How to solve the problem of noisy guests

The main issue that sparks controversy and argument over short term holiday rentals are ones that all responsible owners should be aware of and make efforts to control at the outset of a rental – excessive noise.

Noise Pollution

Noisy, vibrant Spain

Walk out into a bar or café area late at night in summer in Spain and you will be greeted by chatter. The Spanish talk, and often seem to talk loudly. Everyone seems to have a comment to make and usually at the same time.

Depending on your view point this can be a wonderful, vibrant part of life in Spain or it can be classed as noise pollution. Noisy bar areas, loud music, singing and carrying on – especially in the areas that attract holiday makers in Spain.

Bar Alhóndiga, Bilbao

Some authorities in tourist destinations have begun to clamp down on noise pollution. Just one example is Seville.

In Seville, a city that oozes atmosphere and reflects the café culture at its best, with people spending time outdoors well into the night in the summer months to take advantage of the cooler evening air, the government has introduced the campaign of Sevilla Sin Ruidas Ya (Seville without noise now).  Some of the behaviour that is to be targeted includes:

  •          Excessively loud conversations
  •          Television outside on terraces
  •          Bar staff dragging chairs along the pavement   
  •          Playing loud music whilst driving
  •          Even the seeming sedate pastime of playing Dominoes is not exempt from the long arm of the noise police!

In Andalusia, the recently introduced Tourism Law which came into effect May 2016, makes provisions to evict holidaymakers with 24 hours notice if they break community rules and regulations, including noise pollution.

Proactive Solutions for Owners against noise pollution by Guests

But how can you, as a holiday rental homeowner, take a proactive, responsible approach to this matter before it gets to the point of bad blood with your neighbours, and evicted holidaymakers?

1.       Guest Education

Educating holidaymakers with well written and concise pre-arrival instructions and make them aware of any community rules and regulations, concerning noise restrictions. Make it friendly but firm so your guests are made aware of the importance of good neighbour relations. 

2.       Guest background checks.

A lot of homeowners would admit (off the record) to googling any potential guests’ names and email addresses to get a snapshot of that person.  There also exist several identity verification tools online.  However, this “screening” of guests opens the floodgates for possibility of racial profiling – a problem that Airbnb has had to tackle - which is strictly not allowed.

3.       Smart Technology

Owners and Property Managers are now taking myriad steps using various smart technologies to limit the risks of holidaymakers causing excessive noise.

One such smart solution is NoiseAware, which offers a sensor that plugs into a wall outlet and sends notifications via text or email to owners based on decibel or time of day (or night) parameters that are customizable.

NoiseAware smart technology

NoiseAware likens its device and service to a “smoke detector for noise” and “kind of a noise insurance record.” If guests’ noise levels are “exceedingly loud” then a quick phone call asking the guests to lower the volume will usually nip the problem in the bud.

The device does not record what guests are saying inside a rental property so there is a level of privacy, and the company encourages owners to disclose the use of the service in rental agreements.

The service also serves as protection against false or inaccurate complaints, maybe by problematic neighbours who make official police reports that noise is coming from the owner’s property when in fact it is generated by people in another property.

As the holiday rental industry in Spain becomes more regulated and standardised we can no doubt expect to see more smart solutions and technological advancements to help Owners rental out their properties successfully, efficiently and with limited risk to their investment.