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Sound issues in 4 plex


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Ok, I'm just about at my wits end with these noise complaints. I have two long term tenants with shared bedroom walls. One set of tenants work late night shifts and another set who need to wake up early. As these walls are thin and in no way soundproofed, I have gotten several noise complaints from tenants in the affected unit saying they are unable to sleep. 

I'd prefer not to evict tenants if I can because the tenants who work late do pay rent on time and are otherwise very easy to work with tenants. 

Is there a cheap and effective way to soundproof the walls or any simple way to handle this situation that does not involve evictions?


Thanks in advance.

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I'm fairly certain this is a reasonable claim as I've had numerous tenants tell me they can hear everything between the walls (not to mention I live on site so I too can hear everything). I'm looking at quotes for installing mass loaded vinyl in between sheetrock at the moment. I figure if it's less than a month's rent it might be worth it. (?)

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Breaking up the sound transfer is complicated with conventional framed walls because the framing touches the drywall on each side causing a drum like effect. There are a couple options that reduce it but not necessarily eliminate it. Like others said insulating the attic is a good idea. If there are any plugs in the wall they should be sealed up with those foam gaskets that go on behind the cover plates and if there are any connecting doors those really should have weatherstripping and a theashhold like you have on a door connecting your house to a garage. 

Here are a couple things i have tried. 

1 - install a product like quiet rock (a special drywall that is basically two 1/4 sheets of rock with a layer of glue/vinyl between them). It is critical that you seal the wall up when you install this. For instance along the floor where the framing ties to the floor. That product runs about $75 a sheet. It's pretty spendy but helps with higher decibel sounds. Not so good with foot treads etc.  

2. Second option I have used is to cover the wall with fiber sound board then install resilient channel strips and rerock the wall with 5/8 rock. It helps break up the harmonic transfer through the wall. One site that has some good info on this is here 


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I have a friend in another state who owns 3 different 4-plexes and has solved the issue by moving one tenant to a different unit as soon as one opened...with no guarantee that it would "fix" the problem and it's had mixed results.  Some moved to a new unit and hated it and moved, others stayed for years.  Some don't want to move and INSIST that the other tenant move, and they are told that the other tenant has just as much right to live there as well.  

Another friend owned his own house but wanted to listen to his rock music at super loud decibels and not piss off his neighbors.  He was a Vietnam  Vet and had moments where he had to listen to music at super super high decibels.  

He remodeled one room of his house and lost almost a foot of square footage.   He added to the existing walls several inches of sound proof material/insulation and then framed again and had a nice room, albeit a bit smaller.  A LOT of insulation was added to the ceiling (this was a downstairs room in a split level).  It was insulated so well that his own wife could barely hear the music and the neighbors couldn't hear at all.

As a landlord and owner, I think investing in insulating the adjoining rooms will pay off in the future.  Do it now and reap the benefits...Happy tenants, Happy Landlord.  


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