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Noise complaints on one half of duplex

Hi,

We went live this month with our 2 unit home which has a 3 bedroom house with an attached guest Suite which is basically a garage conversion studio apartment.

Within the first week we had a guest in the guest suite complain (our first complaint) about noise of the nearby dryer in the house which is in the laundry room of the main house which is right next to the Suite door connection. We refunded the guy half a nights stay and had our maintenance guy add a door sweep and move a storage cabinet in front of the door on the guest suite side to help block noise. We added a sign asking guests to complete all laundry before 10pm. We got a great review and no complaints since.

This recent stay has been troubling. We have 7 guests in the main house and a couple checked in and basically messaged us saying that it was very noisy, they could hear the other guests voices and music.

I went ahead and refunded them a full night’s stay. These loud guests in the house are also checking out the next day and we have vacancy after that, so I blocked off the Calendar in the main house so no one could last minute book to ensure the guest suite guest would enjoy the remainder of their 5 night stay. I also tweaked my NoiseAware to be more sensitive and changed the NHS score from a 60 to a 50 for quiet hours. We didn’t message the main house guest anything because we didn’t want them to feel intruded on but maybe this was our mistake.

Last night, night 2 of the guest suite stay and final night of the main house stay, we get noiseaware text messages and also the guest messages us complaining that they can’t sleep and it’s really loud. Fuck. We message the guests in the house but it was a 45 minute window before they did anything and quieted down.

I’m just wondering if other people have this issue and how they solved it. I bought a solid wood door and it’s going in the first second we have enough vacancy to do so. We will also add weatherstripping and more door sweeps (there’s a second door that leads to the laundry room that noise probably leaks through). Also thinking of using mass loaded vinyl to create a sound blocking curtain and I ordered acoustic sound blocking panels to stick onto both doors. Also going to add a pad under the washer dryer to help with vibration noise.

We also have the tweaked sensitivity on NoiseAware now and I’m working on a Zapier integration to automatically message the guests immediately so there’s no lag time between noise and message.

Do I need to refund the guest suite guests even more money?

Is there anymore sound proofing I can do?

How can I improve my guest messaging or listing to mitigate this problem for the future?

If it help give context, the house books for about 400/night and the guest Suite about 200/night so in both cases people are paying a lot to stay here but the guest suite has significantly better occupancy for now.

Thanks for your help!

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Perhaps you should consider renting it as a whole and not by units. This way they’re all from the same booking. You can advertise it as a whole house rental (4 bedrooms) and rent to a group of 8.

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thanks for the reply. That seems like a worst case scenario / backup plan for me though. The second unit has total seperation other than this one wall basically. It has its own parking spot, entry doors, and even its own private deck. It also should have 90%+ occupancy (in fact we had 96% our first month, September, booking 29 out of 30 nights) while the 3 bedroom house will likely be more like 70. I’m guessing that a 4bedroom house would be similar, around 70, so revenue would be significantly less in that configuration.

It also doesn’t seem to be a problem even now unless loud guests are there, so I’m really hoping some better guest messaging / signage and much better sound proofing will be enough. I’d probably frame up a soundproofed wall with rock wool and seal that connection before I’d rent it out separately.

Seems this is a situation where no one may end up happy, studio because of the loud noises next door and the larger unit where they’re been told to keep it down.
I agree with @ritz3 about making it one rental.
Hard to imagine that all the noise abatements are going to make much of a difference in an existing structure.
You’ve set up a rental to accommodate a lot of people and even if they’re not really partying, there’s going to be noise.

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Thanks for sharing. Do you have any experience with trying to soundproof in this kind of scenario? I responded above with why that would probably be a last resort for me. Appreciate the suggestions.

It seems you’ve taken steps to have & enforce quiet hours.

I live in a condo so am accustomed to hearing neighbors’ noise. I can understand others may be more sensitive.

Maybe disclose in your condo description because the rentals are close and share the same property, guests may hear others.

Also state multiple times quiet hours are monitored & enforced 10 pm-7am for guest comfort.

If you do list as combined, sleeps 8, make it clear that it one bedroom is separate & housing children separately from adults is not allowed for safety.

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Used to do construction but didn’t have a call for sound proofing.
My last STR was part of my one-story house. There was a long hallway separating their side of the house and my bedroom and bathroom. The wall on their side had insulation in it. The rental usually only had 2 quiet types, but when they weren’t quiet types, late at night it was bad.
I only think if it’s 2 separate units you’re going to have this reoccurring problem. Huge difference in noise level from 2 guests compared to 7.

Thanks @Annet3176 , I already disclose about the attached unit and mention running into other guests while outside of parking, but I think I will add more to the listing about noise. Will think on it more the best way to word that so it’s accurate

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@zillacop thanks. I also wonder if sealing the wall with rockwool would work in te backup scenario

The other idea would be to reduce from “sleeps 8” to “sleeps 6” since 2 are slept with a sleeper couch.

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@tawytf
Less is definitely better.
Also, might I suggest that next time the big unit is booked that you spend a night or two in the smaller one just so you get a picture or sound garden for yourself.

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I put a cored exterior door, special sound-proofing drop sweep, sound dampening foam insulation strip all around the doorframe, a sound curtain hung, and waffle sound baffle on my side of the connecting passage to my STR suite. My TV is very close to that door.

I am fortunate in that there is a second pocket door on the suite side with a huge threshold between, because the suite is mostly outside the original brick veneer wall, so I had an open space to stuff with soundproofing between the two doors. The brick veneer also eliminates sound migration that you would get through vacant space with drywall and stud. (My guests don’t use the door; they enter from an exterior door).

For the 4 feet of common wall that is outside the brick veneer, I used sound-dampening rated rockwool between the studs and under the drywall. If it had been a larger area, I would have considered blow-in foam.

I did a ton of research, googled home music studio soundproofing to start with. I got a lot of free information from sound techs at the various companies I contacted.

This is pretty drastic, but is there room to build a false wall in the attached suite so you can put a layer of soundproofing between the two spaces?

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Rockwool is not a soundproofing material.

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Is the wall between the units just drywall over wood studs? There are multiple ways to provide good sound insulation for drywall, but none are very cheap. What about the attic space? That can be another source of noise even after you sound-proof the wall.

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There’s a few points of exposure. The guest suite is from a garage conversion, so the good news is most of the walls are external walls with insulation.

I think the biggest exposure is the door that sits between the two units. Right now it’s just a hollow-core door, to a small hallway/laundry room, then another hollow-core door.

The plan, for now, is replace both doors with solid wood doors, add weather stripping and door sweeps, add acoustic panels to the doors, and then a mass loaded vinyl curtain that goes across the wall & door.

For the attic, we sealed off the vents in the guest suite and added a mini split. That should have done a lot for the sound travel, yeah?

Actually rockwool is one of the best sound-reduction materials available, with exceptional db reduction not only at 500 hz and above (easy for many materials) but shines at the important and more challenging lower ranges.
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@tawytf - Until you figure out the best design and implementation of soundproofing, it may be prudent to avoid having separate bookings in the small suite.
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We had to do a LOT of soundproofing for our latest suite. It is perhaps similar, with a separate entrance from our area. The key is a combination of a total air seal (every seam must be caulked or foamed), and layered dense materials that absorb various frequency ranges. fyi - Home Depot carries “safe n sound”.
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Are you saying there is a hollow-core door between the converted garage and the laundry room? That doesn’t seem right, and if that’s the case, I would wonder if there’s any insulation in any walls the garage shares with the house. I definitely would check it.

Do the guests from the two units share the laundry room? If not, then the best thing to do would be remove the door entirely and wall over it on both sides, just do it in a way that it’s easy to undo. It might make the space on either side more usable, too.

That’s was a smart move for other reasons than just noise. What about the insulation above the garage? Normally, there would be none when used as a garage, but it would’ve been added when converted into living space. Was it done correctly?

Ideally, you’d separate the attic space with drywall as well.

Replacing that door with a prehung exterior door is an easy way to dramatically cut down on the noise. They’ll have quality gaskets already in place.
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This alone will probably not be a total solution. We have a 2 door system between us and our guest suite. It does a great job and we will augment it with a homemade “acoustic panel”.
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What had been 2 giant single pane windows between those spaces are now sealed up. We used mineral wool (safe n sound), mdf boards, and foam strips. It was VERY effective.

@Brian_R170
They don’t share the washer/dryer. I actually would prefer to frame a wall and stuff it with rock wool and MLV and call it a day but my fiance/partner wants to keep the door there. I’ve tried to argue with her that the wall would be best but she wants to try this first. My builder who did a lot of the work on the house thinks the weatherstripping will make the biggest difference. No idea why there’s a hollow core door there, the lady we bought the house from was a nut job, but I’ve seen in gutted portion of this wall and there was insulation in there for sure on the guest suite side.

Interesting about the attic. But if it was partitioned off, you’d have to frame a door to get access? Or a separate crawlspace?

There is blown in insulation above the garage. They used to have the full HVAC and vents in there but we pinched those off and sealed them so guest suite had its own climate control.

@Jefferson , thanks. Can you say more about the materials you used for the layering?

I didn’t get an exterior door, maybe that was a mistake? I got a solid wood interior slab door thats 50pbs and my builder is going to add the weatherstripping and stuff. Hopefully that will be just as good or close to it?

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