Would this put you off? Potential noise nuisance

(49 Posts)
stargirl04 Sun 05-May-13 04:23:47

Hi, I went to see a flat yesterday, which is all I can afford in London.

It was a second-floor flat in the middle of a mansion-style block, and so sandwiched between the ground floor and top floor flats.

The minute I walked through the door I loved it - the flat was gorgeous and the communal areas of the building were clean and well maintained. The wider area, ie. Woodford, East London is okay, but the immediate locality was "poorer", ie. a few ex-local authority blocks nearby. (Not that this should make any difference.)

However, there was loud music booming out from the flat upstairs and it could clearly be heard as we stood in the living room, so much so that it was hard to concentrate on what the estate agent was saying to me.

I asked him if the occupant upstairs did this regularly. The EA said he had been to the property about 7 times and had never heard it before. He said that the vendor was "pretty straightforward" and would tell him "if it was a problem".

But then he would say that, wouldn't he? Wink:

Is a vendor going to admit to having a noisy, inconsiderate neighbour?

This was 3.45pm on a Saturday afternoon and my first viewing of the property. What are the chances that the occupant in the flat above is normally a considerate person and that this was a rare occasion?

The EA suggested that I come back at the same time next week for a second viewing, to see if the same thing happens again, but I am suspicious! Perhaps the vendor will just ask the noisy occupants to be quiet for the 20 mins or so that I am there?

Avoiding all noise in London is difficult - for example, traffic noise I can tolerate - but having to put up with loud music on a regular basis is not what I want.

Does anyone have any advice for me please? I will be putting most of my capital into whichever property I purchase (a big deal for me as I am a first-time buyer and have been saving for years) and I don't want to make the wrong choice. This flat was really lovely, so it's hard for me to write it off so readily.

All advice - however harsh (or not!) - gratefully received. Thanks for reading.

RubyOnRails Sun 05-May-13 15:35:30

Walk away. Right now! We are moving for this reason. It's emotionally exhausting not knowing if you are going to be disturbed

cooper44 Sun 05-May-13 16:57:27

I used to live in a block of flats on the first floor. Central London Edwardian block on a really busy road so there was always that ambient city noise which I don't mind. But then some nutter moved in one flat across and played loud music all the time. He was a nasty piece of work too threatened other neighbours etc. I think if there's a noise issue the other neighbours will know. My friend is going through a living hell in east London at the moment because of thumping music. She calls the noise control people every weekend. Def ask the neighbours.

domesticslattern Sun 05-May-13 16:58:47

Often people don't report it to the Council because they know that legally they would then have to declare the fact that there have been complaints to their buyer's solicitors. So they keep schtum and try to sell asap ...

greenformica Sun 05-May-13 20:49:00

you need to make random visits to the flat at various times this coming week - including late evening.

and knock on neighboring flat doors and ask them

also email the agent and ask them to ask the seller directly how often he hears loud music. Ask for a response in writing. But be weary they could both lie.

TheChaoGoesMu Sun 05-May-13 20:52:31

Been there, done that, it was absolute hell. I'd walk away.

busywheels Sun 05-May-13 21:13:27

I work in Environmental Health and I would definitely not proceed with the property. You can rectify most problems but you cannot buy yourself new neighbours (without a costly move).

It is extremely unlikely to be a one off event that you heard. from your description is was having a significant impact on the fkat lucky escape

busywheels Sun 05-May-13 21:21:30

Sorry posted too soon........from your description it was having a significant impact on your flat during the daytime so likely to be far worse during the night time if the occupants play music then.

The law society forms asks the vendor about complaints relating to their own and nearby properties but this relies on people being honest and very often people are not. Some deliberately do not complain so they won't have to declare it.

Take it as a sign and run.

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 21:27:58

It would worry me. But it might only be at weekends. But there really isn't any way to tell if this is a regular problem. But I would be cautious. Good idea about asking the council if there had been any complaints.

camtt Sun 05-May-13 21:47:49

twenty years ago we lived in a middle London flat. Above there was a young woman who played Whitney Houston full volume at any time of the day or night, and who trotted around in high heels on her uncarpeted floors. Below was a man on the Care in the Community scheme who heard noises and banged with a pipe on his ceiling till he ruined it. Now we will only live in detached properties (so I suppose we are paying for this experience as detached tends to be more expensive), my husband will only let us rent detached properties on holiday as well (we don't go often!). It depends on how badly you think this might affect you, but I wouldn't do it.

flatmum Sun 05-May-13 21:50:59

Another one who has been there, done that and now would sell her kidneys before living in a non-detached again. Please don't do it to yourself. Find another place, preferably top floor.

stargirl04 Wed 08-May-13 22:26:01

Update: Spoke to the estatie yesterday who told me pretty much what I expected.

He had spoken to the vendor, who said the music wasn't really a problem as the neighbour did not play it loud very often, or at unsociable hours and would turn it down if you asked them. So I told him I would think about it.

I rode over on my motorbike tonight after work and spoke to one of the neighbours in the block, who was a mine of information, a middle aged guy who'd lived there for 18 years and knew everyone in the block.

First off, he told me that the whole development was ex-local authority, and mostly occupied by council tenants. In the particular block where I would live, only he and "my" vendors are private owners and the other three flats are council tenants.

He said there were drug addicts living in the neighbouring block next door but that they "wouldn't bother me" and "kept themselves to themselves".

He said there were no really bad neighbours except for some people in the really big council block at the end of the street, and said he'd been mugged in the past when walking past it at night. But that generally it was a safe area. Although he'd had to stop keeping his motorbike on the street as the yobs from the big block damaged it. He said there was a high chance my bike would either be damaged or stolen for this reason, so I would have to find a garage to keep it in.

As for the people living in his block, one (unemployed) neighbour "did like to play loud music" but it was "never late at night" and she was "reasonable" and "would turn it down if asked". There was also a dispute between her and the vendors of "my" flat, whom she accused of being noisy themselves.

"My" vendors bought the flat only in March last year (so only in the flat a year and a month before putting it on the market) but told this guy they wanted to move because they'd found a house they liked.

The woman living above the vendors was also a benefit claimant who was "quiet" and "harmless" but "not all there", (possibly because of learning difficulties) and "may unwittingly cause issues" with my flat (if I bought it) because she might do something daft like "leave the bath to overrun or something like that", this guy said.

So lots to think about, but the estate agent wasn't completely telling lies about the noise!

What do you think, Mumsnetters? Would you give it a swerve or give it a go? Have to admit, my enthusiasm is much less than it was, having learnt all this.
hmm

stargirl04 Wed 08-May-13 22:28:10

Update: Spoke to the estatie yesterday who told me pretty much what I expected.

He had spoken to the vendor, who said the music wasn't really a problem as the neighbour did not play it loud very often, or at unsociable hours and would turn it down if you asked them. So I told him I would think about it.

I rode over on my motorbike tonight after work and spoke to one of the neighbours in the block, who was a mine of information, a middle aged guy who'd lived there for 18 years and knew everyone in the block.

First off, he told me that the whole development was ex-local authority, and mostly occupied by council tenants. In the particular block where I would live, only he and "my" vendors are private owners and the other three flats are council tenants.

He said there were drug addicts living in the neighbouring block next door but that they "wouldn't bother me" and "kept themselves to themselves".

He said there were no really bad neighbours except for some people in the really big council block at the end of the street, and said he'd been mugged in the past when walking past it at night. But that generally it was a safe area. Although he'd had to stop keeping his motorbike on the street as the yobs from the big block damaged it. He said there was a high chance my bike would either be damaged or stolen for this reason, so I would have to find a garage to keep it in.

As for the people living in his block, one (unemployed) neighbour "did like to play loud music" but it was "never late at night" and she was "reasonable" and "would turn it down if asked". There was also a dispute between her and the vendors of "my" flat, whom she accused of being noisy themselves.

"My" vendors bought the flat only in March last year (so only in the flat a year and a month before putting it on the market) but told this guy they wanted to move because they'd found a house they liked.

The woman living above the vendors was also a benefit claimant who was "quiet" and "harmless" but "not all there", (possibly because of learning difficulties) and "may unwittingly cause issues" with my flat (if I bought it) because she might do something daft like "leave the bath to overrun or something like that", this guy said.

So lots to think about, but the estate agent wasn't completely telling lies about the noise!

What do you think, Mumsnetters? Have to admit, my enthusiasm is much less than it was, having learnt all this.
hmm

MonkeyingAroundTown Wed 08-May-13 22:28:22

Omg cannot believe you are still considering buying this. I would run a mile

stargirl04 Wed 08-May-13 22:28:47

Sorry for the double post - didn't realise I couldn't edit it and mistakenly posted twice.

flow4 Wed 08-May-13 22:31:57

Follow your instincts. I'm sure you're already aware that gossipy neighbours like a bit of drama, and you need to take what they say with a pinch of salt! On the other hand, there'll be some truth in what he says, and I don't think you should buy without doing some more investigating...

Cosmosim Wed 08-May-13 22:37:13

Really? Mugged on your own street but still think it's safe? Like fuck, I'd run.

stargirl04 Wed 08-May-13 22:37:31

Hi flow4, actually I am not thinking seriously of buying it any more. The only thing that was still tugging at me was the beautiful surrounding area, which is semi-rural. And the fact that apart from the issues with this street, the wider area is seen as very desirable.

But I don't think I want to have to handle a neighbour living above who may cause a hazard of some sort. And the drug addicts who live next door don't seem too appealing either, funnily enough.... despite the fact that they "keep themselves to themselves" - so do serial killers, according to their neighbours in the news reports. shock

stargirl04 Wed 08-May-13 22:44:38

Meant to add also that I am really grateful for all the responses I got on here - particularly from people with experience of noisy neighbours. It was very, very helpful.

I should also explain that on my budget in London I can't afford much, and I've looked at a lot of real dumps. This place is actually a lovely flat with well maintained and clean communal areas. But I realise that neighbours are important, probably more so than the property itself.

And it was in a peaceful road - well, relatively speaking in that it wasn't a busy road or near a pub etc - and it had the space I wanted, whereas many places on my budget are like tiny shoe boxes.

this is the link, just in case anyone is curious:
http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-26485560.html?premiumA=true

ah well... the search goes on.... sad

HighJinx Wed 08-May-13 22:54:26

I'm glad to hear that you are no longer considering buying this place.

DH and I once bought a place for no real reason other than it was all we could afford in the area. We were so determined to buy that we went for it. It was the worst decision we ever made (even though we made money on it). I hated living there.

Just a few things that happened, aside from the loud music and the woman who had to have her TV loud enough so we she could hear it in every room. The woman in one of the middle flats was invited into one of the ground floor flats for a drink one day and stole a credit card from the woman who lived there. Another couple frequently fell out with each other at all hours and threw each others belongings out of the 2nd floor window into the street. confused Then a nightclub opened just around the corner.

Hope you find somewhere nice soon.

stargirl04 Wed 08-May-13 22:57:17

High Jinx - god what a horror story! That is a real lesson for me as I feel that I have to buy also!

flow4 Wed 08-May-13 23:09:43

I can see why you liked it...

I forget how bl**dy expensive London is! Around here, for £175k you could buy a 3 or 4 bed semi like this !

stargirl04 Wed 08-May-13 23:50:30

OMG.. that is gorgeous, with space to die for! I should look for a job up north I think....

There are still bargains to be had in the south. When I sold my flat in Holloway I bought a 3 bedroom house near Worthing for £160k. Good luck OP

flow4 Thu 09-May-13 07:53:03

A lot of people do, stargirl! That one's out of my budget, but there are houses with views and 3 bed semis (tho perhaps not both together!) and def 2 bed semis with gardens and views for under £150k. Towns like Halifax, Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and the villages around them, are commuting distance from Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield... The cost of living is low and the quality of life is high. smile

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