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    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 10th May 18, 6:53 AM
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    sjb123
    Flat upstairs has laminate floor - against lease and noisy - what action to take?
    • #1
    • 10th May 18, 6:53 AM
    Flat upstairs has laminate floor - against lease and noisy - what action to take? 10th May 18 at 6:53 AM
    Hi all,

    My wife and I bought our flat last year and, although we like it, the noise from the flat upstairs is starting to stress me out.

    They were fairly noisy when we first moved in so I spoke to them and they turned down their TV/music at night but we can still hear noise, although these days it is much more everyday noise.

    I know they have laminate floor from seeing it and hearing every footstep or every time something is dropped. This continual noise is gradually becoming more and more irritating, although it really gets annoying when either of us are stressed and cant really have proper silence in our own home.

    Laminate flooring is clearly prohibited by the terms of the lease agreement (cant add photo as I am a new user) - a copy of which is posted on the noticeboard in the communal hallway for all to see.

    Now, my concern is what action to take. I have spoken anonymously to the management company by phone, who advised me that they can oblige my neighbour to put carpet down, however it would likely be obvious it is from me as the flat above is on the top floor and their only other neighbours are separated from the m by the communal hallway.

    On the flipside, if I go up and ask them to change their flooring back to carpet, I dont think that will fly - I cant imagine many people agreeing to that from a polite request from a neighbour. And it will obviously be from me if a request then later comes from the management company.

    I have been suggested to ask them whether they would consider putting rugs down but I am not convinced this would make enough of a difference and dont really want to ask someone to do something only for that change to have very little effect.

    The final point is that the owner upstairs (it is him plus a long term lodger) is the only stable neighbour as all other properties around are rented out. I imagine just about any of the stronger courses of action, which would be best for us, may well !!!! him off and sour relations between us.

    Any thoughts on best course of action would be welcome!!

    Cheers
    Last edited by sjb123; 10-05-2018 at 7:00 AM. Reason: Tried to add photo
Page 1
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 10th May 18, 8:06 AM
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    Tom99
    • #2
    • 10th May 18, 8:06 AM
    • #2
    • 10th May 18, 8:06 AM
    You need to contact the freeholder/ManCo and ask them to enforce the lease clause.
    If you delay its possible you may be accused of 'accepting' the noise as 'normal'.
    • macman
    • By macman 10th May 18, 9:34 AM
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    macman
    • #3
    • 10th May 18, 9:34 AM
    • #3
    • 10th May 18, 9:34 AM
    Talk to the neighbour, point out the noise issue and that laminate flooring is a breach of the lease. Confirm same in writing. Give them say a month to comply. Then make a formal complaint to the management co. asking them to enforce the lease..
    That way they will have had the opportunity to comply, and can't complain should you have to involve the mgt co.
    If you think this will sour relations, then you may be right, but the alternative is to live with the noise.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • da_rule
    • By da_rule 10th May 18, 10:24 AM
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    da_rule
    • #4
    • 10th May 18, 10:24 AM
    • #4
    • 10th May 18, 10:24 AM
    As has been said, speak to the freeholder. But also check your own lease, some contain mutual enforceability covenants. These allow you to either compel the freeholder to act or in some cases, take action against another leaseholder yourself.

    You!!!8217;ll also need to check your neighbours lease as well to ensure that they are actually in breach of it. The leases may not be identical so they may not have a clause in theirs regarding floor coverings etc.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 10th May 18, 10:50 AM
    • 1,126 Posts
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    rtho782
    • #5
    • 10th May 18, 10:50 AM
    • #5
    • 10th May 18, 10:50 AM
    If you want "silence" then perhaps you need to live in a detached house...

    Obviously you will end up having to declare this dispute when you sell, and they are going to hate you once you cause them to have to spend thousands on carpet.

    If I were them I would put down the thinnest carpet possible and then make as much noise as possible going forward...
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    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 10th May 18, 10:54 AM
    • 1,373 Posts
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    m0bov
    • #6
    • 10th May 18, 10:54 AM
    • #6
    • 10th May 18, 10:54 AM
    Best to just go and knock on their door and explain the problem, see how it goes. They might just put a rug down.
    • dunroving
    • By dunroving 10th May 18, 11:10 AM
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    dunroving
    • #7
    • 10th May 18, 11:10 AM
    • #7
    • 10th May 18, 11:10 AM
    Best to just go and knock on their door and explain the problem, see how it goes. They might just put a rug down.
    Originally posted by m0bov
    ... or you could buy them a nice pair of soft slippers ...
    (Nearly) dunroving
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 10th May 18, 11:49 AM
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    m0bov
    • #8
    • 10th May 18, 11:49 AM
    • #8
    • 10th May 18, 11:49 AM
    ... or you could buy them a nice pair of soft slippers ...
    Originally posted by dunroving
    You could suggest that, you all have to live together. See how it goes, if they don't want to work with you, then go to the management company/legal route. Do you have legal cover with your insurance?
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 10th May 18, 12:08 PM
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    eddddy
    • #9
    • 10th May 18, 12:08 PM
    • #9
    • 10th May 18, 12:08 PM
    Do you have legal cover with your insurance?
    Originally posted by m0bov
    Getting lawyers involved should really be the very, very last resort.

    Having to disclose to any future buyer "I had to instruct a solicitor because of the noise from my upstairs neighbours" could seriously alarm buyers, and make the flat virtually unsaleable.

    Ideally, this should be resolved by informal discussion, rather than any kind of formal dispute.
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 10th May 18, 5:45 PM
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    m0bov
    Ideally, this should be resolved by informal discussion, rather than any kind of formal dispute.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    Which is exactly what I said!
    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 10th May 18, 7:04 PM
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    sjb123
    You need to contact the freeholder/ManCo and ask them to enforce the lease clause.
    If you delay its possible you may be accused of 'accepting' the noise as 'normal'.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    Thanks for this response. As for your answer, I don't know about being told I've put up with the noise for a while so "it is fine" since the leasehold agreement clearly states that anything other than a carpet is "not an acoustic equivalent".

    As such, I'm pretty sure he's put down the laminate floor without permission (never a good look) and I can't see the management company defending his decision to break the agreement they have set because we have put up with it for a while.

    Cheers
    Last edited by sjb123; 10-05-2018 at 7:06 PM.
    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 10th May 18, 7:07 PM
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    sjb123
    Talk to the neighbour, point out the noise issue and that laminate flooring is a breach of the lease. Confirm same in writing. Give them say a month to comply. Then make a formal complaint to the management co. asking them to enforce the lease..
    That way they will have had the opportunity to comply, and can't complain should you have to involve the mgt co.
    If you think this will sour relations, then you may be right, but the alternative is to live with the noise.
    Originally posted by macman
    Yes, this seems a fair way to go. Thank you for the advice. Will have a word soon. Cheers
    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 10th May 18, 7:10 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    sjb123
    As has been said, speak to the freeholder. But also check your own lease, some contain mutual enforceability covenants. These allow you to either compel the freeholder to act or in some cases, take action against another leaseholder yourself.

    You!!!8217;ll also need to check your neighbours lease as well to ensure that they are actually in breach of it. The leases may not be identical so they may not have a clause in theirs regarding floor coverings etc.
    Originally posted by da_rule
    Hi, thanks for this.

    I don't think they would be exempt since they are a top floor flat. I could understand a ground floor flat having exemptions to flooring but the leasehold agreement is actually pinned up in the hallway with specific mention of the floors needing to be carpeted.

    I might try calling the management company about this and see if they can check it.

    Cheers
    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 10th May 18, 7:13 PM
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    sjb123
    If you want "silence" then perhaps you need to live in a detached house...

    Obviously you will end up having to declare this dispute when you sell, and they are going to hate you once you cause them to have to spend thousands on carpet.

    If I were them I would put down the thinnest carpet possible and then make as much noise as possible going forward...
    Originally posted by rtho782

    Hi,

    Interesting points. I can see you've come at it from the worst case scenario, which is kind of how I've been thinking. I'm not sure any thin carpet could be worse than laminate. They could be b@$tards about it but I'm hoping it won't come to that.

    On what grounds would I have to declare the dispute when selling?

    Cheers
    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 10th May 18, 7:16 PM
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    sjb123
    ... or you could buy them a nice pair of soft slippers ...
    Originally posted by dunroving

    Yes, that might be the best option. I am still tempted to just report it anonymously since the guy on the phone said it could be done so they wouldn't know, but I'm not so sure that will be a mystery for long... We shall see

    Thanks
    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 10th May 18, 7:27 PM
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    sjb123
    Ok, how about the idea that they politely offer to put down a rug and it ends up doing sweet FA for the noise? I would still need to get the management company involved, despite the neighbor being helpful...
    • csgohan4
    • By csgohan4 10th May 18, 7:43 PM
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    csgohan4
    sell the flat and move to a detached house
    "It is prudent when shopping for something important, not to limit yourself to Pound land/Estate Agents"
    • sjb123
    • By sjb123 13th May 18, 5:16 PM
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    sjb123
    sell the flat and move to a detached house
    Originally posted by csgohan4
    Can't afford one. Thanks for the suggestion
    • InterestedParty2018
    • By InterestedParty2018 14th May 18, 11:36 AM
    • 119 Posts
    • 65 Thanks
    InterestedParty2018
    It is my opinion that there is no way that this can really be addressed anonymously.

    If you go down the formal route of your Freeholder/Managing Agent, then you would need to disclose this when/if selling. Also, when they (upstairs) are approached by the Freeholder or MA, they are surely going to know it is you that has brought this issue to their attention. Passing each other in the hallway could be rather awkward if you both know, but wont talk about it.

    My suggestion is (as you did before), is have a chat with them. Explain that the noise has become less tolerable over the last few months, and you know they dont have carpet, which is required by the lease, would they please consider putting it in place, or similar "noise deadening" options, ie a large rug in main traffic areas.

    - They may not be truly aware that their lease insists are carpeting. (Many owners obviously ignore this clause, but so many do not actually read all of the lease either!)
    - This polite intervention may be sufficient for them to take appropriate action. If they are the top floor flat, they are unlikely to suffer with much noise disturbance, so may be oblivious to the noise transmission throughout the building.
    - If they are nasty, they may lay the cheapest of cheap carpet which will do nothing to stop the noise, but does fulfil their lease obligation. (In my opinion, correctly installed quality wooden floors can often be more superior - noise wise - than cheap carpet with thin underlay which is laid over raw floor boards!)

    If all communication fails, and you have no intention of selling for the foreseeable, then push the Freeholder to enforce the covenant which is being breached by the flat owner upstairs...
    It may be a long journey though, and as mentioned above, there are short cuts which may not reap the results you are hoping to achieve.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 14th May 18, 1:51 PM
    • 1,126 Posts
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    rtho782
    Hi,

    Interesting points. I can see you've come at it from the worst case scenario, which is kind of how I've been thinking. I'm not sure any thin carpet could be worse than laminate. They could be b@$tards about it but I'm hoping it won't come to that.

    On what grounds would I have to declare the dispute when selling?

    Cheers
    Originally posted by sjb123
    https://www.reallymoving.com/blog/may-2016/neighbourly-disputes-what-you-need-to-tell-buyer

    If you want to sell you will have to fill out a SPIF and you can be held liable for anything you put in it. What you are suggesting will be a documented complaint about a neighbour, and as you've said they are going to know it was you....

    You are hoping they won't be "b****ds" about it but they will probably think the person causing them to have to spend thousands on carpet and rip up all their laminate is being a "b****d" to them, and may well respond in kind...
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