Noise in shared house

by Readers Question

22:44 PM, 16th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Noise in shared house

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Noise in shared house

I live in house that I share with three other tenants. We all have locks on our bedroom doors. Noise in shared house

The problem is that the bedroom upstairs is causing me problems with sleep at night. The floorboards have had ply-board laid on top but the constant creaking is unbearable.

The landlord has been made aware of the problem but nothing has been done.

Is there anyone I can go to and have them inform the landlord this needs attention or does he have the right to do nothing!

Thanks

Des Kemp

 



Comments

Mark Alexander

22:51 PM, 16th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Des

You have the right to peaceful enjoyment, do you know who your landlord is?

If not it will cost you £3 to find out and write to him/her about the problem - see >>> https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry

If you don't get any joy there are two alternatives:-

Option 1) Report the matter to Environmental Health - problem is the landlord might evict you for causing trouble. Sadly, some landlords are too cash strapped to fix little problems and go off on one and make stupid decisions when tenants complain. Some are just not good people and shouldn't be landlords. Very few are so short sighted as to keep losing good tenants though so hopefully it will not come to that.

Option 2) Buy some ear plugs.
.

Gary Nock

7:09 AM, 17th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Des if there is other noise in addition to the creaking floorboards then I would raise it with the tenant above and if no joy then Environmental Health. But -and this is probably not what you want to hear- if it's just creaking floorboards then I think you will just have to put up with it. The landlord is hardly likely to rip up the floor including joists ( as they creak as well) and put a new one down.

Alan Loughlin

11:02 AM, 17th February 2015
About 4 years ago

might just need the boards screwing down instead of nails, i have successfully done this.

Mandy Thomson

12:02 PM, 17th February 2015
About 4 years ago

This is pretty subjective - floorboards do tend to creak, especially in older houses - my first question is how much is your neighbour/housemate moving around on them at night? Is it more than most people would agree was reasonable? For example, is it more than just someone lightly walking over the floor 2 or 3 times a night?

My second question is if that person is making a lot of noise at night, have you tried having a word with them about it? I expect my tenants to try to resolve issues with their neighbours first, before they come to me about it. However, whether it's just the floorboards OR your housemate's lifestyle, would you be able or willing to swap rooms with them (assuming the rooms are similar size and rent etc)? If your landlord lives in, this may simply be a matter of moving your belongings, but if it's a live out landlord (therefore ASTs), he would have to draw up new ASTs for you both. If this is purely down to your housemate's lifestyle, and they're refusing to do anything about it, your landlord really needs to think about serving notice on them.

I've had issues with neighbours in the past, so I know how distressing this can be, however, in these cases, the first step is to have a friendly word with the neighbour first, before taking it further.

John Walker

17:30 PM, 17th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Des,
First try to ascertain if the plywood overboarding is fixed with nails. If so it should be a fairly simple matter to screw through the ply sheets into the boards ,presuming there are no fitted carpets or other floor coverings. Check that it is the ply causing the problem before carrying out the above, as it may be necessary to screw down some of the boards as well.

Rob Crawford

13:59 PM, 18th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Walker" at "17/02/2015 - 17:30":

Exactly my thoughts John. Des, this is some thing you could propose to the landlord to try as a cheap potential solution. Most landlords would welcome a good idea. If it's not welcomed then may be you need to start looking for other accommodation.

Recardo Knights

14:11 PM, 18th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Des, As Mark says you have a right to peaceful enjoyment, I always thought this meant the landlord was not visiting every week or two. He did miss out option 3 and 4 get a night job or move out.

If the boards above are creaking not much point in asking the tenant above to stop moving about, or offering to swap rooms, will he want the squeaking boards over his head at night?

Sounds like the landlord has taken the advice or tried to rectify the problem by laying ply over the boards. It makes no difference as moving boards will squeak/ creak when they move even if something is laid over them. Screwing down the ply on loose floorboards will make no difference.

Alan has it right so tell the landlord the ply has to be taken up, all boards lifted and re-laid, and screwed down at 1mm gaps. No rubbing, no movement and no noise. the ply can then be re-laid as extra insulation. Insulation laid between the joist before the boards are replaced will also help to sound proof your room from above in regards to loud TV, radio, or parties.

If it is a good landlord the work will be done to keep a good tenant, if you leave the new tenant unless deaf will also complain and leave.

Mandy Thomson

14:46 PM, 18th February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Recardo Knights" at "18/02/2015 - 14:11":

Hi Recardo,

When I lived in a flat in a converted Victorian house for 10 years, I always heard my neighbour walking about overhead, although it normally didn't bother me. However, if my neighbour had been a party girl or inconsiderate, then yes, it would have been an issue. I'm also aware that even her "normal" movements might have still bothered a lot of people.

Des has not said whether his housemate is very active at night or not, and if the housemate is, he doesn't say whether he's tried addressing this with the housemate. Having a whole floor taken up seems excessive if the issue is simply someone who, for whatever reason, is awake and active a lot at night.

Mandy Thomson

15:16 PM, 18th February 2015
About 4 years ago

This ruling by the House of Lords in October 1999 on Southwark LBC v Mills (House of Lords) may be of relevance: http://www.propertylawuk.net/printable.neighbouringnoises.html

The ruling was that "A landlord is not liable to a tenant who is disturbed by the ordinary and reasonable activities of a neighbouring tenant because of inadequate sound insulation between the properties."

However, in situations where someone is causing excessive noise (e.g. late night parties, loud music etc) then enviromental health might act against the perpetrator, but evidence is needed (diary entries, records of conversations etc) and the landlord should also warn the tenant to stop and if necessary end the tenancy; again the landlord will need evidence if s.8 ground 14 notice is used to evict.

Steve Hards

12:11 PM, 21st February 2015
About 4 years ago

As a landlord I've been on the other side of a very similar problem. It was a house built about 15 years ago and the builder had created the floor with flooring chipboard nailed directly onto the joists. Over the years the boards have warped slightly and the edges rubbed together in places making a loud and unpleasant squeaking and creaking when walked upon, even under the carpeting.

It doesn't seem to have been a problem for most tenants of the room underneath as they had never mentioned it, but a new tenant moved in and found it difficult to sleep because the tenant above worked evenings and came in during the early mornings.

The solution I tried, which helped but didn't eliminate it entirely, was to screw down the boards around where they moved and squeaked. Screwing fat screws between the joints to force them apart a bit helped too. Taking up the boards and relaying them would have a been better long-term solution.

However, it took some organising and I could only do it when I was ready to get the room re-carpeted AND when the tenant was away on holiday. I had to ask him to pack up all his loose belongings, clothes and the contents of drawers before going on holiday so that I could remove them with the furniture. The carpet had to be taken up and disposed of, the boards screwed down, a new carpet fitted and the furniture and belongings returned. So, it is not an easy job in a tenanted property and needs a lot of co-operation from the tenant with the squeaky floor.

If there is one particularly squeaky patch, one thing to consider before all of that is whether the furniture can be rearranged so that it is covered by the bed and not, therefore walked on. Unfortunately in this case, it was mostly in the area where you walk in.


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