License to alter issued in breach of lease, loss of rent and noise nuisance

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    License to alter issued in breach of lease, loss of rent and noise nuisance


    I am a leaseholder in a block of flats whereby a management company of the block is a freeholder.

    Two years ago freeholder issued a license to alter for another leaseholder who is my neighbor upstairs. The alterations included removal of load-bearing walls (which is prohibited under the lease) and the floors were changed from carpets to wood although the leasehold agreement requires the flats to be carpeted. The layout of the flat upstairs was entirely changed, bringing their large livign room above our bedrooms.

    After the refurbishment works finished and neigbour moved in, our tenants in my flat suffered from an enourmous noise nuisance (both impact and airborne sound), basically hearing everything what happens upstairs. We complained to the freeholder and asked to take action to stop noise nuisance from the leaseholder upstairs by e.g. investigating the sound insulation etc, but we were completely ignored. The tenant eventually left as the flat became unliveable. We incurred a significant income loss because of that. We moved back into our flat mid this year and since then been suffering from sleep deprivation, noise nuisance etc. We continuously complained to freeholder but nothing happened. We got in touch with the surveyor who sent us the assessment report about the proposed works which was issued to the freeholder before the license to alter was granted. The report flagged up all the risks and issues associated with wall removals, carpet to wood changing, placing living room above bedrooms etc. At that time at pre-works stage the surveyor asked for additional assessment like acoustic test/sound engineer survey and other things but those were never provided. The freeholder just signed the license to alter and the works were carried out.

    We certainly cannot live like that in our flat as we are entirely deprived of our right for peaceful enjoyment of our property. We have an evidence that surveyor's advice was ignored by the freeholder. We have evidence of noise nuisance by several witnesses. Does anyone have an idea what our options for next steps are?

    Thank you all in advance for your help!


    I makes my blood boil.

    Check the planning permission, was it purpose built or conversion. Usually the rooms have the be stacked.

    I have complained about noise issues due to laminate and overcrowded flooring and got this from managing agents:

    The guide has the following links:

    There is a link to the Noise Abatement Society, but they may have a problem with their web site.


      In the majority of leases the covenants are between the leaseholder and the freeholder. It is relatively unusual for leases to involve covenants between leaseholders.

      In this case, if permission was given there was no breach of lease between the leaseholder who made the alterations and the freeholder (there cannot be a breach if permission is given).
      This means that there can only have been a breach if one of the following is true:
      1. The leases include covenants between leaseholders (in this case the alterations would have required permission from both the freeholder and other leaseholders).
      2. Your lease requires that the freeholder obtains permission from you before allowing the type of alterations that took place and no such permission was granted, OR your lease obligates the freeholder to not do, or allow, anything that would result in a 'nuisance' to you.
      3. The lease contains an absolute prohibition on the changes that were made (which would mean that the freeholder could not legitimately grant permission).

      "Peaceful enjoyment" does not refer to noise issues in a legal context, so you don't have an argument there. What this means is that you have the right to occupy a property without undue harassment from the freeholder/landlord.



        Thank you. It is a purpose built block. All the bedrooms in the block are above each other. The upstairs neighbor reversed the layout putting his living room above my bedrooms.

        I have already been everywhere including local council, EHO, solicitors. No results because the freeholder is just not doing anything and protracting things. I am desperate.


          Thank you, Macromia.

          In my case it is definitely 2. and 3. for sure. Besides, I have obtained a report from a chartered surveyor who assessed the works upstairs and who raised all the issues in his report before the license was granted and confirmed that the type of alterations proposed were absolutely prohibited in the lease agreement.

          The freeholder is not cooperating, does not answer my questions and hopes that things will go away.

          What would you do next?

          If I take legal action what is the right body to deal with this matter?


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