Getting landlord to replace LAMINATE-hell flooring upstairs

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    Getting landlord to replace LAMINATE-hell flooring upstairs

    Hi

    I'm a tenant in Scotland, renting from a private landlord.

    I've been unable to sleep properly for months due the unbelievable amount of noise produced by the floor upstairs. The floorboards are loose (probably disturbed by a past subsidence problem), resulting in loud creaks, and over the floorboards (with no insulation in between) is that hellish wood-laminate floor.

    I'd appreciate any ideas about my (legal) position with regard to the landlord and the upstairs tenant. I prefer NOT to invoke the law unless cordial negotiation breaks down - but I like to know that (whether?) it's at my back.

    The landlord owns both properties (mine and the one upstairs). Here's what I've done to try to resolve the problem:

    1. 4 months into the lease (April): Had a chat with the neighbour about the noise, asked him not to walk around his bedroom (above mine) late at night, or roll across the room in a swivel-chair. (This, he explained, was part of his exam-revision habit). Agreed, and I helped him move a table into another room so that he could use that one instead.
    2. 5 months ago (July). Had another chat with the neighbour, explaining that it wasn't unreasonable behaviour by him that was the problem, but the shocking condition of the floor. (He only has to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, to produce unbelievable noise in my bedroom below!). Came up with a plan whereby _I_ would remove the laminate flooring and screw down the floorboards properly, and the landlord would then pay for carpet to be fitted by carpet-fitters. Landlord agreed to this (verbally).
    3. 4 months ago (August). Started work on this, on a portion of the hall (which is also above my bedroom). Agreed with neighbour that I'd continue and finish the work when he was next out.

    Since then, made 4 attempts to arrange to continue the work, and arrange a window of a few days (3 days approx) when the job can be done and the carpetfitters can come. Each time the neighbour refused to give me a time to access and do the work, or arrange a time in the near future. In the last conversation the neighbour became abusive and walked away.

    I'd obtained a quote from a carpet company for £275 (for the bedroom and hall upstairs), which the landlord looked at, then saying he had a contact who could do it for less. (To put this in perspective, the rents on each flat in this 4-flat building are £500pcm).

    Contacted the landlord by phone after this: he's adopting a "hands-off" position, claiming he never agreed to the plan, and dismissing my concerns saying "no-one else ever complained about noise".

    I'm currently sleeping in the front room (with street noise, as well as floor noise from the neighbour's front room), using major earplugs and melatonin to allow me to sleep.

    I think I've tried my best to resolve this situation; if the landlord won't listen then I may have to escalate, getting the local council or similar involved. Does anyone have any opinion, perhaps from encountering a similar situation (either as a landlord or tenant)?

    thanks for any input!

    #2
    May I suggest you post on the 'scottish' board as the knowledge on here is mainly English/Welsh law.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by seb27 View Post
      Came up with a plan whereby _I_ would remove the laminate flooring and screw down the floorboards properly, and the landlord would then pay for carpet to be fitted by carpet-fitters. Landlord agreed to this (verbally).
      3. 4 months ago (August). Started work on this, on a portion of the hall (which is also above my bedroom).
      Notwithstanding Snorker's reply - have you or your landlord given any consideration to whose responsibility the fall-out will be if/when you put a screw through a hidden electric cable, or gas/water pipe?

      Comment


        #4
        Agree. It should be the landlord that is responsible for repairing floorboards in another property not you. Sometimes this is just a fact of life when living in a flat with poorly insulated floors. In fact flat living in any property will bring a degree of noise. Have you maybe considered moving to a top floor flat or small house?

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your replies.

          ErictheLobster: Good point about the risk of damage from doing work on floor.

          I offered to do this work myself as a contribution from me towards solving the problem. The landlord is extremely reluctant to pay for any work on the property.

          QuestforFreedom: yes, I agree that some noise is inevitable. But after serveral months of trying to get used to it, I concluded that I just can't. Some noise during the day is not ideal, but tolerable. It's being unable to sleep at night that has been driving me nuts.

          I was hoping that there's some objective measure of tolerable, and intolerable noise, that I could draw on to demonstrate to the landlord that this situation is not tolerable.

          Comment


            #6
            Local Authorities generally have an arbritation team (or person) who will assist in disputes of this nature. We had a similar issue (as a landlord) when our tenant complained about the amount of noise being generated by visiting grandchildren on laminate flooring downstairs from our flat. The children were daily visitors. The council got involved and the number of hours the children visited was drastically reduced - until the grandparents moved out of the flat and the Council gave the flat to the mother and children who had originally caused the problem. Our tenant moved and her daughter who has two children of her own took on the tenancy.

            I suspect that if you really can't find a good resolution then the only recourse would be to move.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MrsMac View Post
              Local Authorities generally have an arbritation team (or person) who will assist in disputes of this nature. We had a similar issue (as a landlord) when our tenant complained about the amount of noise being generated by visiting grandchildren on laminate flooring downstairs from our flat. The children were daily visitors. The council got involved and the number of hours the children visited was drastically reduced - until the grandparents moved out of the flat and the Council gave the flat to the mother and children who had originally caused the problem. Our tenant moved and her daughter who has two children of her own took on the tenancy.

              I suspect that if you really can't find a good resolution then the only recourse would be to move.
              Thanks for telling your story. It gives me hope to know that the Council can do something if necessary.

              One thing that's been made clear reading your account (and others) is that there's a clear difference between two kinds of noise problems:

              a) Where the neighbour is clearly engaging in unreasonable behaviour. For example, playing loud music late at night, running up and down at 3am. In those cases the problem clearly lies with the resident neighbour.
              b) Where the neighbour isn't doing anything particularly unusual or inconsiderate, but the result is intolerable noise for others, because of the structure of the building - in both our cases, because of that hellish laminate flooring. In that case it's up to the landlord to do something about the building and insulation.

              My situation is clearly a B situation. It's reassuring to realise that; and that, given that, I've handled it in the right way up to now: engaging courteously with my neighbour (so that he did, in fact, change some things he was doing that were possible to change); and then emphasising after that the problem was not with him but with the condition of the floor above me.

              When disputes like this escalate (and when the landlord tries to wriggle out of acknowledging that there's a problem, even trying to wriggle out of an agreement we made months ago), it's sometimes hard to keep your own sense of sanity!

              As you say, moving is always a final option... I'm reluctant to, since there are so many good things about this place - including a neighbour I've previously got on very well with.

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