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Please, please, PLEASE help me with my upstairs neighbours and their builders. the builders are brutes, they spit on our stairs, flick fag ash everywhere, the whole hallway is a PIT and they utterly, utterly REFUSE to close the door of the flat upstairs while they are working so the noise and dust is INTOLERABLE. i am at my wits' end. is there anything i can do to just make them close the door?

(184 Posts)
Aitch Mon 18-Aug-08 20:39:43

we've spoken to our neighbours about it (as have the people upstairs to them) and the builder has basically said that if they 'pander' to us then they won't finish the job on time. PANDER?! they are revolting, disgusting, the scum of the earth, i hate them. but our neighbours can't control them, no-one can...

and of course the noise and dust are bad, really bad, but somehow it would be easier to bear if they weren't being such utter cunts at the same time.

the work, by the way, is pulling down pretty much every internal wall of a massive victorian flat, moving kitchens, bathrooms, wetrooms etc. it's a massive job and we're the ones suffering the most because it's happening above us. (in fact, they've cracked our ceilings and WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH OUR INSURANCE cos they're refusing liability. we have photos, though).

we hear the noise above us and then a couple of milliseconds later we hear it amplified back through the hallway, like a big acoustic guitar. it's torture.

we can't live like this, it's impossible, me and dh both work from home and can't make a phone call during the day and dd is shaking every time the drilling starts. we've had to put her into nursery more so it's costing us money for them to do their work, never mind lost earnings.

i phoned the council and they've yet to phone me back... it's been a few days. does anyone have any experience of this? are there people i should be speaking to? please help, i'm going a bit mad with this. it's been three weeks and it's going to be at least another five, apparently. <weeps and tears hair out>

FrannyandZooey Mon 18-Aug-08 20:42:52

Aitch I have no idea but I am so so sorry for you
noise and upset where you live is completely intolerable
I hope someone can advise you on what to do

expatinscotland Mon 18-Aug-08 20:44:29

can you see a solicitor?

a radical step but some legal advice might be handy.

it might get their attention if they think they are going to have to somehow pay for your losses.

nancy75 Mon 18-Aug-08 20:44:54

i dont know if you could maybe try the building control people- i suppose through the council. if they are doing that much work it should probably be checked by building regs anyway?
try to get the name of their insurance company if you can, if it comes to it and your insurance has to pay you i think your insurance company would sue theirs? this really should be covered by your neighbours insurance if not by the builders

Aitch Mon 18-Aug-08 20:45:19

and you also know why this is SO BAD, frank. sad it's impacting on my health. and my pedantry. i just said IMPACTING! <wails>

CaptainFabioHiltsTheCoolerCat Mon 18-Aug-08 20:47:29

omg that's fking horrendous
I wish I had some advice.
Have you got a video camera - can you use that for evidence?
I would go nuts.
I would be forced to slash tyres and go to jail for some peace.

Who owns the freehold - can they help?

onepieceoflollipop Mon 18-Aug-08 20:51:03

Aitch this is awful for you all. I had a similar situation (although much less extreme) a few years ago.

Ring the council again in the morning. Keep ringing them and ask to speak to someone re environmental health noise pollution. (sorry that wording is rubbish but you get the general gist of it)

Would you be able to go to the council in person?

Also as expat says perhaps legal advice. If they are smoking indoors and it is not their property that is also against the law now afaik.

Feel really angry on your behalf. I would imagine you feel incredibly frustrated and powerless.

expatinscotland Mon 18-Aug-08 20:51:11

I think videoing is a great idea.

It's possible you can follow the noise pollution policy if your council has one, and they may be able to fine the neighbours.

I know it's not their fault, but it sort of is if because they have hired these people and allowed them into the flat.

At any rate, there will be legal issues regarding that crack and their denial of liability. Your insurance will get onto theirs for certain.

PootyApplewater Mon 18-Aug-08 20:51:58

put your complaints in writing to the neighbours and the builders.
would a professional body be able to help?
I think the council are the way to go - get everyone one to phone the council twice a day, and make some noise - don't let them get away with not getting back to you.
your poor dd. sad

brimfull Mon 18-Aug-08 20:52:59

check out the party wall act,it may be relevant here and you can get free advice from a surveyor

expatinscotland Mon 18-Aug-08 20:53:40

onepiece brings up something valuable as well.

scotland's smoking ban is even more extreme than england's.

a stair is a public area.

the flat is their workplace and is enclosed.

it's entirely possible they are violating the smoking ban.

expatinscotland Mon 18-Aug-08 20:55:19

everytime we've had to work with Edinburgh Council for noise complaints, we've had to keep a log - times and dates the noise starts.

catalogue noise violations and smoking ban violations.

tissy Mon 18-Aug-08 20:57:35

ring the building inspector at the council, they have to make sure that any building work does not impact upon the structural integrity of neighbouring properties. The owners should have obtained planning permission for work on that scale, and if not, the building inspector will be VERY interested!

Aitch Mon 18-Aug-08 20:57:54

wrt the videoing, i know this is a bit pussyish but they are kinda scary. like... and i know this makes me sound like a twelve-year-old but if we see the young boys (morons to a man) on the street they give us 'evils'. LOLOLOL <high-pitched>
we have a couple of bits and bobs of what it's like in our house, though. and the DUST. when i blow my nose all this black stuff comes out. if i wanted that i'd live in London ffs. poor dd is complaining of a sore throat all the time.
i'm deffo getting onto the council tomorrow, but i'm informed that it takes about three weeks for them to come out, if that was the case it'd be nearly over in any case.
i can't believe our neighbours are such WIMPS. they're so nice, but they just keep saying 'all we can do is ask them to keep the door closed'. i asked them to put a soft door closer on so at least the door would be closed by default iykwim but they won't.

farrowandball Mon 18-Aug-08 20:59:03

1. get/borrow a video camera to get evidence.
2. enagage a solicitor
3. get your solicitor to write to the neighbours explaining that you have video evidence of their bad behaviour and that unless, effectively immediately, the problems are not resolved you will be contacting enviromental health (re noise and smoking) and alerting building regs about their practise.

Aitch Mon 18-Aug-08 20:59:21

they have all the warrants etc, that's all fine. in fact, that's why it took them so long to get the work done in the first place. it was the knocking down of the walls that caused our ceilings to crack.

onepieceoflollipop Mon 18-Aug-08 21:01:34

When we had (less extreme) difficulties, I was living in a mid terraced property (2 up 2 down style)

The man next door spent many months renovating the entire house, constant banging on party walls etc etc. This included Christmas Day (after I had worked night shift Christmas Eve) as he didn't celebrate Christmas himself.

I got a visit from the council, they gave me some contact numbers, including out of hours numbers. One Sunday evening a very nice chap came out with his NoiseOmeter to record the excessive banging.

During daytime hours the noise you are experiencing may (or may not) be deemed acceptable. Certainly lots of the other issues are NOT.

nancy75 Mon 18-Aug-08 21:02:26

tbh it sounds like your neighbours dont really care, i know this is harsh but the builders are working for them, they do have some say in whats going on. if the builders ahve really said they wont finish the job on time on purpose then the neighbours are well within their rights to tell them they wont get paid on time! infact most builders have a price per job rather than per day on a job of this size, so if it takes longer it cuts in to their profit, sounds like abit of a crap excuse to me.

iheartdusty Mon 18-Aug-08 21:04:07

who owns the freehold of the building?

if you own a long lease, there is every chance that your leases all say something like 'the tenant must not create a nuisance to other tenants'

and it may also say something like ' the freehold/landlord will enforce these covenants for the benefit of a tenant against another tenant'

in which case your landlord MUST do something about it.

even if your freehold is now owned by a tenants' company, there will still be leases.

get your lease out and check it!

berolina Mon 18-Aug-08 21:04:26

oh aitch. wish I had advice but all I have is sympathy from a fellow flat dweller. We have had builder-related shite too but Germany is much better in this respect.

Poor you and poor dd. I would really get legal advice, I think, and a sol's letter out to them quickly.

Aitch Mon 18-Aug-08 21:06:41

well yes, our other neighbour (top flat) told him pretty much 'well that's your lookout on the time frame, you still have to get them to close the door' when he said that. our upstairs neighbour is a wimp, deffo, the builder is riding roughshod over him.

i sympathise, in a way, in that i know from experience that it's difficult to control builders, but at least we TRIED and were SEEN TO BE TRYING. notices on doors saying 'please close this door', visiting twice a day, tolerating no discussion about how the builders had rights over communal areas etc. but our upstairs neighbour is just being told what to do...

Aitch Mon 18-Aug-08 21:09:46

we don't have freehold in this country, we all own our own properties. (although we own the ground floor hallway, the one that the dirty fuckers ash their fags on and are messing up).

when we did our work me and dh made our builder keep the door closed and hoovered and mopped the hallway every friday. i can't believe that our upstairs lot think we should be cleaning up after their builders.

and lolololol at the noiseOmeter. wink thing is, it's intermittent now, how long do you think the council guy would hang around for?

CaptainFabioHiltsTheCoolerCat Mon 18-Aug-08 21:09:53

You just need to video in your flat, to show the impact of the work.

How do the nightmare builders affect the postman, refuse collectors, milkman? Can they help you at all, in gathering evidence?

I'm now sounding like a policecat. I'm not one. Probably.


I think you should visit the dr with your dd, and for yourselves in order to prove that the builders are causing more grief than is neccesary.

Your neighbours don't give a fuck. You might want to point out to them that you will be affording them similar levels of consideration when they sell/rent/move back in. THey are being fuckers.

Aitch Mon 18-Aug-08 21:11:47

hmmm, i could ask the postie. but all this gathering evidence stuff, surely nothing will happen quickly? i just want someone from the council to say 'CLOSE THE FUCKING DOOR if you're not needing it open'. they're doing it on purpose to piss us off.

expatinscotland Mon 18-Aug-08 21:12:55

it may help to have a log, anyhow, for your insurer and their legal counsel.

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