Noisy Neighbours

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Sunday 8 February 2009 11.47am
Hi everyone, I would appreciate advice on (the old chestnut of) noisy neighbours, or in this case their kids. They live on the third floor and I live (underneath them) on the ground floor.

They have two toddlers who are up day and night and who constantly Throw, drop and bang (with several objects) on to a laminate floor ( having a laminate floor is against our leases). This week for example I had to go and knock on their door at 3.20am, and yesterday the noise started just after 7-am and continued (on and off) for 18-hours.

I have spoken to our managing agents (Jan'08) and they did send a letter to the family involved. For a brief period there was an improvement. Since then things have got worse.

Our managing agents seem to be reluctant to enforce the parts of the lease (we all have a share of the freehold) that deals with noise nuisances and the fact that each flat should only have carpets on the floors). I have also spoken to Southwark Council Noise Team who when I mentioned kids said there was nothing they could do.

Help, I am at the stressed out stage, Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks, Alex.
Sunday 8 February 2009 12.11pm
I can understand how stressful it must be.

I think the only option open is to get the clause in the lease regarding laminate flooring to be enforced; perhaps get solicitors to write a letter to your managing agent? As a parent of an 18 month year old, the last thing we want to is for them to wake at 2, 3, 4, 5am but it does happen and unfortunately for us and our neighbours there's not a whole lot we can do to change it.
Sunday 8 February 2009 12.45pm
You can't stop them from waking, of course, but surely you can stop them from banging objects on hard floors?
Sunday 8 February 2009 12.51pm
If there is a covenant in your lease for laminated flooring then your management company cannot ignore it. They must take your complaint seriously and, where necessary, enforce the lease. Rugs usually solve this problem.

Get some free professional advice from these folks.

I don't work for them etc.
Sunday 8 February 2009 6.56pm
Laphroaig wrote:
surely you can stop them from banging objects on hard floors?

Would love to know how!
Sunday 8 February 2009 7.29pm
Get a thick rug or blanket to put under him or her? Give him or her something soft to bang instead of something hard?
Sunday 8 February 2009 7.49pm
I've already covered the flooring issue. Re your second suggestion, it's not quite that straightforward.
Sunday 8 February 2009 8.03pm
You mean you can't rationalize with the kid?!
Sunday 8 February 2009 8.10pm
Tolstoy wrote:
You mean you can't rationalize with the kid?!

I tried, I tried. His sole vocab of 'dah!' (repeat x 15) didn't accommodate my discourse on behavioural niceties and the importance of neighbourliness. I'm not giving up though!
Sunday 8 February 2009 8.57pm
I wound up having to take legal action against the freeholder. Not recommended as very expensive. But a formal letter to them confirming that there is a nuisance, giving days and times, and pointing out that there appears to be a breach of the lease might be a good starting point. You might request that they get access to the flat above so that a noise expert employed by you is able to take measurements. Explain the problems the noise is causing you. And that whilst you understand that the noise is within the normal domestic noise of a family with toddlers (which is why the Council cannot act) the floor covering is insufficient to prevent nuisance as described ion the lease. (It will be in there somewhere - if you are lucky there may be clear descriptions of what covering or insulation is required.)

Writing this however will mean that there is a "dispute" which you would have to declare if you wante to sell, so you might want to consider. A complaint to the Council may already have caused you to have a dispute you have to declare but this would probably be harder for a vendor to find out about.

If the lease is not strong you might be able to get other leaseholders to push for a clearer lease. It is a problemk that affects everyone other than those on the top floor.

I dont know whether if the freeholder failed to ensure that you had access to have the floor tested, you could legitametly withhold service charges on the basis that hyou flat was uninhabitable. At the very least it is somthing you could imply you were looking into.

I only solved the problem when the people upstairs wanted to move. I managed to torpedo two sales until the agent I think told them that this had to be solved. The floors got covered but we only managed to get the lease updated with clear definitions of noise transmission when buying the freehold. The whole process from the wooden floors going down to clear lease took about eight years. Trouble is that it only got sorted this summer - so I missed the market and still have capital tied up in the flat.

Other than that if you have reasonably high ceilings you could think ablut putting in a false ceiling, but it would be of limited help as your problem will probably be impact, rather than airbourne noise.

It was an awful experience.
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