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To not pay for my neighbours flats to be cleaned after building works?

(129 Posts)
happyfrogger Sat 20-Jul-13 10:44:17

We are 4 weeks into a 6 week renovation on the ground floor flat we just bought in London. We have 2 neighbours above, one on either side and one at the back. We are not living there whilst the work is being done (it's a building site). It's noisy and messy.

We like to think we are considerate and neighbourly, and contacted all the neighbours letting them know our plans and schedule. We have left notes and chocolates with them part way through the works and kept them informed (and continued to apologise for the disruption) along the way.

Unfortunately, they are starting to get impatient. This week we have had a very unhappy email stating how shocked and upset the neighbours are about the state our builders are leaving the place in. They expect the communal hall to be hoovered daily and no building rubbish to be left outside in the front garden at any point. (I believe it's not in their way and personally I would bear with it for this short period). We have asked our builders again to keep it cleared regularly where possible.

I am sympathetic to a point, and we have played a civil and apologetic game. The neighbour DEMANDED her windows were cleaned by us at the end of the work, we happily we said yes of course. We also pointed out we would have communal areas professionally cleaned / carpets washed at the end of the work - and make good any damage or knocks to the communal hall etc.

We visited today to keep them informed. We were met with up-tightness and attitude. I understand it is not nice living amidst this but I'm not sure what else I can do to placate them.

Above all I want to be FAIR. Today's demand was 'I think we (all the neighbours) DESERVE that you pay for all our flats to be cleaned. At which point I said 'unfortunately I think this is a hazzard of flat living, but I'm happy to have all communal areas processionally cleaned, as you know.' Perhaps I object to the word 'deserve' or that I'm being seen as the meal ticket for redecorating the hall (yes they asked for that too). I like the fact that we are moving to an area with people who care about being considerate neighbours but I think they are starting to be unfair and there is little else I feel I can do at this point.

AIBU? What else can I do / suggest that is FAIR and without setting the expectation that I can be walked over just to keep the peace???

ArabellaTarantella Thu 30-Oct-14 13:10:44

Did you deliberately go hunting for a Zombie Thread barbaraluton? I've never understood people who do this!

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Thu 30-Oct-14 13:08:30

I'd start a new thread, not post on an old one, because reviving zombies annoys people.

As to your problem, I think they are trying it on, tbh, if it is as you describe. So long as the builders are being considerate, I can't really see how they can blame you for he dirt.

barbaraluton Thu 30-Oct-14 13:00:19

I live in a terraced house and I had some work done (replacing roof) and now rebuilding steps that lead to the front door of the house.
My neighbour (a few guys who rent the house next door) has asked today how long the works will last because his carpet is getting dirty.

Now, the builders are keeping everything fairly organised, and the work is happening in front of my house (not theirs). The work on the steps has been going on for the past 3 days, and will be finished in 2 days' time. I am just wondering what right they will have to ask me for cleaning their carpets? (They are filthy guys anyways, the house smells like it has not been cleaned for a long long when they open the windows)

flanbase Wed 24-Jul-13 09:39:45

you should ensure the communal areas are clean and no disruption at all. Your builders can clean up. There is no need to make a mess here. You should pay for all cleaning of the neighbours flats. If you don't you will suffer all their building works and noise and everything else & they will always remind you of your selfishness

fedupofnamechanging Wed 24-Jul-13 09:28:22

From your neighbours pov, they are getting all the mess and dirt involved in renovating, but won't get the lovely benefits at the end of it. I'm glad you've decided to clean their flats because they shouldn't have to.

I would definitely put a stop to your neighbour using your roof as a terrace - I would not take a live and let live approach to this. You will be liable if she injures herself on your property and she is potentially causing damage to your roof. This would be non negotiable for me.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Wed 24-Jul-13 09:17:04

Good way of putting it CJ

CalamityJ Wed 24-Jul-13 09:07:07

You sound very reasonable OP. You asked 'AIBU?' MN spoke and you've now decided to offer what was asked for (I can imagine it's galling being told what they deserve but you have been the bigger person and sucked it up). The roof 'terrace' does need to be discussed ASAP to avoid damage to what you're currently repairing. Perhaps in the context of 'well the builders in are so if you'd like them to quote on turning it into a proper roof terrace at your cost then feel free to ask them to do it at the end of these works. Otherwise I'm going to have to ask you not to use it as it's uninsured and currently not fit for purpose'. How does that sound?

claudedebussy Wed 24-Jul-13 08:54:29

building dust is incredibly fine and gets EVERYWHERE.

I don't think cleaning their flats is unreasonable, although i as a neighbour would not have asked that of you. i would have appreciated it enormously though.

the using your roof as a terrace is very annoying and i'd definitely be having a word after the building work dust has settled. explain about the damage to your roof. she could very well be the reason the previous owners sold!

overall it sounds like you are being very good neighbours.

as for redecorating the hall, as it's yours and they only have right of passage it's totally up to you what you do. i would ignore that request if you don't want to do it.

Levantine Wed 24-Jul-13 08:35:54

I remember living in a top floor flat in london in the 2003 heatwave. The idea of not being able to open the windows because of builders dust is just unbearable. It was awful as it was

SpooMoo Wed 24-Jul-13 07:57:11

Anyone saying YANBU has clearly never lived in a flat in London during a hot summer. It's shit enough without noisy messy building work next door.

BoffinMum Wed 24-Jul-13 07:44:58

Never piss your neighbours off unless you are about to move.

microserf Wed 24-Jul-13 07:37:24

I would definitely pay for the flats to be cleaned with a cap on the cost or your choice of contractor. It is absolutely miserable living next to building work. Have you checked your contractos are cleaning the communal areas? In my experience they often forget... Or can't be arsed.

Builders are bloody noisy. After we moved in to our flat, the neighbours came round to complain about ours making too much noise with the radio. We were a bit upset as we'd been round before the work to introduce ourselves and asked them to let us know if it was a problem and we had banned use of radios during the work! So it doesn't always go to plan. W apologised and had them round to dinner.

KeatsiePie Wed 24-Jul-13 06:12:27

Again, you really do seem lovely and very sensible about how best to get on with one's neighbors in a shared building. Your attitude about the roof use is really very nice. I still think you should have their flats cleaned at the end of it all, b/c again I'd be going mad wiping dust off everything and stressing about it getting into speakers etc., but I certainly don't think you're at all unreasonable for having the work done, for heaven's sake. Nor do I think you should have to bend over backward apologizing. I would just pay for the flats to be cleaned when the communal hall is cleaned and not worry about it further.

limitedperiodonly Sun 21-Jul-13 19:41:38

This isn't strictly fair because OP intends to live in her flat. Sorry OP.

But I want to reserve a special circle of hell for get-rich-quick landlords who don't have much of a pension and have seen too many episodes of Homes Under The Hammer.

Fraxinus Sun 21-Jul-13 19:35:59

My sister lives in a flat. The building work on the flat underneath was absolute hell. The relationship between the new owner and all the residents got off to a terrible start. He was so arrogant. When you consider that sometimes people live for very many years in a house or flat, they see the building work as absolute hell in the context of 40 years of peace and quiet where work was maybe done bit by bit, not whole houses gutted.

As I say, live and let live, and do what you can if you CHOOSE a flat

You have chosen a flat. You have chosen a building project, and to gut the place instead of doing it gradually. You have chosen to do it 1 month before your baby is due, but the other residents possibly did not have any choice but to live in a flat. So the idea that it was their choice to live in a flat mitigating the fact that building works can be hell makes you come across as arrogant.

Good luck with the baby and moving into the new place.

squoosh Sun 21-Jul-13 15:31:25


This happened to me in my last flat, the neighbours had extensive disruptive building works that went on for months. My flat was filled with dust every day, had no idea how it made its way in.

Was furious.

limitedperiodonly Sun 21-Jul-13 15:25:04

OP your roofers will be able to tell you whether the surface can withstand being used as a roof terrace.

Not all of them can and if she damages it you'll have get it repaired again. Leaks can be hard to locate as well so you might need the whole thing done again rather than a patch-up.

If it can't cope she's going to have to keep off. Good luck with that conversation grin

GettingVerySleepy Sun 21-Jul-13 15:12:54

I just think this whole cleaning thing is a red herring as the real problem is the woman who ruined the roof and is likely to do so again. Nothing you can do about it now but you should have tried the best you could to get some goodwill going by offering the cleaning etc right from the start. That plus the fact you have sole use of the gardens and I'm concerned the neighbour will go mental about the roof issue. I also don't understand why the cost of the roof was shared when it seems that it should by rights really only benefit your flat. if neighbour paid for part of that roof she maybe wrongly feels entitled to use it as a terrace.

Justforlaughs Sun 21-Jul-13 15:06:57

Just a word of caution OP, if your neighbours are feeling annoyed about the disruption they may deliberately find a really expensive -- and no doubt very efficient and good-- cleaning company, as opposed to a good, but reasonably priced one. I'd be putting a realistic, generous, cap on your reimbursement offer, to be honest.

tribunalhelpneeded Sun 21-Jul-13 15:00:53

Currently our new NDNs have builders in. They have been there for 3 months. They estimate they will be finished by mid September. NDNs not living there same as you.

The noise and mess are horrific to live with. We can't open windows because of the dirt and dust. I have had to rewash several loads of washing. I can't sleep during the day when I work night shifts. My 4 DC can't play in the garden due to noise and dirt.

The builders themselves are very nice and apologetic and even brought sweets for the DC and wine for us to apologise for the disruption. Nothing from the NDN themselves. I am exhausted. I am sick of either stifling or filth in my home. When I complained politely about the disruption the NDN banged on about how much it was costing them. I don't give a shit. At the end of it they will have a lovely refurbished home and we get to clean their builders mess from our home.

This may be what your new neighbours are feeling too. Consider doing what they want if you have any plans on having good relationships with them please.

LIZS Sun 21-Jul-13 14:59:31

Presumably other tenants have had to walk through the hall during the day , so transferring any dust or debris into their own flats. Do you own the freehold or are you doing the work with the freeholder's permission and therefore are perhaps subject to certain conditions ?

Turniptwirl Sun 21-Jul-13 14:51:39

If your renovation is making a mess of their flats then yabvu

I would not want to be your neighbour

valiumredhead Sun 21-Jul-13 14:25:35

Do whatever they want-they will be your neighbours! Sounds hellish tbh.

PerilsAsinger Sun 21-Jul-13 14:19:52

Haven't read the whole thread however I think you need to try harder. The other tenants really shouldn't have to put up with a messy communal hallway while your builders do your work.

You need to make sure the builders clean up daily or you need to employ someone to do that for them. Anything else really isn't very nice.

happyfrogger Sun 21-Jul-13 14:16:14

3 flats, each with SoF. Ours is the biggest flat / biggest share and we own the front and back garden and communal downstairs hall with right of passage for other 2 flats upstairs.

The deed was amended when the extension was done, stating shared costs of the roof between the two flats (ours and immediately upstairs) but only as a roof, not as a terrace. There is no safety barrier etc.

It made sense to put it right as part of our works but having now got a beautiful, repaired and dried ceiling I would be upset if it happened again now!

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