Landlord on my case about invented woodworking mess/noise, what should I do?

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    Landlord on my case about invented woodworking mess/noise, what should I do?

    TL;DR - OCD landlord is telling me I'm making too much DIY noise/mess in the garden, but I'm not.

    I live in a ground floor garden flat, and my landlord lives upstairs. The garden is private and entirely mine, although she has access to it for maintenance (daily watering). The landlord is obsessive and the definition of a busybody - tells me to take my shoes off on the carpets (in my own flat), tells me what brand of cleaner to use in the bathroom, tells me never to dry my socks on the radiator etc etc. Just a reminder that we don't share ANY space, it's an entirely private flat. She is more of the mindset that I'm her lodger, rather than her tenant. Definitely one of those landlords who struggles to get their head round the concept that 'their' property is your home during the tenancy.

    I'm a hobbyist woodworker and currently making a birdbox as a gift for someone, working on it sporadically on weekends and occasionally during the week. I NEVER use power tools after 5pm, and I sweep up after myself. There is, unavoidably, a bit of sawdust left on the ground after I'm finished sometimes (a minimal amount, it's a friggin' birdbox).

    Despite having not so much as touched a piece of wood for the last fortnight (I've been busy with work) she has emailed me multiple times recently to ask when the woodwork will 'cease'. So far the laundry list of reasons includes: the drains will get blocked, there's dust all over the building, I can't breathe with all the dust, I'm going to repaint the house, the neighbours have complained, landlord insurance doesn't cover you doing woodwork - etc etc

    All of these are rubbish - to debunk just one example I've chatted to neighbours while I've been out there, they're lovely and never anything but interested in what I'm making. I think basically she just doesn't like the tiny amount of sawdust left in 'her' (i.e. my private, rented) patio and is clutching at straws to get me to stop.

    I haven't replied to any of these emails because when I have done in the past over other issues, she just comes back with more complete rubbish to try and get her way, so there's nothing to be gained from engaging. If I was out there using noisy tools all the time, or making a horrible mess I would understand her complaining - but the fact of the matter is I'm simply not, she's making it up. And like I say, haven't been doing any woodwork at all for the last few weeks.

    I was out in the garden today finishing up my birdbox and she leaned out her window and said I had to stop, that you can't do woodwork on the weekends, that the dust is making her cough, the neighbours complained - basically ran through all the reasons above. Ironically I wasn't even doing any cutting or sanding, I was just painting it today. I pushed back a little by pointing out I wasn't even doing anything that made dust, and asked what the neighbours said (she didn't have an answer because it never happened) but she was becoming visibly agitated so I just sort of nodded along to stop her getting wound up.

    So what do I do here? I don't want to upset her or wind her up, but at the same time I have a right to do my hobby on my own patio, and her being on my case is ruining my enjoyment of it. My tenancy runs until December at which point I'll probably move just to get rid of her, it's that bad. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    #2
    You could vacuum up the sawdust on the patio. Apart from that ignoring her is probably the best option. Ear defenders cut out all sorts of annoying noises...
    Or you could point out what 'quiet enjoyment' of your home means. If it was me I'd already have told her where to go but I might too confrontational.

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      #3
      Given what you have said she sounds OCD, i would be looking for something now and if you find it ask to be released early with zero penalties and go your own way.

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        #4
        Are the two flats purpose built (built like that) ? Or a conversion? Different sorts of tenancy.

        But landlord sounds like an OCD loonie - move, they ain't going to change.
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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          #5
          You have the right of quiet enjoyment which on the information you have given suggests is being breached.

          A letter advising your landlord of this plus stating if there are any issues she must inform you in writing and that you will not respond to verbal communications.

          And as pp said, find somewhere else if it bothers you and doesn't improve.

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            #6
            Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
            stating if there are any issues she must inform you in writing and that you will not respond to verbal communications.
            But writing is verbal.

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              #7
              Originally posted by royw View Post
              You could vacuum up the sawdust on the patio.
              What! Use a horribly noisy vaccum cleaner?

              That's sure to wind her up.

              As Artful says, she isn't going to change whatever you do, so it's your move- literally I'd suggest.

              (Or you could marry her then she'd just be a nagging wife?).

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