Obstructive neighbours stopping us from renting flat

by Readers Question

9:28 AM, 5th October 2017
About A year ago

Obstructive neighbours stopping us from renting flat

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Obstructive neighbours stopping us from renting flat

Revisiting the site after a while with an issue that is making the wife and I sick with stress.

We have a flat which we rent. We evicted the last tenant who owed us several thousands in rent and court fees. We still have not been able to get the bond back after the eviction order last November. We have had no rent from the property since April 2016 and have since also spent £20k renovating the flat.

The owners of the flat above changed the locks after our flat was broken into, which we were happy to pay half for. They also put in a security light without asking us and claimed £400 for, which is ludicrously expensive. Our electrician would have done it for £65. They also claimed that they changed the locks again which we were not prepared to pay for.

They have not got proper receipts for any of the work either despite us agreeing on getting quotes before any work is carried out. Whatever work was done, we do not believe the work was carried out professionally by a locksmith. This situation was inflamed by them pulling out of agreed work to be carried out on the exterior of the house for us and a neighbouring property. They did not tell us of this, instead they told the neighbour just before the work was due to start and gave excuses that we were bad landlords, with other reasons just too bizarre to list.

This is despite the wife and I paying thousands for work on the upper exterior of the house around their flat and roof and allowing them to put an exit to the rear of their flat to get access to the rear garden.

So… now that we have the place ready to rent, since the start of August the female who owns the flat upstairs puts on heels and jumps up and down on the floor with the TV on full blast every time someone comes to view the property until they leave. We have lost several prospective tenants to this activity. I was there last time it happened and recorded noise peaking over 100dB. Needless to say, the prospective tenants pulled out again. When outside the property the partner of the flat owner upstairs hurled abuse aimed at myself and my wife while his partner waved and laughed from the upstairs window.

Leading up to all this we have had a tirade of abusive emails which we responded to very professionally. We asked to resolve the situation through a mediation service which they refused. The upstairs owner then, incredibly, accused us of harassment and we had to engage with them through the police from thereon.

We are concerned that if we go legal to stop them ruining all our viewings it could cost a huge amount of money with no guarantee of winning the case. The council will only respond to noise pollution an hour after reported and the police see it as a civil matter so they don’t even have to open the door to them. So far we have got the council to send them a letter to warn them (it’s due to get to them tomorrow).

We also suspect that they have changed the front door lock again which means we cannot get in through the front door. We also have a side entrance (which they often lock from the other side as well).

The wife and I are at our wit’s end and don’t know where to turn next. Apologies for the huge rant, but I’m hoping that somebody out there will have been through similar and be able to offer sage advice.

Many thanks in advance.

Jimbo



Comments

Mandy Thomson

20:11 PM, 5th October 2017
About A year ago

Keep on persisting with environmental health. If you can give them enough evidence, they can prosecute the neighbours for causing a statutory nuisance.
It sounds like you're already gathering evidence, but overdo it rather than underdo it, and obviously don't do anything that violates these people's privacy (however obnoxiously they behave).
I would gather witness statements; for example, could some of the prospective tenants who witnessed the performance give you statements? They have nothing to lose and nothing to gain, so ideal. Also, could you find someone to spend some time staying at flat, who will keep a diary of incidents (be careful you don't choose someone who is likely to wangle a tenancy by the backdoor).
As it's a flat, is there a freeholder or if you're involved in managing the freehold, send a warning as a prelude to proceedings for violation of the lease, the ultimate sanction being forfeiture.
As for the work these characters allegedly had done, if they can't produce receipts and can't prove they acted with your agreement, they will not be able to make a claim against you.
Also, there's a term for locking a legal occupier out of their property without good reason (and you are the occupier until another tenant moves in) - it's called illegal eviction and it's a criminal offence. If they don't give you a new set of keys within a reasonable time, you can prosecute. The freeholder will be liable for the cost of the new lock unless there is proof it was a result of the neighbours' negligence.

Robert Grant

8:34 AM, 6th October 2017
About A year ago

I have had a number of tenants like this or even worse with graffiti left on walls, windows smashed and leaving owing a lot of money. These were in areas of selective licensing where the council knew there were problems and sought to address them. I have also taken over property where it was being used as a drug den. I am happy to deal with these situations often with help from others.
If this is causing you stress and losing you money could you put it in the hands of a suitably experienced letting agent to sort out? Less hassle for you and with their contacts and knowledge they should be able to resolve the issue. Good luck

Peter Dawe

9:23 AM, 6th October 2017
About A year ago

Ask yourself Do i need this stress and hassle, I have been in a similar situation quite a few times over the past Thirty Five years of being a landlord and in my experience it rarely gets better. I have sold problem properties and reinvested elsewhere, this might not be your solution but good luck with whatever you do.

Gareth Archer

10:01 AM, 6th October 2017
About A year ago

I would suggest that your recourse lies under the lease for the flat rather than holding out any hope of a resolution via environmental health. Free feel to email me a copy if you want me to look at it.

Michael Holmes

11:33 AM, 6th October 2017
About A year ago

You might like to send a copy of this correspondence to your local MP while you are at it, every little helps when it comes to informing our so-called reperesentatives what it is like at the coal-face of running a PRS business!

Gary Dully

13:43 PM, 6th October 2017
About A year ago

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get a bit nasty yourself, by the sound of it.

So Arrange another viewing with a friend and make sure that you pull out your smartphone and video them being prat’s.

Let them see you videoing them, if you feel safe.

They will kick off, but tell them to call the police if they are not happy about it.

Then do it all again

Then do it all again.

Then make an appointment with environmental health and Insist that they act to protect you. Show them the video.

Ask the council to put in writing, why they are not prosecuting, because you intend to complain to the local Authority ombudsman if they don’t.

Call the police and say they are disturbing the peace and you suspect child abuse if they have kids, because of the screaming and shouting.

At the same time ask your local paper to do an article on them explaining that they are a local nuisance, it’s rumoured that they beat their kids and sell drugs via facebook and that your local councillors are shite and pay lip service to the rules.

If you have a freeholder, send them a link to the video and ask them to act.

Report them to the DSS fraud line and tell them you suspect benefit fraud, because they are too wealthy.

Tell environmental health that her partner has piddled out of the window when he is drunk and flashed his bits with kids about.

Take your pick, you are dealing with F*uckwits, so treat them like one.

Mandy Thomson

17:43 PM, 6th October 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Dully at 06/10/2017 - 13:43Good advice, Gary, but the poster needs to be careful about what he has published as the neighbours are likely to accuse him of libel. You can say something or even publish accusations or negative statements about people, but if you can't prove these are true you can be prosecuted.

Puzzler

9:01 AM, 7th October 2017
About A year ago

Since you have to tell them that you're recording them for it to be permissible to use in court, I would send them a letter (hand deliver) telling them that activity at your property will be recorded in future as you have received feedback from prospective tenants and you want investigate. You could start on next arrival and leave a digital recorder going at the property to see if the nuisance subsides after the visit is over. I agree with the poster who said to engage a good agent.

Jay James

10:38 AM, 7th October 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Dully at 06/10/2017 - 13:43
Brilliant.

Do it Jimbo.

Don't let anyone think it's you doing it.

Matt

12:07 PM, 7th October 2017
About A year ago

Hi All,

Many thanks for taking the time to respond, really appreciated.

Further info on this is that we both own a share of the freehold on the property, but does this mean that we have a leasehold agreement between the 2 flats?

I have asked the agencies trying to let the flat to keep a diary of events, but it looks like I am going to have to go there myself as well to ensure this is permissable if we go legal.

The authorities won't give us an appointment at the flat as they have to respond to a noise, which is very annoying. I will take the advice to push the issue with them though as they need to protect us.

Keep the advice coming though and I'll let you know of any progress!

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