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View Full Version : Nuisance from neighbour's noisy floorboards



trill
26-03-2010, 06:59 AM
I've had a nightmare tenancy in a flat for the last 10 months. This is a purpose built flat built in the 60's and were assured by the LL that the floors were concrete and you couldn't hear the neighbours. However, it turned out that the floors are suspended floorboards and every single creak, door, sneeze, etc, can be heard as if they are living in our flat.

A week after we moved in, the owner of the flat above starting a lengthy renovation causing excessive noise late into the night (sometimes after midnight). One week they were demolishing a wall between the bathroom and toilet to completely refit a new bathroom. This was so intensely noisy that I was worried about using our only bathroom directly below the work as I was sure they were going to drop in on my head! The work went on for months, and despite us complaining to the LL and the LA, they did nothing to abate the works late at night.

About six weeks ago the flat was let out to a new tenant and we hoped that we would finally get some peace and quiet. How wrong we were! The tenants move around all day long, pacing up and down, moving boxes and furniture, banging doors, and so on. Unfortunately they also get up constantly during the night too, getting up several times to use the bathroom. I told the LL that having people above our rooms was even more disruptive than having the builders up there as we haven't had one night of unbroken sleep since they moved in. My husband gets up for work at 4.30am, is very quiet, and creeps out of the house so he causes no disturbance despite some nights only being able to grab a couple of hours sleep. After four weeks of this I approached the neighbour, but this has had no effect.

To counteract the noise, I have my television turned on in the day, so I don't have to be dominated so much by the neighbours stomping around.

The LL/LA have basically said there's nothing they can do but have not taken any action during the renovation to a) restrict the building work times, or b) suggest sound proofing go on the floors, or c) involve Environmental Health department with the noise nuisance. There is a shortage of decent rentals in this area otherwise I would have moved out at the end of the six months initial tenancy. However, we have finally found somewhere else and will be moving in a couple of weeks.

Could I claim financial compensation for the disruptive effect this has had on my family? I have been so stressed out and have been obsessively searching for alternative accommodation, at the exclusion of living a normal balanced life. My son is disabled and has had a lot more epileptic seizures since we've been in this flat due to constant interrupted sleep.

As I need my deposit returned to use on the next place, and I want to keep my unbroken record of paying rent on time, I have paid all rent due and on good time which takes me to the end of the tenancy.

Should the LL/LA have done something about this or offered me compensation?

tom999
26-03-2010, 08:04 AM
However, we have finally found somewhere else and will be moving in a couple of weeks.This seems the best approach.


Could I claim financial compensation for the disruptive effect this has had on my family?...
Should the LL/LA have done something about this or offered me compensation?Unfortunately the LL/LA cannot control the neighbours, and this seems to be a problem with the neighbouring tenant's. If the LL/LA knew about the problem before the tenancy began (and you had proof of it) you 'may' have a case.

But, a better option IMHO, would have been to contact the Council at the first sign of a problem; many Council's have a noise nuisance dept., and a complaint about the neighbour's should have been made to them.

westminster
26-03-2010, 11:44 AM
The LL/LA have basically said there's nothing they can do but have not taken any action during the renovation to a) restrict the building work times, or b) suggest sound proofing go on the floors, or c) involve Environmental Health department with the noise nuisance. There is a shortage of decent rentals in this area otherwise I would have moved out at the end of the six months initial tenancy. However, we have finally found somewhere else and will be moving in a couple of weeks.
It's too late now, but re a), you could have contacted the freeholder yourself and complained. The leases for the flats in the block will almost certainly have provisions regarding permitted hours for building work, or causing a noise nuisance - provisions which the freeholder has the authority to enforce. (FYI freeholders/leaseholders details can be found via the Land Registry website, downloads cost £4).

Similarly, you could have contacted the Environmental Health/noise nuisance department yourself about the out-of-hours building work.

Re b), the landlord has no legal obligation to install sound insulation. See
http://www.propertylawuk.net/printable.neighbouringnoises.html


Could I claim financial compensation for the disruptive effect this has had on my family?
I don't think the chances are very high, as the building work is over and you probably don't have sufficiently strong evidence to support a claim (such as noise readings, log/diary of daily disruption etc). I'm not even sure who might be liable - whether it would be the landlord (for misleading you about the floors) or the neighbours upstairs (for causing the nuisance). If you live near a Law Centre, go and ask whether you have a case, but don't expect much.

trill
27-03-2010, 08:57 AM
Thanks for your input.

I'm just relieved we're escaping the situation. When this flat is re-let, I don't think the next tenants will be as long-suffering as us. It's annoying as we were charged higher than the market rent as the flat overlooks the seaside, so we studpidly expected to enjoy a peaceful long tenancy here. We've also lost out as we paid for a telephone line connection and now we've the added cost of removals yet again.

The LL and LA were told several times about the siutation in the flat above. It's a shame they didn't contact the Managing Agent and Environmental health when the works were going on. Now they've lost a good tenant and no-one else is likely to stay any length of time. If there's no legal requirement to install sound insulation, by ignoring the situation, they're just going to have a high turnover of tenants, or walk-outs, as it is so appalling here.

mind the gap
27-03-2010, 10:49 AM
It sounds hellish and you have my sympathies. Have any more tenants been signed up yet? If not, I would be very tempted to make a point of being at home during viewings and be 100% truthful with any prospective tenants about how hellish it really is is and why.