Around the houses - We look at the problems encountered when trying to sell a flat
When trying to sell a property, the neighbours can make a big impression, good or bad, on your potential buyers. This is never more true than when marketing a flat in a shared block, as the actions of neighbours can make or break a sale.
Mary-Anne Bowring, founder director of the Ringley Group and creator of www.leaseholdersupport.co.uk, offers advice on one of the most common problems for flat owners.
Question : The tenant in the flat above me took up their carpet and underlay and has laid laminate flooring instead.
This doesn't sound like a huge problem but the noise created by the new flooring has no noise absorbent properties. The sound of footsteps from the flat above is a constant nuisance, along with the droning sound from music, voices and television.
What can I do about this, as I am kept awake at all hours and it is driving me to distraction? I am also worried that it will put off potential buyers, should they have a viewing when my neighbours are in.
Answer: Doing a simple thing such as taking up a carpet doesn't necessarily sound like a big problem. However it had an immediately impact on noise levels. Carpet and underlay are materials which have absorbent properties, and help in absorbing impact sounds such as footsteps. The other type of noise nuisance is called air-bourne sound such as music which results in droning noises.
The tenant who took up his carpet may be in breach of his lease, as a lease would usually have a clause requiring the owner to keep carpeted living areas. This means that the tenant risks losing the flat if he does not re-lay the carpet and underlay, no matter what the cost.
The are several remedies in law including an order for a specific performance or re-instate the carpet, or an action for breach of lease. To take action against the lessee for breach, otherwise known as forfeiture action under section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925, you need consent from the Leasehold Valuation tribunal or a judgement in the county court to precede service.