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Feeling very, very stressed!(6 Posts)
Because I live in a first-floor flat above some corner shops, as a single mum with my baby and pre-schooler. The neighbouring flat, divided from ours only by the hall/stairs, has been an office but work started this weekend with a lot of banging, building etc.
When I emerged into the communal hall today (both children have vomiting bug so was not out early as usual), dust sheets and rubble everywhere, my double pram that I keep there moved outside. We have been given absolutely no notice of all this work and today the builders told me they are doing an extension and turning the office into an apartment, which will probably take around 6 weeks. I said I was angry that nobody had had the courtesy even to tell me this work was due to take place, let alone ask me about it, and the builder said he thought the man who owns the flat had told me, he'd told the shops downstairs. I later checked with the shops and they had been told nothing.
The builder also said it would be necessary to turn off my boiler tomorrow and what time did I need the heating on so they would do it after this? (I said 7-9AM but if it's very cold, especially as children sick, I would actually put it on again later). He also said he "wasn't sure" how they were going to get all the joists in tomorrow as they have to redo the ceiling.
There are implications for my car too, which is usually parked in my little space at the back of the flats, which was blocked by their van/skip all day today. The builder also said he thought the owner of the renovating flat (who is also my estate agent) was going to move us out for six weeks?!?! I had heard nothing about that and couldn't move out with two children, from my home. I wonder if my landlord has any idea about the works, I don't think I have his address but may have it somewhere to contact him.
I feel totally stressed out by the lack of consideration shown us and wonder if anyone knows anything about my rights in this situation and how I can enforce them. Rights of access, peace and quiet and maybe reduced rent for the period?
I am also concerned about the amount of dust etc and rubble in the communal stairwell given my two small children.
I really, really don't have time/ energy/ inclination for a legal battle but also want to be treated more fairly and not have my little home disrupted for six weeks by things like my boiler being turned off with only a day's notice and no choice etc.
I would contact your landlord as first port of call. Water & electricity does get switched off from time to time even as a homeowner - it's part of life. Maybe moving out for six weeks might be less disruptive?
I would gently suggest keeping the builders on side, they're just doing a job, your beef is with the landlord of the other property.
Get in touch with him and voice your concerns, ask to be told what work is upcoming that might affect you and let them know what they can do to minimise the impact. I understand its after the fact and its mega inconvenient but guns blazing rarely makes these things easier, in the absence of their courtesy and as a six week building job will inevitably overrun it may be easier for you to play politics here and at least gain some influence.
Just a gentle suggestion, may help to avoid the stress of battle.
I am also trying really hard not to mansplain
Does the development have planning permission? Normally a planning application lasts for 3 years so it might be worth checking (on line) whether consent has been given for the redevelopment of offices into a dwelling. If you have doubts contact planning enforcement.
Otherwise, I hope it isn't too disruptive and the builders are considerate
Thanks for all replies.
Think I come across as more conciliatory in real life!!!
The complicating factor is that the people who are developing the office into a flat next door are the estate agents for my flat, i.e. they are my landlord's agent. I have been trying to track down my landlord to see if he is aware of the development and have made it very clear to the builders that I can't consent to changes they are asking me about such as moving our roof pipes, because I am only the tenant, they will have to revert to their boss and my landlord via their boss as I can't consent!
Unfortunately the landlord's name, address etc is missing from my copy of the rental contract and I've asked neighbours who know of him but as he lives some distance away they are not sure of his name etc so difficult to track him down so far.
Today it has snowed here and they were going to turn our heating off to move all our and their heating pipes but I protested as children unwell etc and they are now going to do it tomorrow, promising hot water and heating will only be off for two hours. I hope so!
Spoke quickly to a housing lawyer who said contact Environmental Health if necessary also re lack of forewarning...
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