Noise and drug dealing from flat above – Can I sue?

by Readers Question

10:31 AM, 4th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Noise and drug dealing from flat above – Can I sue?

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Noise and drug dealing from flat above – Can I sue?

I own the ground floor flat in a block of 3 and my tenant is leaving next week at the end of his 6 month AST. Although he indicated to me that he loved the place and would stay, he was unable to stay due to the noise in the above flat. legal remedy

I sorted this problem out with the above flat’s landlords as it was a HMO, the police and environmental health were involved too. After all the problems with this including eggs thrown at the window of my flat and verbal abuse to our tenant and his wife,who left him to live elsewhere as the pressure became to much, it was no wonder that he didn’t want to stay. One of the people upstairs was a drugs dealer and subsequently deported back to his own country.

It is leasehold but the leaseholder doesn’t do anything – we pay for maintenance and upkeep of the property, split 3 ways between us. Insurance is separately sorted by each flat.

The question I have is do I have any come back from the Landlord of the above flat as it is due to him that I have lost my ‘long term tenants’ and now the flats are looked at as not a nice place to live, therefore it may be a while before we have any more tenants, so we will be financially out of pocket. We may even have to sell the flat so may loose out on the selling price too.

Can I sue or take him to the small claims court for loss of earnings or capital?

Maggie



Comments

Robert Mellors

13:32 PM, 4th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Maggie

I'm not sure that you can say it is the fault of the landlord of the flat above, it is not him that is committing the offences or causing a nuisance, and if you have ever tried getting rid of problem tenants then I am sure that you will realise that it takes a very long time to do it, because the law does not give landlords an effective means of evicting problem tenants quickly. Thus, the landlord could have been trying to evict these tenants for many many months already, but the law protects bad tenants from eviction (not forever, but it can certainly drag on for 6+ months in some places.

In my opinion, if the landlord has been informed of the problems (in writing, with evidence), and had not taken any action at all, then you may have a case against the landlord of the flat above, but if they have taken action but it is just taking a very long time due to the legal process they have to follow, then I don't think you would have a case against the landlord.

It does perhaps also beg the question as to what the police have been doing, as they DO have the right and the power to take immediate action where a crime is being committed, so if you and your tenants have been reporting the criminal activity to the police, and they have failed to take action, then perhaps you could sue them instead?

The other issue you would face is proving the financial amount of your loss, and proving the causation of any loss (e.g. perhaps prices of the flats are falling for other reasons).

That's probably not what you wanted to hear, but I don't think it would be easy for you to successfully sue the landlord of the flat above.

Mike

16:57 PM, 4th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Complaints rising out of HMO's should be reported to the local council who may take action against anti-social occupiers. They will force the landlord to deal with rowdy tenants, and serve them notice to leave if they continued with anti-social behaviour. hence the reason why HMOs are licensed.


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