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  • FIRST POST
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 11th Feb 18, 11:21 AM
    • 79Posts
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    Jimmy_Boy
    Noisy Neighbour - Not sure of next steps
    • #1
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:21 AM
    Noisy Neighbour - Not sure of next steps 11th Feb 18 at 11:21 AM
    Hi,

    Im not sure if this is the right section of MSE to post this, or even the correct forum. If any suggestions of a more appropriate forum then I'm happy to post there instead.

    TL : DR - Issue with my upstairs neighbours spanning 3+ years. My main issue is impact noise (heavy walking) throughout the night. I have exhausted all options with the council to resolve the issue, and now don't know what to do.

    This is a long story that has spanned approximately 3+ years now, so i'll try to condense it as much as possible highlighting the key points.

    I have lived in my downstairs flat for 20 years now. In that timeframe I have had approx 5 different upstairs neighbours and never had an issue... until the current tenants moved in 3 - 4 years ago.

    From my research, there are two distinct types of noise classification - Airbound sounds, and impact sound. Air bound sounds = Music, Speaking/Shouting etc..., Impact sounds = footfall, foot steps, dropped objects etc....

    Im suffering with both types of sound, but the sounds that really bother / disturb me are the impact noises - primarily heavy walking. The tenants have no carpet upstairs, just the floorboard the property was built with. The main issue is that the woman upstairs is regularly active throughout the night, she is a heavy walker meaning I hear a lot of impact sounds making it difficult / impossible to get to sleep. I have had many discussions with them politely about the disturbance they are causing me. The annoying thing is, they are always polite (ish) and say the right thing such as 'we need to get this sorted', however the words do not turn into actions, and the problem persists. After about 12 months I offered to buy them carpet, underlay and to have it fitted at my own expense in order to try and resolve the issue, but got the reply 'Were not making any noise, and we don't want carpet'

    After the above failed I gave it a few more months and nothing improved so reported it to my council. Was sent a log to keep. Logged events, returned, and then got a response saying it was 'just living noise'. Even though there were LOTS of events recorded at 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am etc...

    I made a montage of sounds I hear recorded on my iPad, primarily of the louder sounds. The issue is, the footfall is what really bothers me, and by its random nature (i.e., you never know when its going to happen) it makes it difficult to get the iPad, open the app, and hit record while the sound is active, also what is recorded does not represent what is actually heard - explained more near the bottom.

    Here's the video of a selection of sounds recorded over a short period of time. I believe a lot of the sounds recorded are dogs and cats jumping/landing and running.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyuE5y35NKM

    About another year went by with no improvement, and I reported it again stating that I was very disappointed with the first response from the councils 'its just living noise' and pointed out that no one has taken any time to look into this issue and see / hear me personally. I also pointed out how this is having a serious negative effect on my health / mental health, and also, how I feel the majority of the issue would be resolved if carpet was fitted upstairs.

    I then had a visit from my 'Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer' and she liaised with the upstairs neighbours and agreed the main problem is the lack of carpet upstairs but stated that the council 'cant force them to have carpet'. She said she would see what she could do and would get back to me. She got back to me saying she had got some rugs for upstairs and the tenants had agreed to have them fitted so this would hopefully go some way to solving the problem. This was the first bit of positive news in this whole ordeal so my spirits where lifted a little. I then got a call about 1 week later from the Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer saying that she had just been to the tenants upstairs to deliver the rugs, but on arrival the tenants refused her access and said they changed their minds and don't want the rugs anymore.

    After this, it was decided to put sound recording equipment into my property. Upstairs where advised noise recording equipment was being installed, and typically it was much quieter than usual, ultimately resulting in the council saying there is not sufficient evidence to take any further action. When the sound recording equipment is installed you are instructed of how you press a button to record sounds, and it will capture 5-10 seconds of sound before you press the button. For my particular issue, I don't feel this method for recording is suitable. I am at work for 10 - 12 hours per day, and then in order for me to capture these sounds I am reporting that happen throughout the night, I have to then stay up throughout the night to press the button when a sound happens. Not only this, but you then have to write down the time, noise, duration etc... when am I meant to sleep ? This might work if you have a noisy neighbour blasting out loud music for a period of time, but for my particular complaint, it just adds more inconvenience to me.

    During this whole ordeal I have tried various different types of ear-buds to try and block out the noise, but none of these have worked for me - I still hear the noise. I have spent about a month away from home staying at friends and neighbours just to try and get some sleep. I have also spent about a week sleeping in my works van (in the front seats - back loaded with equipment) just to get some sleep - all while paying rent I might add. I have been to the doctors who signed me off work for 2 weeks (lost pay), and he also prescribed me anti-depressants. Trying to hold down my job through all of this has been tough, and to be honest I'm not sure how I have managed to do so. I am constantly depressed, on-edge, short of patience and in a generally bad mood.

    About 1 year ago I discovered wearing over-ear headphones and playing white noise at a reasonable volume blocks out the noise. So for the last 1+ year this is what I have been doing to get to sleep. However this is now giving me sore ears, and also affecting my hearing, also a sore neck as not being able to lye comfortably due to the bulk of the headphones.


    What Now ?

    One option is for me to move property and believe me I have thought very long and hard about this, but there are some things stopping me from going this route. 1 - I have spent a lot of money renovating my property and I was happy here before the current tenants where moved in above. 2 - I have purchased my property under the 'Right To Buy' scheme, and I cannot sell the property for at least 5 years, if I do, I would have to pay back a significant amount of money, probably £40,000 +

    In my tenancy agreement there are the following stipulations :

    • You are not permitted to have pets without prior written permission from the Council. The Council can withdraw permission at any time.

    • You must not do anything, or permit to be done any annoyance to the other tenants of the Building. Noise, including the use of radio or television must not be audible outside the premises between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

    • You must keep the flat carpeted except the kitchen and bathroom which must be covered with a suiutable material to avoid the transmission of noise.

    I had previously stated to the Neighbourhood Enforcement Office that I believed there was a general consensus that between the hours of 11pm and 7am it is reasonable to expect a quiet home environment, as pointed out above. The response I got from her was 'Thats a myth'.

    I also raised the fact that I thought we where obliged to carpet the property, also as stated above, the reply from her was 'We can't force them to have carpet'.

    It is also stated above about no pets, yet my neighbours have 2 dogs and 5 cats, they did have 13 cats at one point! I got no response to that question.

    So, why do I have to adhere to these regulations, but my neighbours do not?

    Its now been about 8 months since the sound recording equipment was installed and the issue is still present. I contacted the council again informing them that the issue is still ongoing and I feel my only option now is to soundproof the inside of my property in an attempt to resolve the ongoing problem, and asked if there are any other avenues to explore before I do this.

    The reply I got from her comprised of 2 parts
    1. I would need to apply for permission to carry out the work and fill out a 'application for house alterations form' which may be declined.
    2. To use an app called 'The Noise App' to record the noises once again. However, if the results of using the 'The Noise App' where not sufficient, then the council would close the case and no further action would be taken on the matter.

    I found the first point very disappointing. I will potentially be declined permission to soundproof and I also can't move as explained above.

    I then decided to give 'The Noise App' (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-noise-app/id926445612?mt=8) a try to see how it works. I was not too hopeful as the app has a very low rating from users saying it records a lot of static noise, and doesn't record quiet sounds. I was also disappointed to see that you still have to press a button to record sound, as explained I find this method not very suitable to my particular issue.

    I recently discovered that I can recreate the kind of impact sounds that are disturbing me from upstairs by banging a wall that separates my living room from the kitchen - it makes a loud thud / boom sound / vibration. The other walls in my property do not make this sound - don't know why ? With this in mind, I used The Noise App while banging the wall to see how the app worked and in turn what it recorded. It recorded nothing!

    With the above in mind, I used an SPL meter app and done the same (using Z weighting), this recorded SPL levels approaching 70db. I made a short comparison video showing that while the SPL levels are approaching 70db, The Noise App records nothing.

    Heres the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUBE8XW-stA

    When viewing the above video you need to consider that when present in the room, there is a deep thud / boom in the room that is clearly audible / felt. However The Noise App records nothing, nor does the phone recording the video. It demonstrates that these impact sounds are not adequately recorded when recorded purely as a waveform - the SPL needs to be factored in too.

    Its obvious to me that The Noise App is not suitable for my situation, and it also makes me question what was recorded when the sound equipment was first installed, and also what are the council using to determine a noise as being a disturbance / nuisance ? If they are simply listening to a recorded waveform and subjectively determining if it is disturbing, then as demonstrated this methodology is not sufficient as it does not represent the boom sounds that are heard and picked up by an SPL meter measuring up to 70db.

    Im just not sure what to do now. Im considering visiting the CAB for advice, but after that I'm not sure.

    Any advice welcomed.
Page 1
    • AylesburyDuck
    • By AylesburyDuck 11th Feb 18, 11:45 AM
    • 737 Posts
    • 1,700 Thanks
    AylesburyDuck
    • #2
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:45 AM
    • #2
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:45 AM
    My advice,
    Less is more when it comes to forums (not all cases, but OMG definately this), remove irrelevant waffle and more people may read it.
    ,
    Fully paid up member of the ignore button club.
    If it walks like a Duck, quacks like a Duck, it's a Duck.
    • Grumpelstiltskin
    • By Grumpelstiltskin 11th Feb 18, 11:46 AM
    • 2,212 Posts
    • 2,267 Thanks
    Grumpelstiltskin
    • #3
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:46 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:46 AM
    Repost here http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=16

    but cut your post size down or you won't get replies
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 11th Feb 18, 11:48 AM
    • 79 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Jimmy_Boy
    • #4
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:48 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:48 AM
    That why I put a TL : DR.

    I wanted to put in information about what steps have been taken, to avoid subsequent posts such as 'Have you tried ...'

    Thanks for the positive feedback.
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 11th Feb 18, 11:52 AM
    • 4,894 Posts
    • 7,846 Thanks
    Gavin83
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:52 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:52 AM
    Do you use anything in your bedroom to drown out the noise? If not Id suggest running a fan with a decent sound output (not a small one or something like the Dyson one) as while it wont stop the noice this might be enough to allow you to sleep.
    • AylesburyDuck
    • By AylesburyDuck 11th Feb 18, 11:55 AM
    • 737 Posts
    • 1,700 Thanks
    AylesburyDuck
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:55 AM
    • #6
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:55 AM
    That why I put a TL : DR.

    I wanted to put in information about what steps have been taken, to avoid subsequent posts such as 'Have you tried ...'

    Thanks for the positive feedback.
    Originally posted by Jimmy_Boy
    Way, way, too much..... its a fine balance between giving ALL the information in one post but perhaps putting the people who can help you off reading......"have you tried" will come whether you want them or not, you cant shape other peoples posts into exactly what you want, forums have a mind of their own.
    ,
    Fully paid up member of the ignore button club.
    If it walks like a Duck, quacks like a Duck, it's a Duck.
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 11th Feb 18, 11:55 AM
    • 79 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Jimmy_Boy
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:55 AM
    • #7
    • 11th Feb 18, 11:55 AM
    I have tried sleeping in the front room with the TV on at a reasonable volume to drown out the sounds, but I still hear it. Have tried sleeping in my bedroom with the bathroom fan on (which is next to my bedroom) but still hear it.
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 11th Feb 18, 12:17 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Jimmy_Boy
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 18, 12:17 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Feb 18, 12:17 PM
    Way, way, too much..... its a fine balance between giving ALL the information in one post but perhaps putting the people who can help you off reading......"have you tried" will come whether you want them or not, you cant shape other peoples posts into exactly what you want, forums have a mind of their own.
    Originally posted by AylesburyDuck
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=73864407#post73864407

    Any better ?
    • dekaspace
    • By dekaspace 11th Feb 18, 2:07 PM
    • 3,933 Posts
    • 3,385 Thanks
    dekaspace
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 18, 2:07 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Feb 18, 2:07 PM
    Im having similar issues here, in mine the neighbour put in laminate and has 2 kids running about, and regularly has friends round so at times over 10 kids running about then loud foreign men who like their drink and to be rowdy, was bad enough before but as of now its been 13 days straight of noise including a party till 5am last week each time she makes excuses like shes a single mum (but in past told me shes married) told me the babysitters half deaf therefore walks heavier and shouts, claimed its the neighbours above her or that its "everyday noise"

    Everyday noise doesn't make things fall out of the cupboard!

    Local council despite laminate being banned in social housing only offered mediation, the neighbour told me if it went to that she would send round her "friend" who just happens to be 6 foot 5 bodybuilding European man who loves to drink!

    And she claimed shes been "babysitting" a newborn puppy since Christmas Eve, what a coincidence.

    Just sympathy for you, some peopel take advantage.
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 11th Feb 18, 2:18 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Jimmy_Boy
    Just sympathy for you, some peopel take advantage.
    Originally posted by dekaspace
    Sympathy for you too.

    Also, you start to doubt yourself, are you being unreasonable? You can get the impression that you are making a mountain out of a molehill. The psychological affect this can have on you, can be hard to convey.

    All I want, as I'm sure you do too, is to come him and be able to relax. I don't think its too much to ask.
    • marcus ohreallius
    • By marcus ohreallius 11th Feb 18, 4:07 PM
    • 120 Posts
    • 246 Thanks
    marcus ohreallius
    Sounds like they're doing DIY up there!! Are the tenants renting from a housing association?
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 11th Feb 18, 5:50 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Jimmy_Boy
    Their on benefits. Tenants with Cornwal Council. Same as myself.
    • pearl123
    • By pearl123 11th Feb 18, 7:43 PM
    • 1,323 Posts
    • 1,993 Thanks
    pearl123
    My advice,
    Less is more when it comes to forums (not all cases, but OMG definately this), remove irrelevant waffle and more people may read it.
    Originally posted by AylesburyDuck
    OP I feel sorry for your situation. You've either got to move or wait it out until they move. I agree with other posters that being more concise might get more replies.
    • marcus ohreallius
    • By marcus ohreallius 12th Feb 18, 4:54 PM
    • 120 Posts
    • 246 Thanks
    marcus ohreallius
    Their on benefits. Tenants with Cornwal Council. Same as myself.
    Originally posted by Jimmy_Boy
    Sound does travel in weird ways sometimes. We're on the top floor and I swear it sounds like someone's rolling a ball around up on the roof sometimes!

    If your upstairs neighbours are nocturnal and they are hammering etc at silly o clock at night, they need to put a stop to it. Sadly you do get some misfits living in flats
    • dekaspace
    • By dekaspace 12th Feb 18, 5:07 PM
    • 3,933 Posts
    • 3,385 Thanks
    dekaspace
    Really fed up with the noise now, 14 days as of now and got a cheeky note through my door earlier stating they are having a party tonight AS IS THEIR RIGHT TO DO.

    Keeping their note as evidence but in retaliation have played heavy clubbing music at half my max volume full bass for 15 minutes lets see how she likes it, if she complains I will tell her I am having a party, AS IS MY RIGHT TO DO.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 12th Feb 18, 8:03 PM
    • 7,949 Posts
    • 27,720 Thanks
    Primrose
    If you feel the Council are not taking your complaints seriously and you're at your wits end with this, have you thought of writing to your MP? They are often pretty good at liaising with local councils and the fact that you've had to resort to your MP for help may force them to take your complaint more seriously.


    However, if you go this route, I would write him/her a brief cover letter explaining you are desperate for the Council to step in and resolve this issue, and attach a sheet with actions you have taken listed in bullet points. This will make it easier for your MP to absorb than a long essay and make it easier to refer the issue to the council.


    Good luck! You have my sympathy. Inconsiderate tenants are a nightmare.
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 12th Feb 18, 8:46 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Jimmy_Boy
    Someone else mentioned to me about a Councillor / MP, but I have no idea of the protocol. ie do I contact Councillor first, then MP, vice versa, only one. I dont even know what Councillor I would contact and where I get their details, same applies for my MP. (feels dumb! lol)
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 12th Feb 18, 8:53 PM
    • 1,265 Posts
    • 1,550 Thanks
    NeilCr
    Personally, I would go with the councillor first. They may be easier to get in contact with and will be able to put pressure on locally, quicker. They will maybe know the right officer to go to.

    For my council, anyway, there is a list of councillors on their website

    To find your MP

    http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
    Last edited by NeilCr; 12-02-2018 at 9:41 PM.
    • Jimmy_Boy
    • By Jimmy_Boy 12th Feb 18, 9:37 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Jimmy_Boy
    Should I go this route first, or should I visit the CAB first and seek advice from them?
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 12th Feb 18, 10:19 PM
    • 1,265 Posts
    • 1,550 Thanks
    NeilCr
    Should I go this route first, or should I visit the CAB first and seek advice from them?
    Originally posted by Jimmy_Boy
    To be honest with the length of your OP and two threads running I am struggling a bit to keep up with it all.

    If you came into my CAB, after all you have been through with the council, I suspect we would suggest you contact your councillor. However, it may well help you to sit down with someone face to face and go through it all. Forums like this can be extremely helpful but, sometimes a two way discussion helps to clarify.

    They will, also, likely have a reasonable knowledge of the workings of your council.
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