AIBU? Noisy neighbour thread. Advice please!!!(30 Posts)
I’m going to try my hardest not to drip feed but there is A LOT of background to this.
I live in a share of freehold. My neighbour directly below me uses her flat every couple of weeks, usually when there is a protest on in London.
Almost 6 years ago, on the day we were moving in, my neighbour knocked on my door and explained that the previous neighbours were quite noisy and could we keep it down. We were very polite and said no problem. There was me my partner and my 3 month old.
My flat already had underlay with laminate flooring.
A few days later I met her in the garden and she began slagging off the rest of the owners in the building. My first reaction was that she must clearly be the issue as 5+ people cannot all be the devil.
The first complaint of noise came a few months after moving. To be honest I sat on my arse during that time as I was either BF (daughter attached constantly as I was not producing enough milk, but that’s another story) or my daughter was asleep. There really was minimal noise at this point. We currently spend 5 days a week at work/school/nursery, we arrive home at around 5.30 and children in bed at 7. We tend to be home at least one day of the weekend.
I read my lease and it was quite vague. It was along the lines of ‘floors must be covered with underlay or felt’ I was quite adamant that I was adhering to my lease. At this point there really was no noise.
Fast forward a few years and I now have 3DC. We decided to put the flat on the market as we had outgrown it. As soon as we told our freehold we received a solicitors letter from the neighbour downstairs. This was after years of back and forth complaints. So put an obstacle in our way to sell. I read the lease again and hidden at the back of a 30 page manual it said I needed carpet. So I decided to have a chat with my partner and agreed that we should invest in some soundproofing as the sale of our property fell through.
We emailed neighbour and asked if she’d be happy with soundproofing and a hard floor. We explained we had a few professionals quote us on various flooring. All said that due to the age of the property a carpet would have a very minimal affect and the best option would be to sound proof. She shut this compromise down and demanded a carpet. We paid £2000 for a very good quality underlay and carpet. Now after 18 months the complaints have started again.
Where do I stand legally? We made it very clear a carpet wouldn’t be sufficient but we were so sick of her complaints we agreed to it.
Just a bit of background. This lady has-
•Accused the freehold of stealing her post
•Refuses to support anyone e.g. her door needed fixing, she demanded we sort it but we made it clear it was her job and she ended up roping in another neighbour to sort it for her.
•Accused me of entering her property
•Accused me killing her plants
•Stolen my plant pots
•Treats us all like PA’s
•Made fun of my dyslexia
•does not believe we have carpet
•sent a really weird email to the freehold complaining that another tenant destroyed her front garden.
•everytime she visits this property she sends the freehold an email complaining about something, anything. Recently she requested a meeting and the truth is no one wants to sit in a room with her.
The list really does go on.
I don't know what a freehold means sorry but how did she stop you selling your flat ?
The best thing for you to do is to sell it and to sell it to someone who is a non-resident landlord. )Any tenants will then stay for a year and move out due to her behaviour. Some will cause her proper hell before moving out. )
Any other option you take will make it difficult to sell as it would mean you would have to report a conflict with your neighbour to any potential seller.
If possible as you have carpet get her to come up and have a look to prove it.
Yes I’ve duplicated it. I thought there were two reasons why I’d had one comment, either it was completely boring or it had bumped down quite quickly. But I really do need advice on whether or not I have a leg to stand on. I’m really not in a financial situation where I could ask the advice of a solicitor.
I should have made my question clearer. What I am asking is that if she made the decision to go with carpet then wouldn’t her solicitor laugh at her new complaint?
Where would I stand if I did get another’s solicitors letter?
Why would someone who objects to any noise you are making try to prevent you from selling if she perceives you are a problem neighbour? Why can't you just show her you have carpet?
Who is the freeholder and can you not contact them and establish you are not in breach of your lease?
I would rent your property out and buy something else to live in
Can you afford to rent it out and then buy elsewhere?
Can’t afford to rent out and live elsewhere.
We are all share of freeholders.
We all wondered the same thing when we were going to sell. We thought she’d happy that we were moving.
I would tell her that as she lives in a flat she has to accept a degree of noise and that if she can’t tolerate minimal noise then maybe she should buy a detached house in the middle of nowhere.
I would also tell her that maybe she should report you to the council if she feels the noise is too much and they’ll come out and monitor.
When I last bought a house, I viewed one where the estate agent explained upfront about problems the vendors had had with one of the next door neighbours. This neighbour sounded completely unreasonable (later confirmed with more detail by a friend who lived on the road), and the behaviour was similar to what you’re describing (baseless complaints about vendors to authorities, letters of complaint sent directly, etc.). Like your situation, there was one main focus (a right of access iirc), but other complaints too. The vendors had lost one sale when it was disclosed further down the line, so the agents had decided to tell viewers at the beginning of the process.
That house sold very quickly after we viewed, and if I’d loved the house the neighbour issue wouldn’t have prevented me putting in an offer either.
I’d be far more concerned about noisy neighbours than about petty complaints about me making noise. I think if you’re honest without making a big deal about it, you will find buyers. Just explain this is an annoying neighbour who complains from time to time and that you took steps to rectify a genuine issue. Talk to your estate agent about how to present this. But really, I don’t think it will prevent you selling.
My main concern would be that if I get another solicitors letter, would she really have a leg to stand on as she demanded carpet and went against the advice of professionals. I’m not in a financial situation where I can pay a solicitor or get new flooring, again?
This is the first dispute I have ever had with a neighbour. If I was a new buyer without the knowledge of what a bad neighbour was like then it wouldn’t bother me. With this experience and knowledge I would run a mile if the estate agent whispered the words ‘tricky neighbour.’
Ps the right of access dispute is not the biggest issue, her constant complaints are. It makes me feel very uncomfortable in my own home, always on edge.
The path to my garden definitely belongs to her. But she is purposely letting it overgrow. I mean completely overgrown on purpose due to the noise. These were her words not mine.
I do know what you mean. I now have noisy neighbours next door to the house I did end up buying (and I’ve involved the council, so this will absolutely need to be disclosed) and I worry about selling.
In the right of way situ, we were clearly shown that the neighbour’s argument (basically they should be allowed to cross their back garden with bins) was absolute rubbish. We saw the garden and road itself, as well as plans. It wouldn’t have worried me to receive letters demanding something so obviously ridiculous, so I’d not have been put off buying. Your situation sounds similar in that you can show that you have a nice, thick new carpet!
I understand you probably won’t feel ok about this until you have sold, however, as I am the same. However, I think you should be reassured that not everyone will be put off.
I think you've done what you should have done, if the lease says underlay and carpet then that's what you have.
You say that initially you didn't see this condition of the lease but then discovered it and had carpets fitted. So that's that, if you had fitted soundproof carpets then you would have in breach of that, so it's not really her decision.
Also, I wonder what protests she goes to every couple of weeks or so.
It sounds as though you have undertaken all reasonable steps to adhere to your lease conditions and to appease the neighbour. You’ll have to disclose it however it doesn’t stop you putting your house in the market. You sound very tolerant of her. Does she have children? 3 children in a flat might be noisy but you’d think if that was the case she be supporting the sale not trying to create issues for you selling.
As you are all freeholders and all experiencing a level of complaints, is there no way you can get together (including her) and agree base rules and terms? For instance, accesses should be kept clear (pathways) and are the responsibility of the owner. If she brings up the carpet issue, calmly state you have fitted carpet as per the legal document and quickly move to the next point. Quickly and effectively shut her down on every point. If she does not attend, I would write a factual letter, detailing the meeting content. Alternatively, a solicitors letter for cease and desist. You are entitled to enjoy your property and cannot because of her persistent complaints.
With carpet fitted you are now fully compliant with the lease terms. Is there anything at all you are not compliant with? If not then I think a meeting of the freeholders should be called to discuss things like your right of way being kept clear, etc. The meeting should be minuted. All freeholders receive a copy of the minutes, including anyone who didn't attend.
So the issue really for the solicitor is "is this causing a statutory noise nuisance" There is legislation on this and lots of lots of case law which I wont bore you with but it comes down to whether or not the noise falls within this category.
to be honest the only way to tell what is going on in your flat is to have a proper impact and airborne noise assessment. contact the institute of acoustics and ask for them to give you a list of qualified people in your area. Its not going to be cheap but ultimately it will be really worth it. A proper assessment will tell you whether the noise is structural or not. If it is then it will give you a schedule of works that needs to be done to bring the property up to building regs standards.
If works are needed then they can be done from your flat only but might need access into her flat and works there as well. this would mean involving your freeholder informally first to make this happen. if she wont let you or the freeholder have access informally then there are formal steps that you can take but they are a long way off.
Neighbour nuisance complainers generally don't just complain about one thing and your neighbour is following the same old pattern as every one that I dealt with over the 20+ years I was an EHO dealing with noise nuisance.
The carpet should have made some difference. but if she is saying its still a nuisance then the only way to prove or disprove this is to undertake a proper noise assessment and get a report from a qualified person. she may not like the outcome though especially if treatment works both to your floor and her ceiling are recommended.
it will also mean that armed with this you will either be able to sell and show her complaints were baseless and malicious or better still that there was an issue with noise, you carried out works and now a stat. nuisance no longer exists.
message me if you want any more help.
That's a lesson in never promising new neighbours anything because if they come looking for it right at the start, they will use it against you endlessly in the future.
She really doesn’t visit very often. She also keys quite a few friends stay on random occasions.
@jamiefraserskilt we have all done that and nothing has changed.
All other responses were extremely helpful thank you!!
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