Letting a flat with a noisy neighbour

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    Letting a flat with a noisy neighbour

    Hi all, sorry for the very long post but I am looking for some advice and want to give all the facts.

    Based in England, I bought an ex LA first floor flat and have let it out for the last year. It's a not a bad area at all with many owner occupiers and private rented as well as a few council tenants.

    After a few months I received a complaint from my tenants regarding loud music coming from the flat below. In the flat below, is a guy that is a council tenant who likes to smoke week then play music (his words !)

    I gave them advice of how and where to report nuisance noise but it continued. I then went to see the guy myself and he agreed to stop playing music at 8pm during the week & 10pm weekends.

    I didn't receive any more complaints, so I thought it was resolved, and the tenants moved out after 11 months.

    I spoke with the guy downstairs while it was vacant and I told him there would be a new tenant in soon and could he please keep the music down if asked, which he agreed.

    I also spoke with the council, who just said they had no previous complaints for his address. But they did make a record of our conversation.

    I let the flat again to a single girl & 2 year old child, last month, and after the first night I get an email complaining about the music. Again I tell her to follow the reporting procedures. I also agreed to go and see him but he was in total denial. He did say the council called him as there had been a complaint, but he didn’t seem bothered in the slightest and actually said he was the victim ! He then started getting very agitated and slammed the door in my face.

    It continued over the course of the next month. Then last weekend music was playing continuously for 3 days / nights. He wouldn't answer the door and neighbours were thinking something may have happened to him. Apparently the police were called but wouldn't come out, so a neighbour tried his door, which was unlocked, went in and turned the music off. He wasn't even in the property and had apparently just 'gone out' for a few days' !!!

    Eventually he did return later that night, had a very noisy verbal altercation with someone at 4.30 the next morning and my tenant could take no more and moved out. According to her, he threatened her and her child as she was moving her belongings out, and the police were called. Again they didn't turn up but logged the incident. Apparently he also rather aggressively insisted to one of the guys helping her move they give my telephone number. He then called me to protest his innocence, and he was getting very angry about it all and insisted I go around his flat with my tenant to sort it out with the 'fat b*tch'. I declined and hung up!

    I have now spoken with the council, to update them of the situation and try to escalate this up a notch and they just said they have only received 3 dates of excess noise submissions by the last tenant and they won't take any action based on that, and it's really a case of my word against his. They will need at least 14 days worth of submissions before they 'might act'. I told them the only way I could get that would be to camp out in the flat myself or hide the fact from the next potential tenant and hope he or she will submit enough evidence. Although they did confirm they had spoken with him and said they would call him and talk to him again.

    I then spoke with the previous tenants and they said it had been better but he was still playing music loudly, and had asked him to turn it down on a few occasions. They were very good tenants but they would not complain to me, to the local authorities or submit anything through the noise app as they didn’t want to be seen as moaning tenants.

    I had a chat with another neighbour downstairs that has lived there 20 years and she says she’s had a couple of run ins with him over the music and has complained to the council but not submitted anything on the noise app, but she 'might' do if it happens again. But she doesn't really want to get involved. I don't think the music affects her as much, as her flat is not joined to his.

    Although she now tells me that last night, 3 guys had smashed their way into his flat and left with a bag before the police got there and that she suspects he is somehow involved with drugs - although that's just her opinion. She wasn't happy. She is looking to sell her flat later this year to move in with her boyfriend, so maybe she is realising it might become a problem to her.

    I went there today and yes his flat's door and window have been smashed and are now boarded up but all is quiet. I suspect he wasn't there today.

    My flat is now vacant and I can't see the point in trying to let it out at the minute as no doubt the same thing will happen, and that wouldn't be fair on another tenant. But on the other hand I can't afford to have it sit empty.

    I have spoken with an acoustics expert, and he said he can set up a sound recording device for a week in my flat and give me a full report at a cost of £2500. I am awaiting to see whether the local authority will accept this as evidence and will act on it. Of course there are no guarantees any music will be played during that week and they could well be a waste of money.

    I have also looked into sound proofing the floor, which will help, but obviously has it's limits and at a cost of £3000.

    I don’t really know what my next move should be and it's obviously causing considerable stress. Any help or advice if anyone has any experience of this is greatly appreciated.

    #2
    Originally posted by Kleyshay View Post
    if anyone has any experience of this is greatly appreciated.
    Yes. I have.

    He then called me to protest his innocence, and he was getting very angry about it all and insisted I go around his flat... I declined and hung up!
    At least he is willing to enter into a dialogue. Hanging up on him won't resolve the situation.
    In similar circumstances I have told them I would go round first thing in the morning.
    And then asserted my personality.

    Being a landlord isn't for everyone.

    Comment


      #3
      Is there a management company who looks after the building? I would raise your concerns with them, and if there is meeting with other residents, I would contact other neighbours so you can collectively report the issue to the council, they should act if there is a number of calls from the apartment.

      Comment


        #4
        Complain formally to the council's Environmental Health Officer. The council will have noise recording equipment that they can set up and it won't cost you anything. I have had this take place in my flat. However, if they use the same type of equipment that my council uses, you have to be present in the flat when the noise is happening to press a button on the recorder to tell it to save that particular snippet of noise. Environmental Health Officer will then retrieve the recorder and analyse the recording to determine if it's a nuisance.

        So you would have to move into the flat for the two weeks while the recordings were taking place.

        If you don't want to do that, I would check with the council to ensure that they will accept the independent evidence before you spend £2500.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by boletus View Post
          Hanging up on him won't resolve the situation.
          In similar circumstances I have told them I would go round first thing in the morning.
          And then asserted my personality.

          .
          The guy didn't want to engage in dialogue, he wanted a confrontation and was abusive, which is why I hung up on him. I had already been to see him 2 hours before and got nowhere.

          Originally posted by boletus View Post


          Being a landlord isn't for everyone.
          I have been a landlord for the past 15 years, and have dealt with plenty of issues with my own tenants, as they are my responsibility. However dealing with a problematic neighbour is not something I have experience with, hence the post.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ash72 View Post
            Is there a management company who looks after the building? I would raise your concerns with them, and if there is meeting with other residents, I would contact other neighbours so you can collectively report the issue to the council, they should act if there is a number of calls from the apartment.
            The properties are Ex LA so therefore the Council are the only ones to contact, no management company.
            I fear they don't want to take action as he is a direct tenant to them, and receiving benefits, I assume they will have to re-house him if an eviction takes place.
            I will be speaking to the other neighbours to see if they are willing to submit further complaints, but I don't believe they are affected nowhere near as much, due to the fact none of them are directly joined to his flat.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by HazeltonLane View Post
              Complain formally to the council's Environmental Health Officer. The council will have noise recording equipment that they can set up and it won't cost you anything. .
              I asked about this and they were not willing to provide any equipment, as they don't feel there is enough evidence as yet.

              Originally posted by HazeltonLane View Post
              However, if they use the same type of equipment that my council uses, you have to be present in the flat when the noise is happening to press a button on the recorder to tell it to save that particular snippet of noise. Environmental Health Officer will then retrieve the recorder and analyse the recording to determine if it's a nuisance.

              So you would have to move into the flat for the two weeks while the recordings were taking place.

              If you don't want to do that, I would check with the council to ensure that they will accept the independent evidence before you spend £2500.
              Yes they do have the same equipment, as the acoustics guy I spoke with does lot's of work with them and that's what he told me. However his equipment starts recording when the sound reaches a certain level, so it can be left in the property unattended.

              In an ideal world, I don't really want to move in as its unfurnished and logistically would not be practical, but as I full well know, we aren't in an ideal world.

              I am awaiting the council to call back to inform me if they will accept the independent evidence as the guy I spoke with did not know.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by boletus View Post

                Yes. I have.
                So how did you resolve it then ?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Kleyshay View Post

                  So how do you resolve it then ?
                  By de-escalating confrontation. Swallowing your pride. Calming it down. Empathising. Meeting them first thing in the morning. Asserting your personality. Finding some common ground.

                  It's certainly not an easy situation. And I've got it wrong many times.

                  But you did say

                  "if anyone has any experience of this is greatly appreciated."

                  If you just wanted sympathy, then take it as read.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    In my job i deal with neighbours just like this guy..... the smashing of his door down is a real warning sign, it was fairly certain to be connected to a drugs debt he had and/or a grow he was managing. This type of tenant will never conform, it's what they are and what they do, your best hope is that the council re-house him due to a possible threat to his life, often the police can comment on this which will assist in any move he may want, the tenant may now want to move out given if he does not the same door smashing guys could come back....... i would also ask to speak with your local PCSO or PC and make them aware of his actions but to be honest i would strongly suspect they are aware of him anyways. I do feel for you because as you say its totally out of your control, half wits like this make many other's lives a misery and the authorities can often do very little or it takes an age to get not very far. The best bet you have is that his lifestyle will ensure he has to be re-housed, lets hope.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by boletus View Post

                      By de-escalating confrontation. Swallowing your pride. Calming it down. Empathising. Meeting them first thing in the morning. Asserting your personality. Finding some common ground.

                      It's certainly not an easy situation. And I've got it wrong many times.

                      But you did say

                      "if anyone has any experience of this is greatly appreciated."

                      If you just wanted sympathy, then take it as read.

                      Trust me, I have tried your approach and I am pleased that it worked for you but it is having no effect with this guy.

                      "De-escalating confrontation" - The tenant has left, so there is no one in my property to confront him at present. I was never in attendance when any of the other confrontations took place.

                      "Swallowing your pride" - My pride has nothing to do with it. I'll happily tell the guy it's all my fault and that I'm an arsehole if he is willing to help resolve this, and let any future tenants live nuisance free.
                      If someone is not willing to listen, accept their actions maybe causing a problem to someone or compromise in anyway whatsoever, that is a real challenge and one I am trying to succeed with.

                      "Calming it down" - There have been no confrontations whenever I have been there, mainly due to the fact the complaints have been when he plays music in the early hours of the morning. I wasn't there when he allegedly threatened her when she was moving out, as I wasn't there then either. She had decided to move out but didn't tell me until the next day. Whenever I have spoken with him in person, there has been no issue and just a normal conversation, that is until the last time when he was getting agitated, but I think that was more due to the fact that the neighbour just told him they had entered his flat and turned the music off when he'd 'gone missing', even though it was out of concern for his wellbeing.

                      "Empathising" - I agreed he his entitled to listen to music in his own home. I actually praised his choice of music. I also agreed, even though the music was loud, the neighbour shouldn't have entered his flat when he was not there.

                      "Meeting them first thing in the morning" - The man smokes weed and listens to music all night, do you seriously think he surfaces first thing in the morning ? He will not answer his door until late afternoon, early evening at best.

                      "Asserting your personality" - OK I will take this on board, although when the guy says I like you and I have no issue with you, I would hope my personality is not the problem

                      "Finding some common ground" - We had both agreed the music would stop at 8pm week days and 10pm weekends. The tenants accepted this but he did not adhere to it.

                      I am certainly not on here looking for sympathy. Having exercised all the above, I posted here to see if someone can offer some constructive advice that I haven't tried, to resolve this situation.

                      Thanks for your input though, it is appreciated.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Hudson01 View Post
                        i would also ask to speak with your local PCSO or PC and make them aware of his actions
                        Thank you, I will certainly look into this. Obviously the noise issue isn't a police matter, but it may well be worth talking to them anyway

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The noise i agree is not a Police matter but his doors getting bashed in and the possibility of further violence in the future is their business, as said he needs to go, his behaviour will not change and where ever he goes he will cause these issues, this is why i do not rent to anyone claiming benefits, i know there are those paying and working who can do this but the numbers are a lot lower. Just as an aside his aggressive behaviour is a criminal offence if the receiving party want to make a complaint to the Police, we could have one of the two public order offences (4 and 4a), if he does this outside or in the communal hallway, we could also have a section 39 assault (you do not have to hit or touch anyone for this to be proven), it all depends on if the '' victim'' wants to involve the Police.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Hudson01 View Post
                            we could also have a section 39 assault (you do not have to hit or touch anyone for this to be proven)
                            It is my understanding that "assault" is the threat of violence, and "battery" is actual violence (see https://www.legalmatch.com/law-libra...s-assault.html)

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Very true indeed, but that's what the victim himself or herself ' felt ' at the time, if they feared they were about to be hit or struck then that is enough for a sec 39, for a section 47 to be brought then there has to be actual physical contact and indeed evidence (i.e a bruise or mark etc).

                              Comment

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