The neighbours above our flat are very noisy. What should we do?
This article was first published by City AM, Friday 15 November 2019.
Noisy neighbours are a common complaint amongst owners of flats.
There are a few ways in which to approach this, and several issues for you to consider. First of all, check the terms of your lease. Better still, also check the terms of your neighbour’s lease, which you can download from the Land Registry for a nominal fee. Generally, the leases within a block of flats should be on similar terms.
Your lease is likely to include several provisions relating to noise and nuisance (a combination of some or all) which you can ask your landlord to investigate. If the terms of the lease(s) are being breached then subject to you meeting your landlord’s costs, your landlord can generally, at your request, take action against your neighbour.
Your lease may also be drafted on the basis that you can take action directly against your neighbour for the breaches of the lease rather than involving your landlord.
The lease terms to look out for are:
- provisions relating to flooring i.e. whether the flat upstairs should be carpeted (or not) and if there should be some soundproofing or sound deadening materials. You can request your landlord to inspect the property and check if the flooring meets the requirements set out in the lease;
- an obligation from the landlord to allow you to live in your property peacefully and quietly. You should write to the landlord setting out the reasons why you are unable to do so;
- an obligation upon the neighbour relating to use of the property or allowing noise to emanate from the flat which causes a nuisance to other owners or occupiers such as yourself, or restrictions on playing music that can be heard from the flat outside certain hours. Make a note of the issues and timings and any evidence to support the same; and
- if the noise is considerable, you could also consider complaining to your local council to monitor the noise levels and if the council decides there is a statutory nuisance, it can make an order for your neighbour to stop making the noise nuisance.
Notwithstanding the above and before taking any formal action, there is merit in simply talking to your neighbour to try and resolve the issue between yourselves.
If a dispute is not resolved or allowed to escalate, it could affect the marketability of both properties in the future.