Shutting Up the Noisy Neighbours

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“No interference,” also known as “quiet enjoyment,” is a concept that exists in real estate and in tenant law that means an occupant has the right to be free from significant interference in the use and enjoyment of the occupied property. This means free of noise, distractions, disturbances and interruptions.

Now you may be thinking, how does this concept relate to the events industry? The answer is simple — events are temporary tenants in venues! Therefore, the concept of no interference should be understood and the ability to negotiate rights and remedies related to it should be important to event professionals.

The concept of no interference can be extrapolated to cover unanticipated noises, incompatible events in proximity and interruptions caused by construction and renovations.

In this first of three articles, let’s consider most obvious: NOISE! Unanticipated noise can definitely impact the success of your event! They’ve certainly affected mine.

Years ago one of my association clients (who held their annual conference on a Thursday to Saturday pattern) had their convention centre foyer space wildly, enthusiastically and noisily taken over on the Saturday by a youth cheerleading competition. In addition to bringing home no small amount of of glitter — a valuable lesson about the quiet enjoyment of space was learned.

A few years later, I ran into a noisy situation with an event client. Some simple repairs were being done to a bank of elevators right across the hall from my client’s plenary room, and every time the doors to the main room were opened, noise from the activities disrupted the event. Luckily the work didn’t involve jackhammers, however, the racket made from tools and chatty workers was bad enough! While several attempts to reduce the noise were made, ultimately I had to refer to my quiet enjoyment and no renovations clauses in my venue contract, and had the work postponed until after hours. The venue and workers weren’t too happy, but my client certainly was.

Consider the impact of a live band, pep rally or youth event in the space adjacent to your event on your event’s keynote address. Consider the impact of jack hammering on your attendees’ quiet stay in your their hotel rooms. Consider the impact that protesters at another event will have on your attendees if they’re right next door.

While situations are sometimes unavoidable and need to be dealt with in the moment, the astute planner knows that being proactive in addressing these noisy kinds of situations begins before the venue contract is signed. In a thorough venue contract, event hosts should expect to have language that discusses noise as a factor in the No Interference use of the facilities by individuals and the Client. And if it’s not there, then they ought to request to it.

Where there is the right of the client’s event to no interference and quiet enjoyment, there needs to be remedies that will guide the venue and support the client when situations are encountered.

Here are some clauses to consider when you’re reviewing your next venue contract:

  • Venue understands that quiet enjoyment is essential to the client’s use of facilities;
  • Venue agrees not to schedule events with significant audible noise levels in immediate proximity to the client’s space;
  • Venue agrees to provide written notice of known and anticipated noise interference to client, along with proposed mitigation efforts;
  • Venue agrees to make every reasonable effort to eliminate noise upon notification by client when onsite;
  • Venue agrees to provide reasonable compensation, including extra concessions or monetary damages, to the client if the noise was within the reasonable control of the venue but could not be eliminated;
  • Venue agrees that the client has the right to cancel the contract, with damages, should the noise be deemed to be too much of an interference and mitigation efforts will not be or are not sufficient.

The quiet enjoyment of a venue is one of the assumed rights of the event host, but if you encounter situations that challenge this (just like my client’s story above), having language in your contract can assist you in establishing or restoring the ideal environment for your event. Proactively negotiating these rights and remedies into your contract will support you when you find yourself in a noisy situation.

Be sure to return for upcoming editions that will address No Interference as it relates to Incompatible Events and Renovations/Construction.

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