Noisy landlady at night keeps teacher awake?

by Readers Question

14:15 PM, 11th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Noisy landlady at night keeps teacher awake?

Make Text Bigger
Noisy landlady at night keeps teacher awake?

My daughter rents a room in a 2 bed flat in Hove, the other room is the landlady’s room. My daughter is a teacher and although fun loving does like some sleep ideally between 11:30pm & 6:30am at least Sunday-Thursday!

Her landlady has on more than 20 occasions brought a man back, been very noisy, loud music playing, etc and ignored my daughter’s requests for consideration. She has tried talking to her landlady, clearly my daughter will be room hunting again very soon, but has to give one month’s notice and in the meantime needs some sleep.

Any suggestions or advice please – can she deduct any rent as she is having to stay at quieter friends when she has an extra busy workload.

Charlotte Noisy



Comments

Neil Patterson

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

Dear Charlotte,

What kind of contract does your daughter have and what terms are they with the landlady?

Jay James

11:59 AM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

I am not an expert.

The type of contract / agreement in existence will affect how the situation can be handled, including the question of witholding rent.

If the contract (be it verbal or written) does not mention what is to be done in respect of a noisey landlord, then it seems there is little your daughter can do.
Bear in mind this is a resident landlord living in their own home and so there is much less legal protection for the lodger (if indeed no tenancy has been created).

Based on the incomplete information we have, it would seem your daughter has no legal right to withold rent.

Interestingly and by chance, I happen to be sitting with an old friend in a library as I read this thread. He could reasonably be described as an intelligent, knowledgable and experienced tenant, as well as a vociferous exponent of tenant's rights. However, both immediately he read the header post and after some consideration, he said 'there's little they can do, just move on and put it down to experience, we all make choices that seem okay at first but then turn out otherwise'.

Charlotte McDuff

12:04 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "11/01/2015 - 14:18":

AST with no specifics about night time noise!

Jay James

12:07 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Noisey = noisy

Charlotte McDuff

12:08 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

That is what I thought but wanted a wider opinion, thank you

Ian Narbeth

12:24 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

@Jay James "If the contract (be it verbal or written) does not mention what is to be done in respect of a noisey landlord, then it seems there is little your daughter can do."

Sorry, this is nonsense. Tenancies rarely if ever will mention the landlord not creating a noise. If there is a lease then it will contain or there will be implied a covenant for quiet enjoyment. "Quiet enjoyment" does not simply mean not making a noise - it means not doing anything that is inconsistent with the relationship of landlord and tenant, If you rent someone a room to sleep in you cannot act in such a way as to deprive them of reasonable sleep. Even if there is a licence or lodging arrangement, a similar covenant can readily be implied. The owner cannot take payment for something and then act in a manner wholly at odds with the fundamental terms of the agreement.

Your daughter should put her complaints in writing and she should record times and dates and types of noise and send a copy to the landlady. She should demand compensation for each instance of disturbed sleep of say £40 -£50 and say that she proposes to set that off against the rent. The landlady may not want a chronicle of her amorous exploits and associated noises put before a judge or arbitrator. I would be tempted to withhold rent on the basis that it will be put aside and that your daughter will pay what the court/deposit scheme arbitrator decides is fair and I would make it clear that if the damages exceed the withheld rent, your daughter reserves the right to claim for it. She should offer, without prejudice, to move out early on the basis of not paying for the last month and getting back her full deposit.

She should also check (she can do this without involving the landlord) that any deposit has been correctly protected and Prescribed Information given.
.

Charlotte McDuff

12:38 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "12/01/2015 - 12:24":

Thank you - very helpful

Mandy Thomson

12:54 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "12/01/2015 - 12:24":

@Ian absolutely spot on!

However, what tends to be the case with lodger agreements is they are often very informal, and often verbal, so when there is a dispute (which is almost inevitable with two independent adults sharing living space) it is very hard for either party to prove what was agreed, or even if a contract exists in the first place - especially if rent is paid cash in hand. Lodger landlords often just see themselves as doing a friend or acquintance a favour by letting them stay with them for a while - which is fine, except they're usually charging a lot more than just expenses for the privilege..

In this instance, I would follow Ian's advice and ensure everything is documented and then serve written notice on the "landlady" - either terminating the agreement after a week - or the absolute maximum amount of time the lodger can tolerate, then move out OR claim a reimbursment from the rent. However, if the lodger landlord is aware of tenant history databases, she might decide to download the lodger's name as being in rent arrears, which could make it difficult for her to find other places to rent in future.

The lodger's other option is to take the landlord to court (small claims court MCOL) for a partial refund of the rent she's paid, and as Ian says, if it the case is heard it might be a bit embarrassing for the landlord to have her love life aired before several people...

I also wonder if this lady (the landlord or "landlady") has informed her local council tax department, and other parties (i.e. her mortgage provider or landlord, insurance, benefits etc) that she has a working professional as a lodger who is paying her rent?

Paul Franklin

12:55 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

As the landlord lives with your daughter in the same flat, she won't have the same rights as tenants who rent a property as a whole. Therefore I would think carefully before kicking up too much of a fuss if she hasn't got anywhere to go yet.

If the landlord wants your daughter out she would only have to give her 'reasonable' notice, normally understood to be one rent period - e.g. 1 week if she pays rent weekly - it doesn't even have to be in a particular form. After that date, your daughter must go, there's no requirement for the landlord to get a court order for example.

Therefore, I'd make the priority finding somewhere else to go before kicking up a fuss about noise or witholding rent.

There isn't a legal basis for witholding rent here, but if you did, is the landlord going to persue the rent arrears if there'yre only small? Maybe not? Would you have a counter claim for breach of quiet enjoyment? Maybe.

The deposit could be another issue as Ian points out which could change the options available for your daughter - was one paid and was registered with a deposit protection scheme?

Charlotte McDuff

13:01 PM, 12th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "12/01/2015 - 12:54":

Good points - my daughter does have an AST and rent is paid by transfer - thank you

1 2 3

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

BTL property pick

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More