Fitting engineered wood in flat on 2nd floor

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    Fitting engineered wood in flat on 2nd floor

    Hi All,

    I bought a leasehold on the 2nd floor in central London at the beginning of the year and I would really like to replace the old and tired carpet with engineered wood floor + soundproofing underlay in the hallway and living room only (~30 m2). The floor underneath is concrete.

    This is the paragraph in my lease which relates to carpet and flooring:
    To keep the floors of the Premises covered with carpet and underfelt or with such other effective sound-deadening floor covering material as shall previously beapproved by the Management Company

    I have reached out to the management company who told me that I will need to get a license to alter from the freeholder with an option for the freeholder to revoke the wood floor if the soundproofing is not adequate after it is installed. This is obviously less than ideal.

    I would like to know if this kind of demand from the freeholder is customary and reasonable given the terms of the lease. To me, it seems like options outside of carpet are not excluded ("OR..."), at least that's what I thought when I purchased the flat.

    I am planning to fit a quality engineered wood which is quite costly for me, I would hate to have to tear it down. In addition, I never wear shoes in the house, plan to put a big rug in the living room and have seen other flats with solid floor in the same building. Is there anything I can say to the freeholder/management company to try to convince them?

    This has caused me quite a lot of distress and I would love to have your opinion.

    Thank you very much.

    Kate


    #2
    Just spend the money on new carpet IIWY, and move on with your life.
    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
      I always try to imagine what effects my actions might have on someone else. How would you feel if you were in a flat and noise levels rose ?

      So far I believe everyone has acted reasonably. Before spending money you need to have professional, respected evidence that noise insulation will be at least the same, and hopefully better.

      Comment


        #4
        Fit carpet.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by scot22 View Post
          I always try to imagine what effects my actions might have on someone else. How would you feel if you were in a flat and noise levels rose ?

          So far I believe everyone has acted reasonably. Before spending money you need to have professional, respected evidence that noise insulation will be at least the same, and hopefully better.
          Thank you for your response. It goes without saying that my desire to install wood floor is motivated mainly by hygiene reasons and I do not wish to cause any inconvenience to my neighbours. I believe the building is fairly well sound proof (I have been living in this flat for 5 years- I was renting prior to purchasing it) and it has always been quiet. There is of course the occasional noise from upstairs or next door neighbour but I consider this as part of living in a flat.

          Could you clarify what you meant by “professional and respected evidence”? Should I hire an expert/ sound engineer? Is it possible to give such evidence prior to floor installation?
          Anyone sharing similar experience would be appreciated!
          thanks



          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Kate_london View Post
            It goes without saying that my desire to install wood floor is motivated mainly by hygiene reasons.
            Wooden flooring is not necessarily more hygienic than carpets. Obviously the amount of allergens and contaminants which settle on a floor is going to be the same whether flooring is wood or carpets. The main difference, assuming regular cleaning, is that the allergens and contaminants stay trapped in a carpet until it is vacuumed, while walking on a wooden floor kicks them up into the air.

            Carpets are also better insulators that wooden floors and feel warmer under the feet.

            Comment


              #7
              Fit the carpet please.

              By the way no amount of under-floor sound insulation is going to be more effective. Firstly the insulation does not prevent impact noise (only to a modest extent) its transmission. Secondly there is the small problem of reflected sound (upwards).

              Comment


                #8
                Kate, I assume this type of floor has been installed in quite a few flats. Surely the supplier should be able to give proven evidence of its affect along with value of insulation. In other words, what has happened elsewhere ?

                You need to be confident in the floor before spending money fitting it. You need evidence to justify your view. The sound engineer can give an opinion based on previous experience. It could be argued that is sufficient.

                I agree with your reading of the lease.

                How important is it for you ? Is there a carpet you might equally like ?

                I have considerable respect for lawcrunchers post. Perhaps, time for a rethink ?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by scot22 View Post
                  Kate, I assume this type of floor has been installed in quite a few flats. Surely the supplier should be able to give proven evidence of its affect along with value of insulation. In other words, what has happened elsewhere ?

                  You need to be confident in the floor before spending money fitting it. You need evidence to justify your view. The sound engineer can give an opinion based on previous experience. It could be argued that is sufficient.

                  I agree with your reading of the lease.

                  How important is it for you ? Is there a carpet you might equally like ?

                  I have considerable respect for lawcrunchers post. Perhaps, time for a rethink ?
                  Thank you Scott for your response and your suggestion to check with other flats owners who had wood floor installed makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately I do not know them personally but I may just ask.

                  I have reached out to the management company and they are now reaching out to the freeholders solicitor. They are claiming that I will probably need a license to alter ( along with fees and possibly sound engineer expert report), which seems quite extreme from my reading of the lease since the lease does not strictly prohibits other flooring with proper insulation. So what is there to alter?
                  Admittedly I am no solicitor or expert in the matter.
                  This looks like a way to make the process more costly and lengthy.

                  In terms of carpet, I understand that it has lots of advantages and I will keep my bedrooms carpeted.
                  I have thought long and hard about this and I just dont believe carpet in my living room which also serves as dining area works well. The kitchen and the dining area are on both ends of the flat through a long hallway and bringing food from one room to the other inevitably leads to food/ oil spills on the carpet despite utmost precautions. I know that because I have been living here for 5 years....and the stains really bother me to no end.

                  The last “solution” I thought of might be to put solid floor over carpet + underlay. It might sound ridiculous but has anyone done this? I assume this would not be a breach of the lease?

                  Thanks all.









                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi, another leaseholder in my block swapped the Kitchen and the bedroom and encountered a hard floor/carpet lease issue. Whilst there are cheap floor underlays available he had to get a professional job with DB reduction certification. I understand it was 5k for 1 room over and above the hard floor, so it is possible to achieve a significantly quieter floor, the problem is that impact of hard shoes on board will always come through a bit, hence the lease.

                    The Freeholder licence may be legit but it sounds as though the Management Company want you to have carpet.

                    I would avoid lease disputes at all cost as the leasee rarely wins.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Silverdale, thanks for sharing your experience.
                      Do you know if DB reduction certification is done before or after the woodfloor has been put in place?
                      if after, it means that if the test fails, the floor has to be removed?
                      In terms of shoes, we never wear shoes in the house and ask guests to do the same. I provide slippers...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        As you observe 'or with' approved by MC means it can be done within the lease.
                        I was not clear but I meant the supplier,fitter should surely have examples of where it has been done and the effect. To be reasonably secure you need evidence. Your interesting idea of putting it over carpet may be worth investigating.
                        I suggest contacting LEASE for free, qualified legal advice. Over the years I have found them very helpful.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          a - A solid-surfaced floor can NEVER be "sound deadening" by definition (see the lease).
                          b - The fact that you say you will wear slippers is irrelevant
                          c - what terms are there in your lease about cross enforcement of lease terms between lessees. If there are any such terms, the FH cannot authorise such a breach of the lease without potential problems now or in the future

                          As I said... fit a carpet ... or find another flat

                          Fitting a solid floor over a carpet would not be a sound deadening covering.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I'm just imagining Kate spending £5k on floor nonsense to save getting a dirty carpet, and leaving in 5 years.

                            Alternatively, why not spend £1k on a new carpet every year, or cheaper still buy one of these:

                            https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZPJTB...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
                            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


                              #15
                              Hi

                              Think they measured after, it was more about evidencing than a certificate as such. essentially the floor was raised on some sort of special foam but as others say it's not as good as carpet. I would imagine that the lease is enforced Leasee to Lessor so it's the lessor's permission you would need and them that would need to be satisfied although they would get flack from the other Lessee. Our lease states that the flat needs to be carpeted, it doesn't say where and I think that may have helped in my neighbor's solution in getting permission as you obviously wouldn't carpet the whole flat and the lease doesn't prevent swapping rooms but we are into risky territory when you push your luck.

                              If you wanted a workaround put the engineered floor down on top of sound insulation, then have a cunning room-shaped carpet that you can whip out Bugsy Malone Style.

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