Q&A - Noisy Neighbours & Insulation


The flat above me was refurbished last summer. They took away all the rubble from under the floor between the joists & beams. House was built in 1841 & this rubble was a form of insulation. He said he has put in wonderful insulation under the floor boards [ there are no carpets]. The renting tenants he has put in are making my life HELL.I can hear everything [even snoring] & the walking /scrapping of chairs goes on until 1am. The Noise & Nuisance Service from the Council have written to them. But my big worry is to get the insulation improved. The owner is foreign & has never seen the flat [purchased " buy to let “] A not very helpful man is his contact here.

We all have the same written lease & the 6 owners have a share of Freehold [996yrs]


The lease states:

1]"That the Lessee will not do or permit or suffer in or upon the Premises or any part thereof which may at any time be or become a nuisance or annoyance to the Lessor or the owners or occupiers of any of the flats.

2] To cover & keep covered the whole floor surface of the flat comprised in the premises with carpet or other good & sufficient sound insulating material

The Managing Agent is hopeless. He just says keep a diary of the noise for the Council.. Should I go to our Freehold Solicitors & see if they can enforce the flat owner to put down carpet and good insulation? Any advice would be much appreciated.



Having noisy neighbours can be very unpleasant.  For better or for worse, neighbours are part of life and especially so in a house converted into flats. Neighbour disputes are common, and of those disputes the most common cause is noise.  You have already tried to solve the problem informally by contacting the representative of the owner of the flat, which has not resolved the issue.  

While involving the authorities may seem like a good idea when you are at your wits’ end, it is best where possible to avoid such action, for the sake of good neighbour relations and to avoid any formal notice being recorded at the local authority against your property which may make it more difficult to sell in the future.

The nuisance clause within the leases is to try and stop any leaseholder causing problems for other leaseholders in the building.  As the noise has not stopped after the council has warned your neighbours, the owner of the flat is in breach of his lease given the nuisance clause in the lease, and by not having suitable sound insulation for the flooring.  Some leases also say that leaseholders must not make noise audible outside their property at certain times (such as between 11pm and 7am).

Even where the leaseholders buy the freehold of their building, they are still bound by the tenants covenants and obligations.  Your lease may contain a clause that requires the landlord to enforce the covenants against any offending leaseholder.  This is known as a mutual enforceability covenant.  You can use this clause to enforce the covenants against the offending leaseholder although this will usually be at your cost.

Given that you own a share of freehold, it is recommended that you call a meeting of all the shareholders to decide to formally notify the leaseholder of his breach of lease and that should the breaches not be rectified, formal action will need to be taken.  One solution may be for suitable large rugs and runners to be laid down throughout the flat and if this still doesn’t resolve the noise situation, it may require that the flooring needs to be raised and proper acoustic underlay inserted to an agreed standard, or carpeted in full.

If all else fails, you can take legal action against your neighbour.  Taking someone to court can be expensive so it should be your last resort if nothing else works.


Iris-Ann Stapleton , Partner - Enfranchisement, Streathers

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