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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10539
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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There is lack of proper insulation or soundproofing in the

Customer Question

There is lack of proper insulation or soundproofing in the flooring between my flat and the upstairs neighbour's flat and as a result I can hear all of their conversations and every footstep sounds like an elephant, making my front windows rattle and my furniture shake. This would be acceptable if this wasn't going on between 1am and 3am and then again at 6am to 7:30 am. The landlord of the upstairs flat refuses to do anything as he says when he bought the property the inspection was fine, and there IS carpeting, but I am positive it is carpeting over floorboards (as that is the case in my flat too). There are also 4 people in the flat making the traffic heavier (their lease is for 2 tenants only, but the landlord is taking their word over mine, despite their admission to me there is 4 tenants).
My landlord won't do anything, the upstairs landlord won't do anything and short of moving out, I don't know what else to do. I love my flat, I can't afford to move. What can I do? Please help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

1. In carrying out this noise between 1am and 3 am and again between 6am and 7.30am, the tenants upstairs and their landlord are liable to you in private nuisance and also for breach of the Noise Directive. Essentially, the people upstairs should not by use of their flat diminish your enjoyment of your property under the law of private nuisance. By creating excessive noise at inconsiderate times of the night and early morning, they are creating a nuisance which is actionable at law. You can take out an injunction to stop them or claim damages for the noise caused. Your cause of action is principally against the tenants upstairs but the landlord also bears a liability to you if the tenants cannot pay.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

2. Secondly, it is a breach of the Noise Directive if the noise upstairs exceeds 45decibels in your bedroom for a single sound or 30 decibels for continuous noise during hours that you would sleep. These are the recommended noise allowances laid down by the World Health Organisation. Whilst the Noise Directive doesn't specifically state noise parameters, these are the criteria which health professionals recommend. So you can make a complaint to the local Council which can call upon the landlord and the tenants to make changes to improve the situation, such as soundproofing the floor upstairs. So you should get in a noise measurement expert to measure the noise levels in the early nighttime and the early morning.

Expert:  Buachaill replied 1 year ago.

3. Ultimately, you should see a solicitor and get him to formally write to the tenants and landlord and threaten injunction proceedings. However, he should also make a complaint to your local authority about the noise. Ultimately, you can take out an injunction to prevent the current situation continuing. However, this is best dealt with as soon as possible before it adversely affects your health.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply, but I am not sure if what you have written is going to help me.1. The neighbours are not creating excessive noise on purpose, but are simply walking on the floor and talking. It is the lack of soundproofing in the floor that is causing the excessive noise, which I would assume is the responsibility of the landlord, not the tenants?
2. I have made a complaint to the local council, but they have informed me that I must call when the noise is being made and they will come listen to it. I have had encounters with calling the council for noise issues and I have had to wait an hour for them to call back and then another hour for them to show up. By then the noise will have stopped. Also, it is very difficult to measure decibels of people walking on the floor. It is definitely above 45 decibels as I am sleeping in very good earplugs AND headphones playing white noise and music at full volume and I can still hear them stamping, but I am unsure as how to catch it. Do you have any suggestions of apps I could use to record the volume?3. I have read the the noise occurring is "normal living noise", which is not something my local authority considers worthy of looking into. The fact that this "normal living noise" is happening in the middle of the night does not seem to make a difference. Is there someone else I can call?4. How much will it cost me to get a lawyer to write a letter?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have spoken to Environmental health, a noise specialist and the upstairs tenants. I am resolving the issue by paying to put soundproofing under the carpet.
Thanks for your help, but I'm afraid I cannot use your advice.