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to think this neighbour is unreasonable?

(46 Posts)
norfolknic Wed 17-Apr-13 22:55:46

Dh has a flat that he's let as we moved area so we're now renting elsewhere. it is let to a couple with a 5yo ds, they are very nice and great tenants, they've been there two years.

A year ago new tenants moved in downstairs from our tenants and since then have made multiple complaints both to our tenants and to us as landlords. They complain the 5 yo ds makes noise running round the flat above them, spoiling their dinner, that he has tantrums and makes their walls shake (wtf???) and runs in to his mum and dad's bedroom at. between 8 and 9am at weekends, meaning they can't sleep in late.

The flat is fully carpeted, our tenants are decent people and have tried to minimise noise but these downstairs neighbours are still complaining. Aibu to think the complaints are unreasonable and if you want silence a flat isn't always a great option? I've lived next to children/babies in the past and accept a certain amount of noise is inevitable, it's hardly like a parent would encourage tantrums...I feel sorry for the poor family, I know they wouldn't want complaints, no one else has complained about them previously.

apostropheuse Wed 17-Apr-13 23:03:44

The downstairs neighbours are being completely unreasonable. The noise you describe is normal noise to expect if you live in a flat.

It's also not at all unreasonable to make noise between 8 an 9am at weekends. It's hardly the middle of the bloody night!

FaceLikeAPickledYonion Wed 17-Apr-13 23:07:09

Neighbours are definitely bu.
It's a 5 y/o child! They really shouldn't be living in a ground floor flat.
I'm sure whoever you had living there, they'd find something to complain about.

LargeLatte Wed 17-Apr-13 23:21:59

Agree with the PickledOnion. When we lived in a first floor flat our downstairs neighbour complained that we used a washing machine, because it made a noise, and wanted us to drive used nappies to the dump in case foxes dragged them out the bin. They wanted to believe they lived in a secluded mansion at the end of a 1/2 mile drive when in reality they lived in a flat - just like us, we listened to every door closure without complaint. Grrrrrr.

YohedYoshoulderYonisandYotoes Wed 17-Apr-13 23:24:22

Bastards. Call the council and tell them you might have a malicious neighbour and ask them for advice. Also you could try neighbourhood mediation - they have a total right to have a family, and to be making noise after 8am and you have a right to have good tenants who can obviously live with others around them, just because some other people who can't live close to others are being crap.

Some people are really stupid - they live in cheek-by-jowl accommodation in towns and expect silence like they have their own country mansion.

I lived above a guy who threatened to 'call his friends in the police' - he was ex police - because 'you are going into the kitchen at night and getting water'. I also lived above a guy next to a busy junction in a city, on about 20 bus routes, and I had my radio on so quiet on a day off with flu that when a bus went past you couldn't hear it. Said guy came up and threatened to 'knock my block off'. Some people are just mental. Luckily my neighbours stuck up for me and he looked like a tit.

If I were you I would put a stake in the ground on behalf of your tenants, I would say that I have spoken to them and are comfortable that they are meeting your requirements for noise -Confirm it in writing to them as 'investigation of complaint'. People like that use 'telling your landlord' as a stick to beat tenants with because so many crap landlords just cave. It will scupper their BS if you are supportive.

Ask them to ask you if they think something warrants a complaint and keep a diary if they contact you. The pettier the better!

If you get another complaint because they think you are on side with them (because you have 'spoken' to tenants - if they are wankers they might do this..)You might be able to issue an ASBO yourself saying that they are making your tenants feel like they are walking on eggshells in your property and that this is impeding their right to a decent homelife.

I would also consider saying face to face that these are good tenants of yours, and that if the complaints persist and are continually found to have no basis, that you would regard their actions as malicious and would take appropriate action and charge them for your time in investigating them. Say this in writing too if you get this far. If they ask, verbally say 'I will seek to recover costs were my tenants to move as a result of unreasonable complaints.

Sorry if that sounds like to heavy handed - I hate people who complain too much! grin

norfolknic Wed 17-Apr-13 23:24:34

Thanks, I feel sorry for our tenants havingto listen to the complaints. Being woken between 8 and 9 sounds ok, I've heard many children wake at 6am...I've never complained about child related noise from neighbours, heaven help them if they have kids one day.

BumBiscuits Wed 17-Apr-13 23:41:16

If the neighbours keep these unreasonable complaints up there could be a case for harassment against them. Keep records.

WafflyVersatile Wed 17-Apr-13 23:55:15

what bumbiscuits says.

I live in a flat below a family with two children and laminate flooring. The kids run around. They shout sometimes when playing. Sometimes they drop an elephant on the floor I swear. hmm That's what kids do. Every time I see their mum she is apologising for it but I tell her never mind. You can't expect people not to make the normal noises of living.

Smellslikecatspee Thu 18-Apr-13 00:22:39

Basically then they shouldn’t live in a flat. . . .

We had a neighbour like that, with a bit of bitchiness.

We were in a block of 6, 2 on each floor. We were top floor she was in the middle. I swear she nearly wore the stairs out running up to complain. She once came up to complain that we’d kept her up all night and we were disgraceful grin

We’d both just arrived in from working all night, I’ll admit that I gave her both barrels, I’d had a crappy night shift (I worked on a gastro ward I literally had a shitty night).

Living in a flat you have to make concessions. Otherwise move. . .

Funnily she carried on sticking in complaining notes after we’d moved out.

SarahAndFuck Thu 18-Apr-13 00:30:35

We had downstairs neighbours like this once.

When we moved in they told us they were glad we had no children as the people before us had two and they were awful. I think they called them noisy little shits, and they were very happy to see us. For all of five minutes.

Then they started to complain about us. We were walking too loudly (all floors carpeted and had underlay as well), they could hear our (very small) dog walking about, our washing machine was too loud, they thought we were putting rice down the drain and blocking theirs (turned out to be a crisp packet their daughter dropped in their garden), our toilet flushed too loudly, they could hear us taking a bath, they could hear our TV, our telephone rang too loudly and they could hear us talking on it.

Worst and most bizarre, they could hear our fish swimming in the fish tank and it was keeping them awake.

They never said anything about the fact that we could hear them having screaming rows every day, or slamming doors, or starting a motorbike under our window at 5:30am, or the fact that their cat would piss on our doormat every day and attack us if it was on our porch and we came out (we had one of those flats with outside stairs and a porch at the top). They ran their washing machine whenever they liked and had loud music and TV at all hours of the day and night.

At first we did our best. We made sure we didn't walk about inside with our shoes on, we didn't use the washing machine when they were home if we could avoid it, or we made sure we only used it in the day time and not too early in the morning or late at night.

We made sure nothing was put down the sink, we did our best not to flush the toilet late at night, we didn't have baths late at night, we tried to keep the TV down low and changed the ring volume on the phone.

We explained to them that I have hearing difficulties but now we knew things were too loud for them we would change the volumes (until the day they complained the TV was too loud and it wasn't actually on because I was home alone, ill and asleep when they knocked to complain, then we knew they were just taking the piss).

There wasn't much we could do to stop the dog walking or the fish from swimming, but we had a word and asked them to walk and swim quietly.

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Thu 18-Apr-13 00:37:59

When we lived in a flat my downstairs neighbour complained about dd running around during the day as he worked nights.

I told him to get lost, I wasn't going to stop my child moving around in her own home due to his work choices. We used to live in one of the downstairs flats when dp worked nights and the couple above had a child so my sympathy was limited, if you don't like noise, don't rent a downstairs flat fgs

Tortington Thu 18-Apr-13 00:42:05

suggest earplugs - i mean if a lie in ws that fucking important - id buy ear plugs

i would write a letter aying that you consider this to be normal noise levels CONSIDERING THE STRUCTURE OF THE BUILDING -mention that your tenant may consider ongoing complaints harassment.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 18-Apr-13 02:39:07

Bollocks I got all excited then thinking we had another catnapping going on.

What the others said they sound like wankers, make sure you let the tenant know you don't think she's doing anything wrong as she's probably petrified about it.

maddening Thu 18-Apr-13 07:39:13

Offer to go round and sit in downstairs flat and listen to the noise - it sounds like normal living noise which wouldn't constitute statutory nuisance but without going to listen from the neighbours point of view you can't make a judgement. Once you've done that you can comfortably tell them that this is normal living noise to be expected.

I it is really bad but your tenants aren't being unreasonable then it is possible that extra insulation is needed.

hingmy Thu 18-Apr-13 07:59:33

You are definitely NBU. I lived in a top floor flat above a woman who complained constantly about noise. She was too passive aggressive to do so in person so put notes under my door. I would knock on her door to try to discuss matters with her but she wouldn't answer.

For a while, I believed that I was responsible for making the noise she complained about, but I scaled all noise back - all doors propped open, TV on mute watched with subtitles - and she still put her shitty notes under my door. On one surreal occasion, a different neighbour had a psychotic episode at 4am and was running screaming round the carpark naked while multiple police officers tried to calm her down. Awakened by this kerfuffle (obviously) I went to the toilet (not flushing) and neighbour complained that I'd been walking round my flat too early in the morning.

The madness reached its apogee when she complained I'd been making noise all weekend, when I'd been away all weekend. I put the train tickets under her door to prove it.

I lost the plot when she banged on her ceiling to complain the day I had the temerity to run a bath mid-afternoon, and screamed swear words through the floor at her (wonder if she heard them, haha).

And of course, all this time she's making noise - walking in heels on her tiled floor (I had carpet and wore socks), playing the same song over and over, slamming doors - that I don't complain about because, you know, it's a FLAT.

I moved out in the end and sold the flat to a man whose student son was going to live in it with his friend. I love to think that stupid neighbour suddenly realised what noise from my flat actually sounded like, once they started partying.

I think she was hearing noise from other flats and assuming it came from me, but also that she was basically an unreasonable passive-aggressive twat who imagined herself worthy of a stately home when she was living in a 2-bed flat in Manchester. The shitcow.

It's possible I'm still bitter!

BuggerLumpsAnnoyed Thu 18-Apr-13 08:37:47

I would like to mention that you sound like very good land lords.

northerngirl41 Thu 18-Apr-13 10:31:25

Going against the grain here - if there truly is a noise problem (rather than the neighbours just being horrid and complaining about nothing), you need to soundproof the floor.

Noise carries strangely in flats, so it could be waking them up, disturbing their evening, etc. whilst it doesn't seem excessive to your tenants in the next room.

Can you go speak to the complainers as the owner, and listen to what they are complaining about from their flat?

SimplyRedHead Thu 18-Apr-13 10:50:22

I'd love to hear my kids running in between 8-9 at the weekend.

It's more like between 6-7 here. And then the baby cries!

quesadilla Thu 18-Apr-13 12:13:31

I think the harassment thing is worth exploring. A friend has two kids, lived above a woman who had fertility issues and basically was bitter and twisted about kids and any reminder of their existence seemed to be an imposition for her. She complained every time the youngest DD (who at the time was 2 or 3) walked across the living room floor. It got really bad on the end - my friend and her DH ended up with undesirable stuff being stuffed through their letterbox and dumped in their yard. Friend did get a harassment order. Now this sounds worse that what your tenants are going through but it's worth looking into anyway.

mmmerangue Thu 18-Apr-13 12:21:13

I know a friend who has this problem too, I would let her know that while the tenants are being accommodating, and trying to keep quiet, she is ALWAYS going to have noise in a downstairs flat. She can move if it annoys her that much. She should know that it is her problem.

If she SERIOUSLY considers them to be making undue amounts of noise (as opposed to normal noise that happens to inconvenience her) she can have the council or a surveyor come and measure the noise levels and they will tell her without beating around the bush if the levels are within the limits of the law (which I'm sure they are!)

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 12:25:56

They sound very unreasonable and you're right you have to accept noise with flat living- naive to think otherwise!

I live in a flat with 2 DC age 5 and 2 luckily their noisy play coincides with all the neighbours being at work. There are very young children on the lower ground and I regularly hear the toddler in my DCs room and we are on rhe 1st floor. I feel a bit sorry for the couple sandwiched in between us but the man regularly has friends over at the weekend that are very loud watching the football and at night. It is flat living, a bit if give and take.

I lived in another flat with only DS as a baby and a neighbour only used the flat twice a year as a holiday flat, without fail he would knock on the adjoining wall when DS was crying. We went around one night as DS was ill and crying and he was thumping the wall. We went to explain and he said he would bang the wall whenever he liked and his wife said I must be neglecting him- ridiculous. It was ever decreasing circles as I was comforting him to sleep and then the neighbour would bang making him unsettled again. It was such a relief when their visit was over.

marjproops Thu 18-Apr-13 12:35:15

''They shouldnt live in a flat.''...maybe they cant afford to rent a house, flats are generally supposed toi be cheaper.

is it a maisonette flat you're talking about arent you? the floors are always noisy there. creaky floorboard type floors that no amount of thick carpet hides noise.

we were once in a top floor and getting complaints from the downstairs neighbours as DC is heavy footed. they were niosier in a day then we were in a minute btw.

however. possible solution? ask THEIR landlord to lower their ceiling and soundproof. its the only way. even if you pay for it yourself.

DC and i lived in fear of ours and couldnt hardly move, but ive visited friends who live in downstairs and the sound is really bad, even a soft footed person, it literally sounds like elephants, no matter how quiet you try and be.

they ABU in thinking a child cant make ANY noise at all, but i do know where theyre coming from. sorry, im not saying YABU at all,i also see where you are coming from,, im just offering a possible solution.

mmmerangue Thu 18-Apr-13 12:40:40

She can move to a top floor flat and deal with someone complaining to her instead though... might realise how unreasonable she is being at least!

Or buy earplugs...

I live in an upstairs flat with creaky floorboards and my son has learned to STOMP but to their credit neighbours downstairs have only ever complained when we had genuinely made some very unneccessary noise (in the course of having a party, all before 11pm but they have young kids who we woke up so I was pretty mortified) which has not happened since!

MyDarlingClementine Thu 18-Apr-13 13:12:08

only read your op,

whilst I feel for anyone who thinks they are being disturbed by noise, unfortunately - living in flats - if you are that sensitive the tenant below should have asked about noise problems and any children above, or even carpeted etc before he moved in.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 18-Apr-13 13:30:52

As far as I am aware there is not legal sound limit on living. Its down to if its a reasonable thing to do or not so perfectly normal living sounds not an issue but unreasonable not normal sounds regardless of decibels are a actionable thing,

Also noise from children has a special rule in addition to the other rules the parent has to not be taking reasonable action to reduce unreasonable noise for it to be enforceable

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