Preventing landlord fitting carpets onto wooden floors?

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    Preventing landlord fitting carpets onto wooden floors?

    My partner and I recently moved into a one bedroom flat at the top of a three story semi detached period conversion. One of the key selling points (particularly for us) was the hardwood floors, this was mentioned throughout the literature. We were keen on this due to the look, the practicality, and reduced effort required to keep the flat clean; plus an awareness that when carpets are involved there is always the risk of being stung due to the “wear and tear” clause.

    Now, 1 month into the tenancy, the landlord has told us that they are being obliged to fit carpets into the whole flat. Bedroom, hallway, and living room due to a requirement in the freehold agreement (between the owners of the three flats in the building); this was prompted by noise complaints from the tenants below, to their landlord. My own landlord was at pains to tell me that this was not due to our noise but as a result of the lack of sound proofing between the floors but also staying that in the 15 years they have owned the flat it has not been carpeted and there have been no issues; having spoken to the tenants below this has been an issue since they moved in with the previous tenants. In addition there are no provisions in the tenancy agreement, relating to installation of carpets; this is apparently in the freehold agreement (I asked to see this initially but was refused and told that there was nothing that would affect us in there).

    i have multiple concerns about this, namely: that we weren’t informed that was a noise issue with the flat below in any correspondence, or in person while at the flat; the fitting of carpets will result in additional charges and effort for us both during the tenancy at the end, when cleaners charge more to clean carpets and there will inevitably be wear and tear charges associated; the timeframe being considered is next week, requiring us to move all of our furniture into the kitchen and bathroom (I’m not sure it will go in) and probably take a day off work; and the laying of carpets is unlikely to resolve the issue, caused by the tampanic effect of old floorboards on joists below. Furthermore the issue seems to stem primarily from the living room (which rather stupidly) is above the downstairs tenants bedroom, not the rest of the flat. However after raising these points with the landlord, and suggesting that they just carpet the living room, they come back to say that as they have been threatened with legal action they are going to carpet the whole apartment.

    Appreciate that it’s a long shot, and I have sympathy for my landlord (who is being threaten with legal action), but it’s just so frustrating to have bought into a flat based on a marketed feature and then for that feature to be taken away so soon into the tenancy, with no consultation. Does anyone know of any recourse that I have as a tenant to prevent this? Can something be made of the lack of issues in the last 15 years and sudden after the arrival of the downstairs tenants?

    thanks for any thoughts.

    Mike

    #2
    Victorian conversion and wooden floors, unless the conversion is very recent, equals noise problem. You shouldn't need to be told to realise that!

    This is probably a good example of why landlords should not use off the shelf tenancy agreements, but should ensure that they reflect all the restrictions in the superior agreement, their lease.

    I think, technically, the landlord cannot enforce against you, but if you don't comply, they risk being evicted themselves if you they don't issue you with section 21 at the earliest opportunity.

    By evicted, I mean that their landlord would apply to have the lease forfeited. In practice, the worst that would happen to them is that they would be forced to sell up at short notice, or receive an injunction requiring them to evict you as quickly as possible.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, you have some recourse.
      Recent consumer legislation makes the omission an issue for the agent/landlord.

      You should be able to end the lease on the basis of a misleading omission.
      Talk to trading standards.
      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


        #4
        You cant prevent it happening. You may be able to negotiate an end to the lease and move elsewhere - if this matters so much to you - or that the landlord pays to clean the carpets when you move out..

        Comment


          #5
          1. Tenant cannot be charged for "fair wear and tear".
          2. You are entitled to quiet enjoyment, so LL cannot force it on you.
          3. If LL has clause in his lease that floors should be carpeted, then he should have put that in your tenancy agreement; that makes it his problem, not yours. He cannot impose new conditions after the agreement is made.
            (my agreements have a schedule which contains relevant clauses from the deeds for the specific property and are therefore non-negotiable with the tenant).
          4. If you agree to the carpets, then the LL should pay for your belongings to be moved and for any damage caused; you should not have to do it (but you could use it as a negotiating point).
          5. If you agree, then the timescales should suit you, not the LL.
          6. If you want to stay regardless, then negotiate on what will happen and get the agreement documented.
            Things you might consider are:
            1. You are only required to vacuum the carpets and keep them clean if staining occurs from spills, mud on shoes, etc. Any deep cleaning/shampooing at end of tenancy is responsibility of landlord.
            2. reduction in rent due to loss of amenity.
            3. You will only be charged for (a proportion of) replacing carpets at the end of the tenancy due to damage if you choose to leave within X years or you leave within X years due to tenant fault (Section 8 notice with which you agree or a court agrees), not if you leave due to S21 notice.
            4. Who moves furniture to allow carpets to be fitted.
            5. when the work is to be done (to suit you, not LL); staged work (over two non-consecutive days) so that you can move furniture between lounge and bedroom, not try to force it into kitchen and bathroom.
            6. Carpet fitter to be supervised at all times by letting agent; you should not have to take time off work (or monetary compensation for your time).
            7. Explain that you understand LL position, but it is really not your problem, but you want to help him but you do not want to be excessively inconvenienced or out of pocket.
          7. As stated by other posters, if you do not agree to the work, then expect the landlord to issue S21 notice as soon as he is able.
          8. As stated by other posters, if you do not want to stay, then you should be able to terminate the agreement, BUT I do not know if you could recover your costs associated with the letting (agent fees; moving cots, etc).

          Comment


            #6
            You can still damage that desirable hardwood floor when moving furniture/damage the coating, which may require sanding, resealing, at your expense, if not 'covered'. Unless you informed LL/LA before signing Contract that unprotected hardwood floor was the main reason for selecting the Property you cannot 'frustrate' the Contract, only reach a negotiated settlement with LL IMO

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by mariner View Post
              Unless you informed LL/LA before signing Contract that unprotected hardwood floor was the main reason for selecting the Property you cannot 'frustrate' the Contract, only reach a negotiated settlement with LL IMO
              That is no longer the case.

              The onus is on the trader (agent or landlord) to disclose anything that may cause the buyer to make a purchasing decision.
              Which is clearly impossible - so best efforts are required.
              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


                #8
                Noise is in the ear of the beholder. Some cannot stand hearing the noise of people walking in the flat above them. But this is par for the course in a victorian terraced flat conversion. More modern building regulations require some sound proofing to be done when the building is converted to flats. But building regs aren't retrospective. Your building was probably converted before the regs.

                The wooden floors reputedly make the sound proofing worse, but I am willing to bet that putting down carpets won't solve the problem properly. It may placate the downstairs tenants somewhat to stop complaining however, or they may still be unhappy after the carpets are put down.

                You could ask to see the clause in the lease of your landlord saying not allowed to install wooden floors/floors must be covered in carpets. But you have no liability to allow your L to install the carpets if nothing in your TA. The L is only allowed access for repairs. So if they want access for anything else then it needs to already be stated in your TA. Of course if you refuse your L may not be happy with you. Also the tenants downstairs may up their game and start that banging on the ceiling malarky every time they hear you drop a shoe etc.

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