Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

That Wooden Floor Is a Noise Nightmare

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

That Wooden Floor Is a Noise Nightmare

Article excerpt

Byline: Fiona McNulty

QAS SOON as we moved into our new, recently converted ground-floor flat we knew we had made a mistake. The noise from upstairs is terrible. We can hear them talking, walking, their television and their baby playing with her toys on the wooden flooring.

The freeholder says that the lease for upstairs mentions nothing about floors having to be carpeted and therefore he can't do anything. I have tried speaking to the people above, inviting them down to listen to the noise, which they did, yet they haven't done anything. The noise is endless. What can we do? ABECAUSE the flat is newly converted, it would be worthwhile looking at the planning consent for the conversion to see if soundproofing was a condition of planning. If it was, speak to the freeholder. Even if soundproofing was installed when the flats were constructed, perhaps the specification was not good enough.

Even if there is no covenant regarding carpets there is likely to be a covenant in the lease that lessees do not allow noise between certain hours, or cause nuisance, and you can ask the freeholder to enforce it.

You may also have a private nuisance claim against your neighbour. It is tricky to decide when noise constitutes nuisance and the courts will consider reasonable use. You could ask the local environmental health department to investigate whether the noise is at nuisance levels. If you win a claim for nuisance the court may order the neighbours to stop the nuisance and/or award you damages. Finally, you could consider soundproofing your flat, which may need the freeholder's consent.

WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM? IF YOU have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. …

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