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  • Belated "thank you"

    Thank you all so much for your warm welcome to the site, and I'm sorry I didn't respond before. By way of explanation, the last few months have been by turns terrible, and extremely hectic. The 'terrible' was a miscarriage. The hectic was starting new business and new career, having just qualified in my field after the most stressful and demanding course EVER (probably). And a whole slew of less impactful but no less significant other stuff. And my home computer was getting so creaky I just didn't have the patience to listen to it's complaints.

    ANYWAY, if my post hasn't gone completely cold by now, some extra info about NFH: they own the place, but we have a common hallway (an unusual set-up for houses, I'm told, but that's how all the houses in the street were built, circa 1900). The internal doors are both at the far end of the hallway and set at 90 degrees to each other, so the hallway ends in a sort of point. We own the freehold on the hallway. We also have a right of way throught their garden to take out rubbish and for maintenance of services. There's never been any friction about than as far as I know. We have talked to the NFHs about the problem twice, the first time amicably, the second time pointedly. I haven't made any complaints. After we bought the house, our neighbors on the other side told us that the previous owners had said they could hear the occupant at the time crying at night in her bed when they were in theirs. If I'd known that, I seriously wouldn't have bought the place. But they didn't tell me, and I didn't ask the right questions.

    The jist of the problem is that we can practically hear a pin drop in their house, partly because of the way they've converted it, and partly because it's an odd shape. It's a triangular end of terrace, and they've ripped out all the partitions on the ground floor and gone for a stripped bare, minimal look. It does look fabulous, but while they clearly spent alot of time and trouble on the design, they didn't give a moment's consideration to sound transmission. What they have, in effect, is a resonating amplifcation device which bounces all sound towards the party wall (because of the footprint shape of the house), with nothing to minimise it, like carpet, or soft furnishing. This creates a sort of sound differential, ie what we hear from them is very different from what they hear from us, because we have carpet and internal walls are intact. The pain of enduring the weekend major DIY for more than a year is another story.

    So, we told them we can hear everything they say, and everything they do. From everyday conversation to full-blown arguments, every chink of cutlery on china, every pull of chair from under table, every footstep and on and on and on. Fortunately, they don't go in for listening to music much, and they don't seem to have much of a social life. But, the big problem for me is the total lack of auditory privacy - if that makes sense. I DON'T WANT to hear their life - it's like the Beaky and Walrus (their affectionately bestowed nicknames - I've done a cartoon strip too!) radio show, twenty-four/seven. I don't want to know about the Walrus's eating problems, I don't want to hear Beaky's unceasing, whistled rendition of the A-Team theme tune... I'm being flippant, I know, but the list of trivial is endless, and much more significant in its entireity (fortunately they don't have sex!).

    The bizarre thing (to me) is they just don't care what we can hear. In a conversation yesterday which left me fuming for hours, the Walrus said that I was too 'sensitive to noise' and gave the distinct impression that she thought I was weird to be so bothered by it, and that it was really my problem. She's a very assertive and aggressive person, and in my typical, feeble, tongue-tied way I just couldn't articulate what I needed to until it was too late. I'm not sure that they're aware of the the difference in what they hear from us and what we hear from them. They hear our music if it's turned up (which is usually to screen out THEM!), and galmuphing on the stairs, that sort of thing, which is the sort of thing I would expect to be able to hear in a terraced house. Not pins dropping. I should be jubiliant that they're aiming to sell in 6 months, but our situation will escalate from the upsetting to the downright unbearable if the new incumbents are noisy. And I've gotten to the point that I feel like I would be pursued to the ends of the earth by the noise of inconsiderate people (because of a whole slew of things I won't bore you with now, not just this NFH) - bit of a victim mentality, I suppose, but I can't shake it on the bad days - and so of COURSE the new ones will be noisy.

    Anyway, that's my tedious tale of woe. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. I know you would tell me not to go ahead with the barbed wire and dog mess design I've created for the communual hallway (because I own the freehold, I CAN!), but that won't stop me from fantasising about it!

    Audrey K

  • #2
    Link to original post.



    Sorry though that you've had to come back and that your noise problem hasn't just disappeared (oh, how we wish).



    I really don't know what to suggest in this kind of situation. The first port of call with noise nuisance (after raising it with your neighbours) is to contact the Environmental Health Unit. I think they would have to come out and listen to the noise to see whether it was classed as a statutory nuisance or domestic noise (albeit noisy).



    Have you had visitors there who could act as witnesses to the noise/sounds?



    There are some members who have put up their own soundproofing and hopefully they'll be along shortly to share their experiences with you.



    Take care,



    Holly

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    • #3
      Hi Audrey, and welcome back . So sorry to hear you've been having such a stressful and upsetting time ...it would be nice not to have to put up with the ongoing noise problems, so that you could get back up on your feet again . However much you want to retaliate here....you're right, we would all say don't give your nfh one iota of an excuse to have any counter-complaint, or the satisfaction of any reaction from you. Mind you, a little healthy imagining doesn't do anyone any harm



      On a more serious note, it makes me wonder whether the previous owner took any action, lodged any complaints with Environmental Health about the noise. If they did, and then didn't declare this on the SPIF (Seller's Property Information Form), then you may have a case for action against them for failure to disclose a dispute. Interesting article on this subject below

      http://www.nfh.org.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=2441



      If your nfh are selling in 6 months, I would seriously think about going further with any complaint, as this will put you in the position of having to declare a dispute, which may affect the saleability of your property in the future. Only a thought, but worth considering? You might want to run the implications of it by a solicitor specialist in this area...a quick half hour appointment should be pretty cheap. If you do want to pursue the noise angle, then Holly's suggestion is the same as I would make.



      Hope someone can give the advice on sound-proofing again too....sounded useful



      Sorry not to be of much use here, but I do think it's worth a thought re disputes if your nfh are truly selling, and all fingers crossed for great neighbours instead of them



      All the best,



      Sapph



      P.s. And do visit and have a rant here any time; we all appreciate the need to do so when things just get too much!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Audrey



        Sorry to hear that it's still going on for you .



        I think that the only solution here will be to put in extra soundproofing - at least along the adjoining walls. Preferably in both you and your NFH's properties, but if I were you, I'd seriously consider it myself.



        John S had a thread a little while ago where he described how he put in sound insulating blocks from Wickes and it seems to have really done the trick :thumbs: .



        It's worth checking this out - if you can do it on your property, it would make the room a tiny bit smaller (as small as the width of the block) - I think it would be worth it.



        If you did go along the Env health route and decided to sell, you'd have to declare this - potentially causing problems selling for you :unsure: .



        Good luck and keep us posted :clover:



        Mazza

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        • #5
          Is their building work safe? Has it been passed by a building inspector? Have their DIY "improvements" damaged the structure of the house?



          Ask your insurance company for advice, they might be able to send an inspector round to check it out.



          BTW, when they sell they'll have to warn the new owner of your complaints and concerns. Not to do so could be to open themsleves up to legal action by the new owners.

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