Neighbour is complaining about my tenants - what can I do?

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    Neighbour is complaining about my tenants - what can I do?

    I have owned an upper flat for 6 years and had a succession of tenants while the downstairs neighbour owns his property and remains the same. During this time he has taken issue with some, (but not all) of the tenants and made life so unpleasant one way or another that several have left citing him as the reason. The complaints vary, it’s not always noise, but it seems like he is never happy if he doesn’t like them . I usually only find out about this when someone is on the point of leaving when it’s too late. I wonder how many others have moved without saying anything.

    My flat is let to 3 young working men who all have jobs in bars and restaurants, therefore work late shifts. They come in from work, relax and wind down before going to bed. The neighbour started to complain to them about noise and in particular about them walking round the flat in the night. He has tried to sort this out by banging on the door and yelling at them which probably wasn’t the best way to approach them. They feel they can’t help when they have to work and there is no suggestion they are playing loud music or anything excessive, just walking about.
    I have spoken to the tenants, put a large rug down in the living room and been to the neighbour’s flat to hear the noise and I can’t agree that it’s unreasonable. I have contacted the council to ask advice and supplied the neighbour with the Noise Team’s number for him to contact if he thinks things are unreasonable so he can have the noise monitored.

    He is now holding me responsible. He phoned me the other day at 5am to say the tenants were walking about and has told me to “sort them out”. He seems to have a bee in his bonnet about one in particular who is not going to let the neighbour stop him from living a normal life, although I’m afraid that one day he will snap. Another of the guys has already left as this neighbour accused him of vandalising his car and called the police. The neighbour also has a camera trained on my door to see who comes in and out and has on one occasion entered my flat without permission and taken photographs of the bathroom when I was having some repairs done.

    My question is, is there anything else I can reasonably do? I can’t monitor the behaviour of the tenants - they pay their rent, keep the place clean and seem very reasonable to me. I’ve listened to the noise and don’t think it’s unreasonable, although at night I can understand it may seem louder.

    The flat had laminate floor when I bought it. The neighbour suggested carpeting it but it’s very practical as it is. Also, the noise complaints have not occurred with previous tenants so he can’t really say this has always been a problem as it’s not something he has said over the previous years. It feels like an expensive and not guaranteed way of appeasing him. Any advice?

    What has the neighbour previously complained about, if not noise?

    What does your lease say, if anything, about floor coverings?


      I think you should seriously consider the carpet option.

      I thought you were my neighbour when I first read this, but as you only have 3 tenants you can't be, I have 6 people stomping around above me at all hours and it is chronic.

      Even if you think your tenants are being considerate the noise is magnified by laminate/wooden flooring and at night will more of an issue.


        I'd check your lease as to what floor coverings are permisible - you may have to have carpets in certain areas. Fitting a carpet would also give the opprtunity to fix down any loose boards that are creaking.

        If the flats are conversion type - ie the building used to be a house or similar - or a purpose built block over 15-years old then sound proofing is going to be poor by modern standards. Other than fitting carpets there's not a lot more that can be done that doesn't involve construction work.

        Unfortunately, that's it. The downsides of living in a flat is that you're in close quarters to other people. The neighbour doesn't seem to get this.

        I would take a firm line with the trespassing. I'd would clearly state that they have no right to enter the flat uninvited unless it is an emergency. Being nosey is not an emergency.

        I'd also raise the issue with the freeholder, along with the installation and use of the cctv cameras.
        There is always scope for misinterpretation.

        If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

        Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.


          He previously complained about one of my tenants being gay! Unfortunately the poor guy had done a runner before I could confront that one. I think he had made homophobic comments on a regular basis but the tenant hadn't told me until he emailed to say he had posted the keys through the door and moved out.

          He's complained about tenants smoking outside, having a backlog of rubbish when their bin was stolen, parking on the (shared) driveway and hanging washing in the (shared) yard.

          It just seems if he takes a dislike to someone he finds a way to annoy them.


            A neighbour is your cheapest form of insurance - highlighting problems to you early.

            Carpet the place.

            Write to neighbour, calm & polite, asking him if he has contacted council over his issues & if he wishes to to put them in writing to you. If he won't document the problem I would not take (much) action.

            If he does document problems I would write to tenants mentioning the complaints & asking for their comments.

            His actions are approaching harassment of you & tenants.

            Tricky, you don't want to completely fall out with him.

            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...


              Carpet seems the best option, I think that green stuff you put under laminate flooring might help to reduce the footsteps noise. I used this in one house when bf had to get up at 5 am and the boards creaked.


                I have had a potential similar problem, luckily flat downstairs advised me just after I bought, all I did extra was secure loose floor boards, put down hardboard then cloud 9 underlay ( cheap on ebay) then carpets I was planning anyway.

                Problem solved laminate flooring being the root cause. Cloud 9 was laid to enhance sound proofing.

                Appreciate on this case neighbour may be nightmare for others reasons but flooring will not help.


                  I can only echo (no pun intended) the idea of carpet, its your best bet. Also change your number so the neighbour can not keep calling you, that is out of order, any problem he has is with the tenants not you. He sounds like an arse, as said above, he lives in a flat... not a detached house, get over it. There will also be more noise living in a flat, especially a ground floor one. If they work shifts then they will be up early and home late.... at least they do work ! Not like a lot these days who seem to be happy on benefits. You seem to have done more than most would have done, me included. Good luck.


                    As well as carpet advice, all you can do is ask Ts politely to behave in neighbourly manner. They may claim 'him below' disturbs them with loud radio when they are trying to sleep.

                    Otherwise don't get involved, 'him below' can report neighbour nuisance to Council.


                      Sounds like this is grumpy old man, young late working male tenants and a building with little sound insulation.

                      Firstly start unplugging your phone at night or switch it off to avoid the harassment calls.

                      3 young male, bar working tenants are never going to be quiet so may at next let try a different type of tenant.

                      Yes to carpet or even rugs - those green tiles as suggested by Berlingogirl are not very effective - I've tried them.

                      Lastly do as Artful suggests and try not to re-act to him - he thrives on it.

                      Freedom at the point of zero............


                        Well the noises you make at 7pm hometime are very different at 1am when the world and a building are silent. You might not hear a cupboard door slam or a conversation when your tv is on, but at 1am you will.

                        Try sleeping a night at the chaps flat below and your perspective might change. it doesnt matter if you bought the flat with laminate the lease is what counts on the type of flooring.

                        Moreover while they do maintain the home and pay rent, that is not the extent of your obligation as flat owner to ensure to other owners and residents that you or anyone in your home does not cause a nuisance or disturbance to others at any time and specifically in the hours of generally 10 to 7.

                        They need to understand that when they were younger and at home with their parents they would not have behaved like that when they got in from a night out, out of consideration, The same applies here.
                        Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.


                          One other thing that hasn't been mentioned.
                          If your 3 tenants are unrelated then you are in HMO territory and involving the local council could cost you in safety improvements, depending on their HMO policies.


                            He is clearly a misanthropic arse, and will never be happy, so trying to appease him is almost certainly a waste of time and money, and will probably only lead to increased demands.

                            If you have a smart phone you can download an app which will block nuisance numbers (or just set the ringtone for him to silent). If you do want to engage with him at all, you could tell him that you find that his attitude is unreasonable, but that if he is prepared to be more neighbourly then you will reciprocate with co-operation as best you can. I doubt that he will be receptive to that idea though.

                            Do check the lease to see what it says about floor coverings. However, while the man is being a drama queen (possibly he's a closet case himself) I wouldn't go to the expense of laying carpet to placate him, even if you're required to do so, until you get a letter threatening you with legal proceedings unless you comply.

                            Other than such non-compliance with the lease on your part, noise-nuisance problems are a matter between him, your tenants and the local authority (who will laugh at him if they are as minor as you suggest).


                              Originally posted by DNM2012 View Post
                              One other thing that hasn't been mentioned.
                              If your 3 tenants are unrelated then you are in HMO territory and involving the local council could cost you in safety improvements, depending on their HMO policies.
                              Three persons sharing a flat does make an HMO.

                              Freedom at the point of zero............


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