New Flat owners relocating living room above bedroom

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    New Flat owners relocating living room above bedroom

    Hi,

    I own the leasehold of Flat A (Ground) in a house converted into 3 flats. Flat B is middle and Flat C is top. We are all also joint freeholders directly on the title register with no company. The Flats are currently designed such that living rooms are above living rooms and bedrooms are above bedrooms. The house was converted in 1972 and suffice to say there is no sound insulation whatsoever.

    New owners have moved into Flat B. The new owners have decided to swap living room with bedroom such that their living area is now above my bedroom. This has resulted in a situation where basically we cannot get to sleep before they go to bed as their TV noise can be heard even through earplugs. My partner is livid. It is not super loud or anything and would be a perfectly acceptable noise level were it above our living room, it is more a case of where the noise is being heard that is the problem. Yesterday we had a meet with all flats and they showed no willingness to use the rooms as designated on the leasehold plan. I am perfectly aware that people could use their TV in their bedroom giving the same problem but with no recoursewhatsoever. I am just after getting my facts straight for next time we chat.

    The various rooms useage is annotated on the drawing attached to the leases.

    Tenant covenant clause regarding changes is as follows:

    "Not to cut maim or injure any of the structural parts roofs or walls of the flat or make any structural alterations or additions to the flat without the landlords previous written consent"

    Nuisance clause is as follows:

    "No act or thing which shall or may be or become a nuisance damage annoyance or inconvenience to the landlord or any occupier of the Building or the neighbourhood shall be done or suffered to be done in the Flat or any part thereof nor shall the flat be used for any unlawful or immoral purpose nor shall there be brought or suffered to be brought into the flat any dangerous or offensive goods"

    1. Is swapping living room with bedroom a 'structural alteration', and do they need licence to alter/ deed of variation to change useage of rooms.
    2. Can what they have done be considered a 'nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience'.

    Thanks in advance if anyone can answer with confidence.

    #2
    Have you tried asking for a period of silence from 11pm to 6am ? It what I tried to do by posting in the notice board in my block of flats.

    usually in house conversions, the space between the ceiling of ground floor and floor board of first floor has no sound insulation so noise just passes between the flats.

    Its better to move to a quieter place and live in a house rather than stay in a noisy flat

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Gordon. Thanks for answering. I'm aware that it's easier noise wise to live in a house, I've done so before. Unfortunately prices in this area dictate a flat. Also we are conversing so notices in hallways aren't required.

      If anyone could answer my original questions it would be appreciated.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by andybenw View Post
        1. Is swapping living room with bedroom a 'structural alteration', and do they need licence to alter/ deed of variation to change useage of rooms.
        2. Can what they have done be considered a 'nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience'.
        1. No, switching use of a living room and bedroom is not a structural alteration.
        2. It's unlikely to be considered a 'nuisance' but it would probably come under definitions of 'annoyance or inconvenience'.

        Realistically though, it's unlikely that there is very much that you can do about this unless the occupants of the other flat are willing to come to an amicable agreement.
        Even if your lease specifically states that leaseholders covenant with each other, taking legal action to enforce a lease clause like this is likely to be expensive and there is no guarantee of success.
        More typically, you would have to ask the freeholder to take action against the other leaseholder and they may not be under any obligation to do so (+ if they did take action it would likely be at your expense but you would have no control over any part of it).

        Comment


          #5
          Have they got carpet ? This may be stipulated in the lease, otherwise I would look to install additional sound insulation. Or move.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Macromia View Post
            'More typically, you would have to ask the freeholder to take action against the other leaseholder and they may not be under any obligation to do so (+ if they did take action it would likely be at your expense but you would have no control over any part of it).
            But if the OP jointly with the other two IS the freeholder then any action needs to be taken unanimously (unless otherwise stated) and the OP could effectively block everything if the flat owner upstairs doesn't play ball... Of course, as could the upstairs flat owner.

            Comment


              #7
              A change of use of rooms not involving alterations is not a breach of covenant.

              You have a bit of a problem with the "nuisance" clause. If what they are doing would not be a nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience if they did it in what was their lounge, it is difficult to see how it can be a nuisance, annoyance or inconvenience if they do it in what is now their lounge.

              Comment


                #8
                Most of the leasehold agreements I have seen include a clause stating that the lessee is not to use any equipment or machinery that is audible outside the flat between 11pm—8am. Are you sure your leases don't have any such clause?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for your answers everyone. Pretty much concurrent with what I thought.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
                    ...and the OP could effectively block everything if the flat owner upstairs doesn't play ball... Of course, as could the upstairs flat owner.
                    One out of three can't "effectively block" much.
                    If both the others who share the freehold support a particular action, they will find it far easier to take the action they want than a single leaseholder/freeholder shareholder who stands on their own against the other two.

                    Of course, what really matters is whether or not the requirements of the lease have been met/followed, not which 'side' has the numbers.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Macromia View Post
                      One out of three can't "effectively block" much.
                      If both the others who share the freehold support a particular action, they will find it far easier to take the action they want than a single leaseholder/freeholder shareholder who stands on their own against the other two.

                      Of course, what really matters is whether or not the requirements of the lease have been met/followed, not which 'side' has the numbers.
                      unanimously was the key word in my comment. I thought unless otherwise stated decisions cannot be taken by majority?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If owned by a company with directors, then majority, which is what I'm familiar with. Not knowing I did some quick research. It does have to be unanimous.
                        However, as has been pointed out, the key issue is compliance with the lease, a legal requirement.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Unanimous voting might at first seem a really bad thing, however if for example a clique of 2 forms for mutual building works approval that would disadvantage a single freeholder, or two flats sell concurrently and decide to use funds for cosmetic works rather than required substantial structural and drainage works, you can see why a single freeholder being able to hold up a hand can actually be a really good thing.

                          The trouble with such small blocks is that adding value to leasehold tends to take priority over freehold requirements, and some folks tend not to have a long enough term view.

                          The stars sometime align, the best hope obviously is for 3 good freeholders, but even without, the pressure of asking for necessary works to be completed prior to TR1 signature can boost recalcitrant leaseholders into action on maintenance without ending up in court or going to the nuclear option of court appointed manager.

                          One thing is certain, if living in such a block you need a certain amount of patience waiting for the right time to push things.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ChrisDennison View Post
                            unanimously was the key word in my comment.
                            Even if all agree that unanimous agreement is needed, a single leaseholder acting against two others can't block much - unless the other two allow them to.
                            The best that the single leaseholder can really achieve is to stop the other two from doing anything that contradicts the terms of the lease (or avoid paying for work/get them to reverse actions if they go ahead anyway and do something that is contrary to the terms of the lease).

                            In this case you are talking about the single leaseholder basically vindictively blocking anything that needs to be done in order to force something that is not against the terms of the lease to be reversed.
                            In this situation, the other two leaseholders might be forced to take legal action against the third, but they would most likely win if what they are doing is within the terms of the lease - especially if they want to carry out work that the lease allows.

                            Suggesting that a 'share-of-freehold' leaseholder "blocks everything" unless they get their own way is, in my opinion, really bad advice.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Macromia View Post

                              Suggesting that a 'share-of-freehold' leaseholder "blocks everything" unless they get their own way is, in my opinion, really bad advice.
                              I would say it depends. It could be really bad advice. Or it could be really effective advice. I think this mainly depends on the approach which the other two take, and on the depth of their pockets.

                              Comment

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