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problems with neighbours

(22 Posts)
emjimliv Fri 03-Apr-09 19:33:02

Hello everyone, first post, looking for advice or if someone has had a similar experience, mother and I are at our wits end.

Our dear son is 15 months old and we live in a converted flat at the top of a three storey house.

The problems started about 4 months ago when the neighbours below us started banging on the ceiling. Tomas was just starting to walk at the time and the bangs usually came after a few stumbles.

We tried to dull the noise with duvets and blankets (our flat has laminate flooring throughout).

A fortnight ago our neighbour knocked and said they would get the council involved if the noise didn't stop. We have now received a letter from them saying that the noise is affecting their quality of life. They have to leave to escape it, even staying elsewhere spending money they never planned to.

We have tried everything to keep quiet, we get out of the house most days now, but we feel we shouldn't have to. We have reluctantly limited Tomas' freedom indoors but far from tying him up I don't think anything would please them.

It seems they are now listening out for any little noise and using that as an excuse to leave the flat. Of course there will be the odd accident, our boy is now a lovely, cheeky toddler. It also doesn't help that the flat below them is empty, exaggerating any little noise from us.

We just don't know what to do, we feel really harassed and unable to give our boy a happy home environment that he deserves.

Any advice pls?

cktwo Fri 03-Apr-09 19:36:10

Gosh thats a tough one. You want to help but there's not much you can do hmm

Why don't you speak to the Council yourself and explain the problem. They may be able to offer some help and solutions. I'm guessing this noise from your toddlers toddling is during the day? Your neighbours are being pretty unreasonable. If it was midnight, then theymight have a point. The Council might be able to point that out to them.

busywheels Fri 03-Apr-09 19:59:41

Your local Council has powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deal with noise from statutory nuisance. However, it is unlikely that ordinary living noise would be considered a statutory nuisance, particularly if occuring during reasonable hours. More info on noise nuisance can be found at

Children do make a certain level of noise and your neighbours have to appreciate that in flats it is unreasonable to expect no noise at all. Some Council's even refuse to investigate complaints of noise from children in the first place.

I would ring up the Council and discuss your neighbours concerns and see what view they take.

You mention laminate flooring, which is not ideal. Could you invest in carpeting or perhaps lots of rugs?

Does not sound like relations with the nieghbour are great, but it might be worthwhile trying to talk to them. Even listening to the noise from their flat may help you appreciate whether they have a geniuine problem or are just being picky.

HecAteTheEasterBunny Fri 03-Apr-09 20:06:11

Agree re carpets. laminate is VERY noisy. You'd be surprised what a difference carpets would make.

Like the others say, talk to the council. tell them the noise is your toddler walking around. You are entitled to move about your home! a toddler walking and stumbling is NOT unreasonable at all.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 03-Apr-09 20:12:34

I agree with the carpets. There's things like this you can do to reduce the amount of noise but to be honest with you, legally all you're required to do is what is reasonably practicable. The council accept that some noise is beyond your control, like thin walls for example. Loud noise (drilling/radio) is within your control so comes under noise pollution. You can ask the council to do a noise assessment, it will cover your back and will see if the neighbours are being unreasonable (which IMO, they are).

Busy wheels knows her stuff. I have a law degree and am doing a MSc in Environmental Management (includes noise). Keep copies of everything and contact the council. Apart from the carpets, there's not alot you can do. If you limit your child's movements then he'll end up crying constantly, this is worse then a few bumps on the ceiling. wink

thisisyesterday Fri 03-Apr-09 20:16:49

i def agree re the carpets.
I lived in a flat for a while and our upstairs neighbours had laminate and it was horrendous. we could hear EVERYTHING. not just the click clacking of them walking around all the time.

i'd def second the idea of asking if you could come down and hear what it's like so you can get a better idea if there is anything you can do about it.

we used to be able to hear our neighbours lights being turned on and off, and them having sex. nice.

aaaaaanyway, although a big part of me says you shouldn't have to do anything, after all it's your flat and you're entitled to do with it what you want. having lived beneath noisy nbeighbours I can see it from their POV as well.

I do think they're overreacting a little bit though

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 03-Apr-09 20:19:11

I have noisey neighbours, I can hear them close doors, flush the chain etc. Or rather, they are not noisey, the walls are really thin. Never mind.

tatt Fri 03-Apr-09 20:23:06

have you asked them to let you go in and see what the noise is like? Or suggested that they record it and play it back to you?

I can't imagine that a child falling on the fall could actually make that much noise and I assume they make some noise themselves that would cover it. But I've never lived in a flat below another with laminate flooring and the first thing I would want is to hear the problem for myself. If it isn't that loud you politely tell them that.

If it really is bad you put a rug down. If that doesn't help maybe take advice on whether it is possible to take up the laminate and put down better underlay or if you can afford it carpet the flat instead. If that doesn't work then it is up to them to look into things like suspended ceilings and better sound insulation.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 03-Apr-09 20:25:19

I am wondering what they do when your child cries if they are like this when he falls over.

Sheeta Fri 03-Apr-09 20:29:18

Sorry, but did you put the laminate down?

My sister is in a ground floor flat, and the upstairs flat has just put in laminate.. the noise is ridiculous.

Please just put carpet down, the noise will only get louder as your child gets older.

domesticslattern Fri 03-Apr-09 20:51:15

Put carpet down. It saved my sanity when we managed to persuade our upstairs neighbours to do that. We would even have paid 50%- even 100%- if necessary. It really was destroying my quality of life- now things are bearable.

Incidentally it was in our lease that we could not have laminate or bare boards. Is there anything similar in your lease?

(and sorry, your son is only a lovely cheeky toddler to you!) grin

headinclouds Fri 03-Apr-09 22:14:43

We live in a converted house, above our bedroom is our neighbours open plan living/kitchen, hw floors, it was a nightmare!

anyway, we communicated, she obliged to have her (and friends) remove shoes and keep music/tv down after midnight.

Helped slightly as in barely any and still a nightmare, totally affected our quality of life and was making me and dh snappy as we were so tired.

Rightfully so we couldn't stop our neigbour LIVING (these conversions are a mare) so we spent over £3k and had our ceilings soundproofed, have not looked back!

domesticslattern Fri 03-Apr-09 22:48:19

headinclouds can you tell us more about soundproofing celings and how it works?

Yurtgirl Fri 03-Apr-09 22:51:20

Perhaps you could keep the laminate and put down rugs instead, seems like an easier option to me!

I seem to move quite a lot so whilst carpets are permanent - rugs can be taken with us

headinclouds Sun 05-Apr-09 10:18:13

domesticslattern no problem, we had an independent system fitted, rather than me explain it, here is an email sent to me explaining the system, we had 3 layers put in, but we had a very high ceiling, room was 29sqm so pretty big. DEFINATELY worth doing, we can still here very slightly muffled footsteps but doesn't wake/keep us up, airborn noise has been reduced big time!

email from hein "at no more noise" HTH!

Just an e-mail to explain the difference between the systems. At the moment your current ceiling structure consists of plasterboard, structural joists and the floorboards of your neighbour on top of these joists. This means that when your neighbour walks on the floor there will be a vibration through the whole structure. Our system will be fitted underneath your current ceiling totally independent, were as the other systems you have been quoted for is still in contact with the existing structure.

As I understood your main problem is the impact noise and to combat this we need to install as many resilient layers as possible. With our system we will cancel the direct noise travelling through the existing ceiling to the new system because it is independent. And by adding the 2 other resilient layers (Isonic hangers and resilient bars) this will maximise the impact resistance. There will be basically be 3 resilient layers. The only negative of this system is the amount of space it will take. If you do go for the system we proposed you can rest assure that it is the best ceiling solution at the moment for ceilings. In order to top that we will need to install this system + another resilient layer on top of the neighbour’s floor. We can also install the same system as quoted by the other company. With the other company there will be only 2 resilient layers, the resilient and iso hangers. Please keep in mind that products such as acoustic mineral wool and sound plasterboards, although vital for soundproofing is installed mainly absorption and deflection for airborne noises.

The soundplanc that we use is 19mm thick and Soundblock is 12,5mm thick. We can always install 2 layers or even 3 layers of each as they are basically priced the same, but as previously discussed this will only have added benefit to airborne noise.

trixymalixy Sun 05-Apr-09 10:34:08

Yikes, toddlers and laminate flooring!! Not a good combination.

My upstairs neighbours had laminate flooring and a toddler, thankfully only in their kitchen which was above our bathroom and study, but it was so incredibly noisy even when the little girl was playing really quietly.

I do agree it's not fair to your DS to limit his freedom, but there must be some sort of compromise you could reach.

LIZS Sun 05-Apr-09 10:41:51

If you don't own the flat put some rugs or carpet in the areas he plays and his room - you can get remnants pretty cheaply. If you do and it is a recent conversion then it should have met sound proofing conditions as part of buidling regs. Have you put the laminate in since as that coudl contravene these has it got thick underlay ? You could find yourselves on the receiving end of a council complaint unless you are seen by your neighbours to be trying to minimise it. high ceilings and laminate floor are a recipe for noise being amplified.

AxisofEvil Mon 06-Apr-09 10:46:16

If you own the place you should check the lease - its not uncommon for it to be a requirement to have carpets down for precisely this kind of reason.

Feelingscared Mon 06-Apr-09 11:16:30

Emjimliv - your post could have been written by me !! I have had exactly the same problem (living on the third floor of a small mansion block)and it's incredibly stressful !
I agree with what the others have said - put down carpets if you can, maybe even a rug or something on top of the carpet in the main play area, and that's about all you can do. It's a fact of life that if you live in a flat, there is going to be noise.

In my case, our negihbour started complaining as soon as we moved in - apparently she had a dispute with the previous owner, when he put down a new wooden floor in the hall and living room. We put down carpet and that kept her happy for a while, but then when my DD started walking, it started again - long letters from her about how terrible the noise was. We finally had extensive and expensive work done to put in sound insulation, but even after that she was STILL complaining.

For a while I was really stressed about it, but now I take the view that it is my home and I should not feel like I can't live in it. There is no noise after 8 pm when DD goes to sleep, and every day we are out for at least a few hours.

tatt Mon 06-Apr-09 12:15:03

having heard the racket OH made this morning on the laminate kitchen floor I can now believe living underneath would be a nightmare. We do have thick underlay under the laminate. Get a rug.

chicaN Mon 13-May-13 19:09:11

I had the 3 way system done by No More Noise, it didn't work one bit for impact noise. It cost me thousands and they assured me it would solve the impact noise by 70%-just not true!

Do research online independent organisations that are not selling products and services. The structure of the building, age, whether floorboards or concrete (floorboards more difficult to get rid of impact noise) flanking noise etc make it much more difficult to get rid of impact noise.

Often it is recommended that floating floors placed at source, so where the noise is coming from, is much better than having your ceilings done, but even then you have to consider contra-indications such as the ones I have listed.

Showtime Wed 15-May-13 22:40:23

As the flat underneath neighbours is empty, have either of you considered moving?

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