Rules on communal areas - "only quiet conversation in garden"

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    Rules on communal areas - "only quiet conversation in garden"

    Hi all, I recently moved (rented) into a flat on a building that has a communal garden. Speaking with one of the neighbours, she mentioned that "the board" had approved some limitations to the use of the common garden. For context, the garden is just grass a some trees, not a landscaped area, no flowers, no statues, fountains nor the like, etc.

    Among the limitations, barbecues are not allowed due to risk of fire (I think that is reasonable and legal), playing ball is not allowed (which could be considered reasonable up to a point), but - and this is what my question is about - they have stated that the garden is "only for quiet conversation".

    My question is, up to what point the board has the right to impose such a limitation on the use of a common area?

    Is not that I plan to break the nuisance and noise rules, but what happens if I want to have a tea and invite a few of my 4 years old daughter? They will play and probably have a "loud conversation". What would happen if I ignore this rule, as it seems to me that is on a very shaky legal ground?

    Any experience or expert advice is much welcome.


    #2
    I have not come across such a rule, it sounds (no pun intended) totally unenforceable, how exactly would they determine what conversation is quiet or loud ? A SPL meter ......... i get the barbecue, you either have one in the garden or you do not, so is easy to see it in black and white, but speech

    It sounds very 1984.

    Comment


      #3
      I think the 'board' are trying to prevent loud noisy gatherings which such things as BBQ's etc might give rise to. There's always somebody who invites their mates round, they get drunk and are loud until the tiny hours.

      I doubt a few 4 years olds having a tea party for 3 hours or so. would cause a problem, but if you have a bouncy castle and lots of screaming horror children it might well do.

      Comment


        #4
        If you're renting the flat, the rules that apply to you are those in your tenancy agreement.
        It's up to your landlord to include any rules that are applicable anywhere else into that agreement.

        If your conversation is too loud, the "board" will have to take if up with your landlord (who may then try and evict you).
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          If the landlord has not provided you with a copy of the covenants in the superior lease as jpkeates states then ask the landlord for a copy - you effectively have two sets of rules to follow. If it does state as suggested 'quiet conversation' it would be interesting to see the definition of this ambiguous term.

          Comment


            #6
            Could this be interpreted as similar to 'quiet enjoyment' and have nothing to do with noise levels?
            ie. Conversation can be as loud as you like as long as it's not constant or harassment/argument.

            TBH I suspect it's intended to stop people having a noisy party in the garden, whilst still allowing a few friends to share drinks on the lawn.
            It has become common (at least before Covid) for people to hire a marquee for the garden rather than having a party in the house/flat, especially flat dwellers who don't have the room for a large birthday/engagement/etc. party.

            Comment


              #7
              I think the "noise rules" does not apply to tea parties for 4 year old children.

              Just say sorry if anyone complains to you and blame it on covid-19.

              Comment


                #8
                I would think that all of the restrictions that have been mentioned are completely reasonable, and I'm not aware of any law that would make such restrictions unenforceable (although the reality is that enforcement if people ignore the restrictions might be difficult).

                It largely depends on what the leases to the properties specifically say. If they allow the freeholder (which "the board" presumably act as) to make, or alter, rules/regulations for use of communal areas, they have the right to do so.

                The reality about living in a block with communal areas, such as a communal garden, is that individual residents/families may not be able to use the area in the way that they would like to, and could use it if it was their own private space.
                While you might wish to be able to invite your daughters friends around and let them run around the garden, playing noisily in the way that young children often like to do, whenever you want to, you have to give proper consideration to how the other residents wish to use the garden.

                It sounds like the intention of the rules is to allow all residents to use the garden for quiet relaxation when the weather is suitable, without the possibility that they might be disturbed by other residents, or by any sort gathering of friends and family of one of the residents.
                With these rules/regulations in place, if you want o arrange a gathering of your daughters friends it should be at someone else's house, or in a local park or similar.
                It would partly depend on how often you want to have friends round and use the garden. Once a month, or only for birthdays, is likely to be considered far more acceptable than every weekend - especially if you are able to speak to other residents in advance and let them know your plans.

                What you might be able to do, is convince enough leaseholders that the 'rules' should be changed to get them changed and, even if the regulations remain the same, I doubt that many people would object to your daughter and one or two friends playing in the garden, as long as you make sure that they aren't disturbing other people (although you might find that there is a resident that is very anti-children).

                You could just ignore the rules and do whatever you like, but that wouldn't be advisable unless you are happy being the sort of neighbour who is despised by everyone else

                If these rules/regulations were in place before you rented the property, the landlord, or their managing agent, should have made you aware of them before you signed a contract and moved in. If they didn't, and the use of the garden was an important consideration (which it probably was for someone with a young child), you could try arguing that the flat was 'mis-sold' and ask for a lower rent, or to be let out of the contract and even for help towards the expense of moving elsewhere, but there is no guarantee that you would get anything.



                Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                I think the "noise rules" does not apply to tea parties for 4 year old children.

                Just say sorry if anyone complains to you and blame it on covid-19.
                Why should noise rules not apply in that situation?
                I would expect that most residents would ignore one or two young children making a bit of noise while they play in the communal garden, especially if it is at times when other residents aren't using the garden, but inviting a group of friends (and perhaps parents as well) round is something different.
                On the other hand, if other residents invite groups of adults round and have gatherings in the garden, it would be unreasonable to not allow groups including children - as long as the parents keep them under 'reasonable' control so that they don't disturb other people in the garden.

                Covid will only be an excuse of any sort while restrictions are in place - and if there are restrictions in place that prevent meeting in a park, meeting in a garden will also usually be a breach of restrictions.

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