HMO Property & heavy hydraulic-spring fire doors

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    HMO Property & heavy hydraulic-spring fire doors

    I live in a town if Hertfordshire called Stevenage, next door to one of these HMO converted houses. The landlord fitted 5 hydraulic-sprang fire doors to each of 3 bedrooms and 2 on the living room - one fitted at the entrance and one fitted at the other end leading into an extra bedroom that used to be the dining room; and an extra main entry door is fitted where the dining room window used to be and each of them are fitted 1 meter to the party wall that separates us. These properties we are living in are not constructed strong enough to withstand the heavy pounding of those fire doors. The hammering/booming/banging noise these doors creates that's coming through the party wall is horrendous and so intensive that they sometimes vibrate the party wall and my bedroom wall (too) that extends from it, (makes me jump at times) and making my life a misery! Can you imagine...4 young male tenants let loose with all those doors...!? But on the other hand; do they realise the extent of the noise the fire doors is creating? The environment health officer is basing the noises on anti-social behaviour, but I disputed that. It's to do with the fire doors fitted in a (partly prefabricated, ex-council) property that is not suitable for them.

    The government don't seem to care who the landlord and tenants hurt because they didn't consider the neighbours when they created this HMO scheme! These kinds of doors shouldn't be allowed, especially in a house that's not built for that. The government HMO scheme should be extended to stipulate and force the landlord to soundproof their property if they must use the sort of fire doors!

    My local council/environmental health has failed to get the noise stop, even though they have enough (hard) evidence to issue an abatement notice, but just keeps coming up with loads of excuses...while the landlord defies them and the noise continues. But the reason I'm assuming why they're avoiding issuing an abatement notice is; because it would be like the council taking the council to court (and not really the fire-door landlord); because the council is responsible for allowing the landlord to fit those 5 hydraulic-sprang fire doors and an extra main entry (in a property that is not suitable and constructed to accommodate them).

    These noises I've been experiencing since November 2015 is affecting my health and wellbeing, and there's no end to it in sight! Therefore, I feel the council should buy my property from me to house their own tenants, since they failed to get noise to stop. Maybe they would sort it if it's there tenants living here!
    Last edited by Homie; 12-04-2016, 13:32 PM. Reason: Option for the council since they failed to get noise stop.

    I expect it's not that the council allowed the landlord to install them. I think they probably forced him to. (They aren't cheap.) I think that's why you're having such difficulty with the council.

    Sorry, that's not a lot of help. Wait for some others to chip in.


      The council will have made the landlord fit the doors like stated above. its part of the regulations for the fire doors / fire escape route.

      There isnt really much that can be done to the doors i dont think. the closers have to be there and cant be removed.

      Have you spoke to the landlord to try and work things out between yourselves amicably rather than just getting the council/environmental health etc envolved? This will just get the landlords back up and possibly create extra trouble that isnt needed.

      Im a landlord and would much prefer a neighbour to contact me directly FIRST to see if there is anything we could sort out between us.

      Your case is a difficult one because there isnt really a quick fix to the problem.

      Possibly some form of sound insulation on your party wall to combat sound and vibration, however to do it properly isnt cheap?


        On the 3rd day of the tenants moving in after I experienced the noise, I went round and spoke to his son, as he lives there too. I told him about the noise and asked if they'd installed cupboards on the party wall because there are a heavy banging I'm experiencing in my house. He replied no, it must be the fire doors. So said; fire doors? Then he explained...and demonstrated the closure of one door... And then I said; that it! Then went on and said; there's nothing they can do about it. But in fact, there was something they could have done... So, I complained to the EH dept...

        The landlord has been defiant to the EHO since that 1st week in December 2015 to date. They moved in with an attitude...and there was no way they were prepared to give. I was told that he was even going to tear down part of the fencing to make extra parking space for his tenants until he found out the fence belong to me and not him. Needless I say anymore...! I may be taking legal action if the EH dept. fails.


          i know its frustrating, however there really isnt anything they can do with the actual fire doors or closers. they are a required item to meet regulations. the landlord wouldnt have installed these by choice - they are expensive to buy and install.


            I wonder if the closers can be adjusted so they don't slam? See here:


              He was told to do just that by the EHO in 1st week in December 2015, but when he failed to do so; he was told again 7 April 2016, but still seemed to be in defiance. I think it's because he knows he has the HMO and the council on his side he's not compelled to adjust closers. And, I believe if it was a non-HMO property, the EH dept. would have acted already and issued an abatement notice. But yet again; these properties are partly prefabricated - not constructed soundly, so the littlest noise is heard in my house from both sides of me. I can even hear the sound from the microwave oven being used from the neighbour's house next side of me - that's shows how badly non-sound proofing these properties are.


                Could you get friendly with tenants, and ask if you can come over some time to do it yourself?

                I know it's not ideal, but might be the best solution.


                  No no no.................!!! Not a good idea, especially as I believe they're doing it deliberately. It was already been suggested...; and another neighbour that knows him said he was going to have a word with him and asked him to adjust closers. And you guessed it... What's also p***ing me off is that I've been living here for 30 years where they've only just moved in last November/December and are pushing me out and the environmental health don't seem to be doing **** about it!!!

                  Since my problem, I've been online to see if others are experiencing similar problems. And I can't believe how many...all over the country! The victims are forced to move and the offenders get to stay because the environmental health is powerless, so failing the victims! And with this HMO scheme, it's like the modern council tenants, as the council have to rely on the investors and landlords to house people because they haven't got the properties to house them. So this is why the investors and landlords will always get the backing and support of the government, local councils and their environmental health dept.


                    Just in case you do end up selling.

                    Be very very wary of raising any disputes that would have to be declared to a buyer.

                    If you do have to declare something it will obviously affect saleability/price, and if you don't declare something you should you are liable to get your aas sued.

                    I know it's horrible, but it's the same for multiple thousands of downstairs flat livers.


                      So I'll have to wait until the dispute have been settled by the environmental health department then? This is if they are to settle it the way things are going with them at present... I had to report the officer as she making the investigation too personal...and finding excuses not to issue an abatement notice to the landlord. It's as though she knows the landlord because she's being biased. Or, it could be that council doesn't want to pay out any money to take the landlord to court. The latter seemed more likely, though. I've already been told by the environmental health officer that my health and wellbeing doesn't matter as a private owner, it's the tenants safety (in the case of fire) matters.


                        The council, and eventually, the Local Government Ombudsman failed to deal with fire doors noise situation. Read all that has gone on - flawed investigation, maladministration and corruption.


                          Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                          I wonder if the closers can be adjusted so they don't slam? See here:

                          Although this thread is very old, and I don't think the OP has a leg to stand on, these closers generally do need to slam. What even the cheapest compliant ones do is to have two different ranges, with different levels of damping. The door will close relatively slowly for most of the way, then speed up. It needs to have enough momentum to always operate the latch, even if there is a wind against it, or there is a partial vacuum, because all the internal doors and windows are closed.

                          It also has to have a certain minimum spring strength, increasing with the mass (weight to you) of the door.

                          What some people try and do is to use unsuitable closers, with no damping at all, which, if the spring is strong enough (they must latch the door, even if released from almost closed) can slam very hard. Some of these are also too easy for tenants to disable, which they will do to avoid the slamming, even though that is interfering with fire safety devices, and a criminal offence. However the headline mentions oil damping.

                          When used for a door that is not latching and not a fire door, it is possible to adjust them so that they slow down, rather than speed up, just before they close. That would be illegal in this case.

                          I think the only way of reducing the slamming would be to use a dictator type closer However, these are a lot more expensive than the ~£23 for a compliant overhead spring closer, would also require a spring closer to get them to the point of engagement, may not be so familiar to second fix carpenters as conventional closers, and as a relatively non-standard solution to a fire safety problem, should not be used without professional advice on their suitability. I suspect there are also increased maintenance costs for this solution.

                          Personally, I would be more worried that the poor noise isolation might also indicate poor fire isolation.


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