Breaches of Licence to Alter

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    Breaches of Licence to Alter

    I am trying to give some help to my Aunt, who is 90 and lives in a basement flat, where she is suffering excessive noise from the flat above, not necessarily caused by loud music, etc. but just the noise of people walking about on bare floors - the tenants in that flat have a reciprocal issue as they can hear (and have complained about) her TV and even phone calls. The upper flat owner (who lets it to the tenants) made some alterations to the flat and was granted a Licence to Alter by the Freehold Company (of which my Aunt is a joint Director, along with 2 other occupiers in the building).
    One of the terms of the licence was that a specific type of sound absorbing matting should be laid down in the flat. The matting was not laid, but the owner has refused access for proper inspections, ignores letters and emails, and has done nothing but be obstructive. My Aunt's fellow Directors, though helpful in sending letters, seem unable or unwilling to pursue the case - it doesn't affect them directly. She has had to get her solicitor to write to the Freehold Company, which of course risks damaging her (currently good) relationship with the other Directors.

    This has been going on for 3 years and she is at her wit's end. What other recourse does she have? I see there is a First-Tier Tribunal System that seems to offer relatively straightforward access to the law in Property matters, but I am not sure if it would cover her case? And even if it did, the only acceptable solution is to have the work done as specified, could such a tribunal make (and enforce) such an order? Any thoughts/suggestions would be most welcome.
    I would add that her flat was twice flooded as a result of the works, a temporary repair was effected but the landlord has not provided evidence of permanent, capillary soldered repairs (as specified by the Freehold Company's Surveyor), or gas safety certificates, so the noise issue is something of a last straw, she cannot even enjoy watching her TV and she fears further incidents.

    #2
    Better to move to a quieter property on the ground floor. No sense for a 90 year old lady to be living in a war zone.

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      #3
      Moving is a major upheaval and a well known cause of stress at any age, let alone when when you're 90, so in addition to being forced out of her home, she would suffer financially (moving costs, conveyancing, and the effect of the current dispute on the value of her property). Meanwhile the perpetrator gets of scot free.

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        #4
        I agree with Gordon, knowing how stressful these disputes can be. It is demanding trying to get any legal decision. When you've got it there is then an arguably greater challenge in getting it enforced. Assuming she could find a suitable change the pragmatic solution is to move.
        is the Freehold with a residents management company ? If so demand action.
        Does your Aunt get on with flat above ? Is it possible to work with them ? If it is with a letting agent perhaps complain to them. Cause as many problems as you can for the person, like to be polite in my language, who is disregarding his obligations.
        I have always found LEASE to be helpful. A gov funded body that gives free qualified legal advice. The site is comprehensive and informative.
        Finally, if I may be personal, it's heartening to know of someone assisting an elderly relative.

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          #5
          I believe that if your aunt has been fighting a losing battle for 3 years , it better for her to move away.

          If you want to help your aunt, you could apply to the local Magistrates Court for a court order requiring the upstairs flat owner to insert sound insulation under the floor boards. Go to your local Magistrates Court and speak to the Court Manager.

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            #6
            Thanks for your replies. I have looked at LEASE which does contain some useful pointers that I can follow up. I will also speak to them when I have marshalled all the facts. I can also look at the Magistrate's Court option, though I am still interested to learn if the First Tier Tribunal has jurisdiction in cases such as this, and whether their judgements are enforced.
            Even at 90 my Aunt is a feisty lady of strong opinions, I am reluctant to encourage her to move as I know she is very attached to her current location in spite of the difficulties of the last 3 years.

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              #7
              Your best option may be to email the relevant tribunal for your region, explain the situation, and ask if they consider it to be under their jurisdiction.

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                #8
                Good for her. Good for you giving her respect. Enforcement is usually a problem.

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