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downstairs neighbour insisting I install soundproofing in my flat

(53 Posts)
Popskipiekin Thu 29-Sep-16 13:01:47

Oh it's a long one.... never mind, hope some of you can get to the end!

We own a top floor flat, part of a block of 4. As per the rules of the leasehold, all areas of our flat are carpeted aside from the kitchen and bathrooms. It's just me, DH and DS (2), and I promise we live very boring quiet lives, in bed by 10pm.

Our downstairs neighbour has recently taken to sleeping in her small back bedroom, which is situated immediately under our kitchen (laminate floor). She used to sleep in her other larger bedroom - and tells me that she can hear no noise throughout the rest of her flat, so she did not have this problem when she slept there - but is renting this out currently. She has complained several times that us walking on the kitchen floor "is like bombs going off by my ears" and that it wakes her up all the time. I don't know when she's sleeping as we don't use the kitchen after we go to bed confused I suppose we do go in there in the morning from 7am - and yes, there will be some people still asleep at this time, but we aren't stomping, simply going in the kitchen to make breakfast etc.

She has now said we need to install soundproofing in our floor. She won't do it from her end as the job is much harder to do from the ceiling side, apparently, and she will lose a lot of ceiling height.

She has offered to pay for the soundproofing but only on the condition that it is laid on top of the current floor (when it would be better to lift up the current floor and put it underneath - but that would be too much money as far as she is concerned). Laying soundproofing and a new floor would raise our kitchen floor 3cm, we'd have to cut bits off our kickboards, might not be able to fit back all the units that are currently there, would create a step into the kitchen and the floor on top would not be the floor of our choosing - just one that fits with her budget. I think it will all be very unsightly as well as a trip hazard, not to mention the risks of it being done badly/damaging our kitchen, and I just don't want to do it.

She is kicking up such a fuss and behaving as if we are the unreasonable party. The alternative she is offering is to go halves on the much more expensive approach of lifting up the current floor - but I don't see why I should have to pay for soundproofing in my flat when we are being very considerate and it's not a legal requirement. Our nextdoor neighbours often play music late at night so that we can't sleep - we have had to use earplugs and/or go and sleep on the sofa when it's bad. It's just London living.

Thoughts/suggestions? We are about to rent the whole flat, as it turns out, and I am paranoid that our neighbour will ruin our relationship with our tenants.

Absy Thu 29-Sep-16 13:05:43

I literally hate our upstairs neighbour with the heat of a thousand suns because they ripped up all their carpets so we hear literally everything (and I strongly suspect they're letting out their flat through Airbnb). But - I agree with you. Your behaviour sounds reasonable and hers a bit bonkers.

YelloDraw Thu 29-Sep-16 13:07:45

Tell her to jog on - she can install sound proofing on her side if she wants. You are complying with leasehold conditions re carpet etc and your behavior sounds reasonable.

Mumzypopz Thu 29-Sep-16 13:11:24

Surely it would be much easier for her to lose her ceiling height, then if she wants it done, she pays for it

aginghippy Thu 29-Sep-16 13:12:20

YANBU as long as you are complying with the terms of your lease, you are fine. She can insist all she likes, but you don't have to do what she says. I would stop discussing it with her IIWY.

You are correct that it's just London living. But then sometimes having a bonkers neighbor is also part of London living.

SabineUndine Thu 29-Sep-16 13:12:24

Far as I can see, she has created the problem for herself, by renting out her bedroom. Since she's getting money from doing that she should be paying for the soundproofing in her own flat and she can have the hassle of it. Also, is she wearing earplugs? If not, she should try them.

smallinthesmoke Thu 29-Sep-16 13:13:04

Check your lease agreement very carefully. If you are sticking to every word of it then you do not need to do any more.
I have lived under a two year old with a non-carpeted room and never complained because they were sticking to the terms of the leasehold. Like you, they were just living their lives. She will need to soundproof from below if she wishes and that is entirely her look out.
If you are kind though you will find some quiet looking tenants! !

ftw Thu 29-Sep-16 13:13:48

Someone's being unreasonable but it's not you. smile

EveOnline2016 Thu 29-Sep-16 13:14:00

Yanbu. You are not breaking any terms and when you live in a flat or house that is attached to another house noise is to be expected.

The only way to have complete peace and quiet is a detached house in the middle of nowhere

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Thu 29-Sep-16 13:14:15

Her problem.
Could you get a big cotton rag rug (washable) for the kitchen?

ftw Thu 29-Sep-16 13:14:45

And no matter who is paying for it, don't agree to have it on top of your existing floor. A step up into your kitchen is a stupid idea.

crje Thu 29-Sep-16 13:15:50

Do ye have a table & chairs in there? If yes then ye should put a rug under it.
There are rolls of foam like mats that ye could put in the high traffic areas.
Or maybe no shoes on until ye head out the door.

I think ye could do something but I wouldn't do as much as she is asking.

IceRoadDucker Thu 29-Sep-16 13:16:32

YANBU. I would stop discussing it with her and come up with some stock phrase to repeat every time she starts. "There's nothing we can do, but I hope your soundproofing goes well." followed by a smile and walking away.

Planty18 Thu 29-Sep-16 13:19:00

Yanbu and I wouldn't even discuss it with her any further and this is from someone who was woken at 6am every morning by the same type of situation and it drove me nuts, but it wasn't the person's fault, I accepted they got up at 6 and our bedroom was below their kitchen. It's London living as you say and she's lucky. She's caused the issue for herself and can pay for it herself.

MoreGilmoreGirls Thu 29-Sep-16 13:19:15

I agree try a cheap rug in the kitchen to muffle footsteps as a nice gesture, surely a lot less hassle than soundproofing but if she's adamant then she should do it her side and pay. Not your problem.

IceRoadDucker Thu 29-Sep-16 13:21:12

I wouldn't have a rug in my kitchen, and I'm sure I'm not the only one?

lilydaisyrose Thu 29-Sep-16 13:24:54

My upstairs neighbours have wooden floors/laminate throughout with 2 children under 5 and every noise is amplified - toys being dropped/tipped out, moving tables and chairs every mealtime, hoovering tc and I want to murder someone when the Mum never ever takes off her high heeled pointy boots indoors; however I still don't think you are being unreasonable and am surprised you are even considering this!

pigsDOfly Thu 29-Sep-16 13:25:23

Unfortunately, if you live in a flat you get noise from those around you. You certainly don't sound as if you're doing anything excessively noisy.

If she wants the space between you soundproofed then it's up to her to get it done in her flat and be the one to put up with the mess and inconvenience that's involved in such a process.

Does she really think it acceptable to make demands and have everyone running around doing her bidding. And pay towards it into the bargain.

I think you need to make it perfectly clear to her that you are not going to do what she wants, nor are you going to pay anything towards any soundproofing she may have done.

She needs to know that that's how it is, you're not willing to discuss it further and the subject is closed.

Theoretician Thu 29-Sep-16 13:31:00

The problem can be solved without your co-operation for £4.49.

Mouikey Thu 29-Sep-16 13:32:42

Do not put the soundproofing above your existing floor - it will devalue your house and suggest that you have issues with your downstairs neighbour. if you want to be kind (and you're living within the terms of your lease) she is welcome to pay for soundproofing under your floor (as this will cause you inconvenience) alternatively she gets it installed on her side... I wonder if she doesn't want to do it on her side due to the impact on house value and inconvenience as she cant go anywhere else whilst work being undertaken?

If she doesn't like those options then leave her to it as your being reasonable and Environmental Health wouldn't take action in this situation.

CoolCarrie Thu 29-Sep-16 13:35:29

Let her do her soundproofing not you! You are not in the wrong here, as pp said she created this situation by renting out her other bedroom. Let her get on with it and don't live your lives any differently.

Popskipiekin Thu 29-Sep-16 13:38:02

And.......... breathe smile Thank you for all the reassuring responses!! It's not like I'm considering it exactly, I just keep having these bizarre "down the rabbit hole" type conversations with her, where she clearly believes it would be entirely reasonable for me to comply with her request and I can't believe that we're even having the conversation!

It's a small galley kitchen, no tables or chairs, we just go in there to cook/make tea etc, carry it through to the (carpeted) living/dining room to eat.

I suppose a sort of compromise of using a rug if we have to go in the kitchen before 8am might work? put it down last thing at night, it will be there in the morning. And no shoes is a nice suggestion, that could work. But neither of these things is something we could impose on any future tenant - or, and this does make me smile, on a future purchaser! Even if I did let her put soundproofing in (I won't! I have now gained some backbone after all your agreement) there is nothing to stop a future owner of the flat changing the entire set up of the flat and taking out the soundproofing.

Penfold007 Thu 29-Sep-16 13:38:20

Why on earth should you lose 3cms of ceiling height by raising your floors. Not wearing outdoor shoes in the kitchen and maybe getting a rug might be reasonable but surely your kitchen is a quiet area at night.

CoolCarrie Thu 29-Sep-16 13:38:23

Good one, Theoretician!

Flanderspigeonmurderer Thu 29-Sep-16 13:38:31

Could you get a hard rattan mat? Other than that I wouldn't offer to spend any more money, she's being unreasonable.

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