old gal. She was really kind to all of us neighbors. Over the next couple of years the cops were called twice. Of course as soon as they showed up off went the music and the end of the ceremony for the evening. I have always been the nice guy and law abiding tried to be a good nieghbor.The nuts and bolts to the complaint.Eight months ago I had a new neighbor move in next door. To the immediate Westside of me.Now this new neighbor when she moved in was Pregnant. A month later we had a new little neighbor. Sweet baby girl. At this time we were all good happy neighbors. Now for the last year and a half I have not been able to enjoy my music as such, as I had to go back to school because of State budget cuts. Took almost a 50% pay cut. So I had to work full time and went to night school full time to increase my job spectrum. Left little time for my music. As my schooling came to break time this Spring, I returned to my back yard one day and played my music. Must have been around 1:00 in the afternoon. Not loud and actually quite mellow music. I think it might have been Enya. About a half hour later my new neighbor came over and said that she liked music but asked if I could turn it down cause the baby was napping. Not a problem.About a month later, on a Friday night I am visiting with my son discussing his future fatherhood, listening to side 1 of Paranoid. For any of you out there, side one is pretty mellow.Then Iron man started. Within what couldn't have been 20 seconds, there she was standing at my gate with the baby in hand. As soon as I saw her I jumped up and immediately turned down the music. Went over to her and apologized. Mind you the music was still not very loud at that time. I could talk at a normal level with my son. Anyway she looked me in the eye and said I should be more aware of surroundings and where I am. Then rudely she suggested I should get some head phones. This was at 8:30PM.Now I am aware that talking generally is anywhere from 45Db to 70 Db depending on back ground noise, excitement and is inversely proportion to the number of beers consumed.So not wanting to cause any conflict and being a good neighbor I canceled my gathering for the next night and then canceled my Equinox ceremony the following week. I let a bunch of my Native American friends down but after explaining the situation to them they agreed to my solution.The Big Frustration? She wasn't home either one of those nights.So not wanting to cause problems but to ease the stress of my sound traveling in to her yard, I built a barrier to fill the hole where my music was obviously pouring into her yard. Oh, she is a renter also. Her land lord enjoyed my music those first couple of years he lived there. He bought another house and now rents this one out. Anyway, having filled in this hole I turned on my music and adjusted it down to 40Db as measured in her space so I knew what level I could play it legally till 10:00 as our local noise ordinance allows. Now that is the max I have ever turned it up since. When measured in her back yard it reads 40Db.The Complaint.Last Wednesday evening I was listening to my lowered level music working on my bike. At 10:00 PM sharp off went the music and I wrapped it up for the evening. Next day, my landlord's son in-law is at my door saying he had a complaint and he was stepping in, to start taking care of the rent and he needed to discuss my future there. We scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 PM. He and his wife, (Beverley's daughter), came by and he proceeded to my back yard and he started pointing out stuff I needed to get rid of and then informed me that they will be writing up a lease and raising my rent $120.00 August 1st, then raising it another $500. every 6 months till we are at $750.00 a month. He also dictated that Iwould have to get rid of the barrier I built between the houses and get a storage unit. Not once did he mention the complaint of the music made by the neighbor. I believe he used as an excuse to get his little claws into my situation.Now I say this because of my observation of his actions. And I'm sorry I can't change it, but this neighbor is quite the looker. This winter we had a bad wind storm come through and blew, no, actually eased one of my trees down on to her house. Beverley asked me to take pictures of the damage and the tree to determine what path needed to be taken. Well, Miss cutesy comes out asks what's up.I informed her what I was doing and that I was in contact with her landlord to get things handled. At this time she informed me that Bev's son in-law had it taken care of. And then commented on how he seemed to be bragging about how all the houses around there are his as soon as the old lady across the street passed away. Like a Peacock strutting his stuff in heat.Even though he is not an investor to these properties except by being married to Beverley's daughter, I can only imagine what his intentions are for the future. It's obvious he gave the neighbor his card so she could call him direct if there were any problems with me. And as cute as she is, it would be hard to believe he's not a little sweet on her.So where is Beverley? Well as this has just happened, I haven't confronted her yet. Her daughter seems to think her mom is losing it. Myself, I don't see that in her. We have perfectly fine conversations and I personally think she doesn't want to remember how to work the remote just so I come over at least once a week. She keeps telling me I can't leave. She says she wouldn't be able to survive without her TV and if she can't work her remotes she'd be lost.What I do see is that somebody seems to be trying to convince her of that she's loosing it.What I need to know is there anything I can do?I don't mind paying an increase in rent. But $1740 extra this next a year?Plus I have to find a storage unit. Another $1200.00 a year.Update from when I started this.Last night I'm hanging out in my back yard, music at low Db's when I decided that it was to hot to cook in the house so I light a fire in my medicine wheel. Well, using some of my fragrant bark to flavor my steak the fire produced a bit of smoke. Actually kinda of filled her yard. I immediately removed the smoking bark and continued to cook my food. Low and behold out front I heard the distinguishing sounds of air brakes on a large truck. She had called the fire department. Well my hero's come up to the gate so I invited them in. Explained what I was doing and how I stopped the smoke and offered them some food.They said it looked great but the beer looked better. Then we discussed my fire. It is self contained. Twenty feet away from any structure. I had a hose handy. And a swing pool full of water 10 feet away. They said there's no problem here but the next time I expect smoke, give them a call and a heads up. Love those guys. They drive off and here comes cheese wiz. Told me no more fires and if I didn't like it I could leave.I'm just thinking at that point, you been bag, you should never have giving her your number. She's going to complain about everything I do and he'll have to hear it. There was no reason for him to come by. I had it under control just like I have for since I moved in.So my question. What are my rights? Are they both denying my religious freedom and my right to listen to music? Do I need to go buy a big bottle of Vaseline? Do I have any rights here?I make $400.00 net a week full time. Used to make twice that before state budget cuts.Can't quit this job because it pays my tuition, my healthcare and my retirement.Don't want to live in a paper thin apt again. That means I have had to start all over.Could get another part time job maybe. That and full time school, I'll be dead in a year.Then I guess that don't matter.Did I mention my other neighbors have been asking why I don't play my music anymore?They think of me as the local medicine man and they are concerned for my health.My age? 53.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Utah
Think we've worked out the rent situation. Paid this months with know changes. Havent seen a lease yet. the important part. my conplaining nieghbor.
Unfortunately, your right to practice your religion and play your music ends at the point where neighbors (or neighbor) complains it is disturbing their peaceable use and enjoyment of their property. The second problem here is there is no written lease, meaning that you are a month to month tenant and they can evict you for no reason with a 30 day written notice to leave. As it is the landlord's property, if they are receiving complaints from any neighbor, they have a right to intervene and can ask you to stop the behavior and can ask you to leave if you do not stop. While your music may be within legal limits for the city ordinances, if there is a neighbor complaining and the landlord tries to take action based the complaint, you would have a right to go to court to prove you are within the law in playing the music, but that would be successful for a written lease claim of breach, for a month to month tenant remember no cause is needed to evict you with 30 day notice. Thus, what you can see here is the handwriting on the wall that the son in law is seeking to have you removed and it is not for any of his alleged reasons to you and is preferring you decide to leave rather than incur the cost of evicting you. You have the right to peaceably use the premises within the rules of the landlord, since you do not own the property, landlords can set rules stricter than the laws (such as no pets or no music that can be heard outside of the house) and can enforce those rules. The right to practice your religion, again, is a fundamental right up to the point where neighbors complain about you disturbing their use and enjoyment of their premises, which seems to be what has happened with the new neighbor. If there is no noise or smoke disturbing her use and enjoyment of her premises, then you can have a claim that the landlord is unreasonably interfering with your practice of religion and this could be a potential claim.
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Of course its not what I wanted to hear but its understood. Thanks for your reply.
Sorry, that it was not as positive as you would have liked the answer to be, but without a written lease, the tenant is at the mercy of the landlord.
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