Aggressive Landlord / leaking macerator pipe - neighbouring property

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    Aggressive Landlord / leaking macerator pipe - neighbouring property

    Hi,

    The landlord of the flat above ours fitted a shower room, without planning permission or permission from the Freeholders, that connects a macerating toilet to the sink and shower, and then that single small pipe runs through our own flat's kitchen, bedroom and bathroom ceilings, and finally out onto the back wall, into the soil pipe.

    His previous tenants never used the back bathroom/showeroom, as when they flushed the macerator, it backed sewage up into the shower tray, and blocked regularly. So for 6 years none of our flat's tenants ever had a problem with the noise or leaks.

    He now has new tenants, and has fitted a replacement noisy macerator motor. The pipe outside that connects to the main waste is leaking, a lot, down the wall and into the back garden outside our own flat/tenant's bedroom window. The macerator sound runs for up to 6 minutes at a time, and disturbs our tenant.

    We have pointed out the leak, asked for the new motor to have insulated - all falling on deaf ears. Instead, he has accused us of major works to the garden, (? we've done none?), and said his old tenants were harrassed by us into not using their (broken) showerroom - we have emails from them both saying we never harrased them and were on good terms. We hear from neighbours that also have adjoining properties he has leaked into, that lies and false accusations are par for the course with him, alas.

    The Freeholders knew he had gone ahead with this terrible bathroom apparently, and after threatening letters from him years, they finally backed down and let him keep the new bathroom/granted consent. But we're the first owners to have to deal with it in constant operation, as his old tenants never used it. We bought 2.5 years ago.

    Questions are, as we see it:
    - even if the Freeholders/Directors granted consent for the back bathroom, can we report it to the local council, as we know no planning consent was asked for, and there may be ventilation issues... and would the council bother looking into it if it has been there nearly 10 years (though only NOW being used, so only now a nuisance/effluence leak)

    - is he in breach of lease for a) noise and b) knowingly allowing effluence to run down an exterior wall (and possibly c. false accusations/nuisance)?

    - if he is, what can we do about it? Do we need to lawyer up? (we don't have much money)

    He is claiming that as his leaking pipe (that he put in) is external, it's not his problem anymore but the freeholders/managing company's problem to fix. They are all reluctant to help out, as he's so litigious and aggressive - we 're currently on our own with this guy.

    Any help or thoughts greatly appreciated!






    #2
    I think I'd be ringing environmental health at the council.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

    Comment


      #3
      Agree that environmental health are the best option.

      This sounds like it was internal work, which doesn't need planning consent. However it definitely needs building control approval. Unfortunately the enforcement time limit is two years. It might still be possible to get it flagged as unauthorised work, which may cause the owner problems when they try to sell on. This assumes they did do the installation under the radar.

      For the noise you would have to prove a statutory nuisance, which again means environmental health. The lease may mention annoyance, but this is very difficult to use in practice.

      For false allegations, are you rich and famous enough to start a court case for slander?

      Does your lease actually require the freeholder to enforce covenants in other leases? Many don't.

      If not, does your lease make covenants directly between leaseholders?

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for this. Hm... The lease is pretty vague, and seems to be a pretty generic mansion block lease. However we've got hold of an old tribunal about the back bathroom and costs he was refusing to pay (their surveyor costs, and legal costs when he threatened them with suing). The tribinal has as part of their conclusion:

        "The Applicant's agreed under the Licence not to cause or permit any damage disturbance annoyance nuisance or inconvenience whether by noise dust vibration the emission of smoke fumes or effluvia or otherwise to the owners or occupiers of any adjoining or neighbouring premises. Mr **** said in evidence he accepts that the Landlord must consider the views of other lessees, especially above and below the Applicants' flat. Counsel for the Applicant's agreed with the legal proposition, argued by Counsel for the Respondent, that if a Landlord allows or permits or authorises a nuisance then the Landlord can be liable. "


        -So we're wondering if now he is indeed liable, with the noise and effluence/nuisance.

        If we go to environmental health, presumably they could only get him to fix the leaking pipe. And then we're stuck with the unreasonable noise? Or could in theory the Freeholders Association intervene to check he's actually got the pipework fitted correctly, for both us/leakis, and his own tenants?

        Comment


          #5
          You could mention the noise when EHO visits. Maybe get neighbour to flush it while he's there?
          To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

          Comment


            #6
            There are more ways to skin a cat but it might involve a hole in your ceiling. Wouldn't it be unfortunate if the pipe blocked and their shower was full of sewage again

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by royw View Post
              There are more ways to skin a cat but it might involve a hole in your ceiling. Wouldn't it be unfortunate if the pipe blocked and their shower was full of sewage again
              I was thinking the same. You could also create a machine that records the noise and then plays it back 20 times the volume 15 minutes later accompanied by spewing sewage.

              Comment


                #8
                Haa - mayyybe not. Have a feeling we'll end up with a hole in our ceiling either way though, judging by the track record of his plumbers in the past

                Comment

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