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Enjoy the Silence

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  • Enjoy the Silence

    Here goes........

    Missy, I have just read your story and it almost seems like in this case the tables are turned...

    In some kind of way it all started last february with a fantastic holiday in Thailand with my wife after which we came back to the UK with a little surprise.

    A few months after we found out that my wife was pregnant with our little baby girl (who's now 5 months old today) I embarked on a frantic mission to build our nest asap.

    We finally found a house in London and we moved in mid August after a couple of weeks of DIY on the property. The noise started the day I stepped in to do the DIY but I thought that it was just a way to muffle the noise that I was making during the wrong I was.

    It all started with extremely loud TV all hours of the day and intermittent thumping music during the day (mostly). At first we tried to be very understanding and didn't say a thing as we felt that it would have been unappropriate given that we had obviously made noise for them whilst I was doing the DIY and whilst I moved in the furniture and arranged everything. ..By the way, they never once complained about our noise and we were very careful to work on the house between 9 to 5pm; we also said to them that if they thought that we made too much noise to tell us and we'd stop.

    After a while, my wife found it too difficult and we had to complain. At first it wasn't too bad.. I guess. We mentioned to them that things were a bit noisy and they did turn things down a little but for short durations of time. After a while though, they first started making all kind of excuses (e.g. the volume control on their TV was broken) and soon they started saying that we complained too much and that they should be able to listen to TV and music in their house at whatever level they felt comfortable with.

    In a way all of this bothers me somewhat coz we are so considerate; since the floor separating us is the traditional boarded timber floor, I installed impact noise dampeners before redoing the floor and we always walk in socks or slippers; also we always keep the TV volume low - even now so that they don't have any reason to complain!

    Anyway, you can guess that I started to get quite hot under the collar; it was quite hard work trying to stay calm and composed especially when I would come back home to a pregnant wife crying for stress and seeing her dream home turned into a living nightmare! Not easy at all!

    What was (and still is) bad was that they made noise all day and night. If it wasn't the stereo, it was the TV in the sitting room; if not that the TV in the mother's bedroom or the one in the kitchen. These people have TV's everywhere! Plus, they generally keep one of the TV's on all day! On top of that, the little boy plays basketball in the house (no joke) and he runs and jumps everywhere.

    Now of course I complained to the authorities and of course they eventually served them with the appropriate warning and notice. I did try to apprach the NFH amicably one more time but that's when face to face communications ended with them completely.

    The scene was as follows: 3am, kid playing basketball under my bedroom; eldest daughter in kitchen blasting the stereo; mum blasting on channel 5 in the sitting room. I knock, daughter answers, I say "Look someone has been playing basketball under my head for the last 5 hours! I can't sleep, my wife can't slepp, you know she is pregnant; also your TV is deafening." Reply :" IT's the kids, can't tell them anything; when your wife delivers it will be the same with your kids". I say "I doubt it I'll educate my kids to be caring and well manners; don't you send your kids to sleep; can't you control them?"... At which point comes running towards me "THE raging Bull" (i.e. the 50 ton mother with the filthiest mouth; you don't want to know the way in which she speaks to her kids); grabs the front door, slams it (almost hitting my arm) and yells "f**k off out of my house you fu**ing ar****le". So that's it. I have never spoken to them again; it's no point trying to.

    Now, my REAL problem is what to do next.

    I have been advised NOT to complain to the authorities again coz if they are taken to court I'd have to disclose it when I sell (and then no one would buy). I think the downside to this is actually quite bad. Even if they eventually get fined or the equipment gets confiscated they may retaliate against us; it is not me that I am worried about but my wife and baby.

    Someone suggested suing the people who sold the property to us for not disclosing the fact that the NFH were noisy but then a good friend/solicitor friend of mine told me not to coz it's not easy to do that and it is time consuming.

    I have looked at sound proffing but it is expensive and difficult cosidering that the work would have to be carried out whils we are living in the house.

    It sounds awful but the only solution seems to sell the property without disclosing the fact that the neighbours are noisy? If I did that could I really be sued?

    I don't know what to do? Is it really worth my while pursuing this with the council? I think that the mum downstairs is somewhat protected coz she has support due to her back condition (brought on by her weight problem) and two she is undergoing a divorce with her husband who has lived away from home from several years

  • #2
    Hi there silent nights.

    welcome to the site, your story is another horrible one showing how nasty people can be,

    I would first like to say thank you for putting down mufflers! If only everyone could do that. It sounds like you have gone out of your way to be nice.

    I understand what it is like to have so much noise during the night, you can get to boiling point, try and count to ten though before going round, I have also banged on NFH door during the wee hours.

    dont what ever you do give them any behavoiurs they can use against you, it isn't worth it.

    you need to make a record of all noise and abuse and get the EHO involved (again), any noise after 11pm is treated seriously by them and you certainly have a case.

    not complaining will do your sanity no good at all.

    you will be able to sell and hey, if you have to disclose it then disclose it!

    you might get a lower price for your house but you wont have to listen to the lovely family next door!

    you really need to decide what is best for you and your family.

    you wil need to hae record of noise before you contact them otherwise they will just tell you to do one taking up more time.

    if it its gets way down the line the family can actually be fined for the noise.

    and being disabled is no reason to be so nasty,

    I wish you all well


    • #3
      I feel for you there, Silentnights.

      Difficult to give much advice as I expect you know the score pretty well.

      It's a shame that you aren't being left to enjoy your blessings. Each option; fight, flight or ignore, seems to have its difficulties.

      Engaging in battle with 50 ton dragon sounds no fun.

      In our situation moving worked. We carefully worded how we had various problems in the sellers information form. Perhaps the buyers felt we were partly to blame. We're delighted with the place we traded up to, and can watch wild deer from our patio on occasion now, but I digress... If I was in your shoes I'd consider selling up or renting out and revisiting Thailand as a family (apologies if this is a daft idea)

      I hope that whatever option you choose works well for you.

      I am really sorry that I'm unable to offer you much more constructive help. You are in the right place to find it, though.


      • #4
        Hi SilentNights,

        And welcome to the board. Sorry to hear about your NFH situation. What is it with these people? It's as though they have been born with something missing!!!

        It must be horrible for your wife to have to be there all day with the noise, especially with a small baby to look after. Even without an NFH new-motherhood can be a stressful time. That's not to detract from what you're suffering.

        From what you say you sound as though you might be thinking about selling up. I can only tell you what I'd do in your situation. If I was seriously thinking of moving I wouldn't involve the EHO etc. You'd have to declare it and that could devalue the price of your house. If on the other hand you want to stay then do all in your power to get some action.

        It might sound harsh not to tell any prospective buyers about the noise. It's a question of survival (as someone told me once ). Anyway, for all you know your prospective buyer might be even noisier than your NFH. Now there's something to fantasize about

        Anyway, whatever you decide, I hope things work out for you and your family. Good luck and let us know how things progress

        "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


        • #5
          Welcome to the board SN

          You're certainly in a difficult position that's for sure and anyone in your situation would rightly consider the implications and safety of yourself and your family, you all are the most important thing in this. I think you may have to declare the fact that you've had a dispute with your neighbours, but depending on the question and how it's asked/put - for example one board member I believe answered "NO" quite truthfully to the question "have you ever had any formal disputes with your neighbour/s". This is where you're obviously getting at - 'formal' is obviously classed as court action etc.

          Badger has recently given some good advice in another post - be creative and careful how you word things, keep it non-commital if possible and vague.

          Certainly a tricky one for you - move or stay and fight them against the ongoing problems. Ultimately the decision is yours and it all depends on your means to move and if you even want to - sounds like you had moved into the house you really wanted and to be pushed out by selfish neighbours like them really isn't fair, but as I always think your health is more important always. Is there any chance they may go? It doesn't sound like they will do, but thought I'd ask anyway.

          I complained to the authorities and of course they eventually served them with the appropriate warning and notice[/b]

          May I ask what was served by the Local Authority - was it an official noise-abatement notice or a first-stage warning/notification letter etc? Have you had sound-recording equipment in and been keeping noise logs etc? What stage did you get to officially?

          You've done all the normal things already, and quite frankly I wouldn't blame you for not wanting to communicate any more with your NFH even if they did want to talk! They sound absolutely nasty bullies with little parenting skills! It must be very stressful and very draining. Is your daughter sleeping OK at night?

          Come back often and let us know what's happening ok


          • #6
            Hi SN

            What kind of tenure does the woman downstairs have? Owner? Tenant (of Housing Association/ Council/ Private Landlord?) If she is a tenant, then you could try to raise the problem with her landlord.

            As everyone else has said, you are in a difficult situation and I can fully empathise with you. You want the best for you and yours. You need to make a family decision about what you want to do and once you have made that decision, I hope that everything else will then fall in to place for you.

            Wishing you all the very best in whatever you decide.


            • #7
              Hi Silentnights,

              I'm so sorry that your are suffering also. I do not know what the best solution is but I have followed all the procedures that I thought I should & have now been told that selling my house may be a problem. However, I need to look into this further & I'm sure that you'll get better advice from some of the other members on this one. I think that if it is officially recorded then yes you have to declare when moving on & yes it may affect the sale & you may have to settle for less than you want. But to be honest I don't know enough.

              But you really should not have to suffer the way you are, & its so annoying that when you initially confront these people they are abusive as with my nfh. Now we are also at the non-speaking stage, when to me it seems such a shame that we couldn't just talk.

              Pursuing things with the council may not necessarily mean a court case but you need to do something. I used to sometimes sit down & write letters to the nfh, explaining how bad they were affecting my life & what we could all do about the bad feelings that had arisen. I only did this to get it out of my system, & didn't send them until one day I thought, why not! - this was mentioned in my postings, & I think its a great idea to do this. Just try not to make it a confrontational one, as diificult as it may seem. You never know.

              Take care & good luck



              • #8
                Hi Silentnight,

                I feel for you in the situation that you are in. Noise is horrendous and disturbs you greatly and having a bambino is both a great joy for you both, but also a massive learning curve also. You don't need this to come along and crush this wonderful time for you both.

                Have you spoken to your solicitor who did the conveyancing on your property purchase ? The reason why I ask this is because is there any way that the previous owners could have complained but failed to disclose this on the buyers information book. If they had made a complaint, they would be in serious trouble. Firstly that book is a legally binding document and failure to withold or give misleading information leaves you wide open to be sued.

                There was about two weeks ago now, a full page spead in the Daily Mail with something similar although this was a boundary dispute involving a driveway. The sellers failed to mention the ongoing dispute and when the purchasers found that they had purchased a property with this going on they successfully sued the previous owners. They judge awarded £70,000.00 (seventy thousand pounds) in settlement.

                You have a clear right of redress here. Yes it is going to cost you. No you will not get legal aid. But boy will it worth it. If the previous owners have dilberately mislead you I advise you to seek redress through the courts - sue them. It is happening an awful lot now some cases are settled before they reach court some go to court directly. The judges are generally finding in favour of the plaintiff (purchaser). You will be financially rewarded providing the case is clear that crucial information was withheld. It will cause you sleepless nights and worry, but get yourself a good brief and you should come out the winner. If you can do a lot of the groundwork i.e. getting copies of the forms that the previous owners have made complaints to authorities etc and you will help keep the costs down albeit only a fraction.

                I would be incredibly surprised if the previous owners have not made a complaint. I do not think for one moment the previous people would have allowed it to go unchecked for so long.


                • #9
                  Dear All,

                  I really am overwhelmed. Even though I saw that people do respond witha lot of advice, reading all that you have given me really takes it home. Thanks for all the support and all the advice. Here's my reply:

                  I guess we are pretty determined to sell. I am looking now at who and whether I should take anyone to court but I want to really want to make sure I take the right decision. I am going to speak to two different solicitors tomorrow. If anyone is interested I'll forward the names - they are meant to be good. Conversely, should you have any recommendations let me know. Hopefully the sale won't take long; I'd love to go back to Thailand - there is a possibilty to go and live somewhere tropical in the not so distant future - you are definitely all invited when we go there.

                  As far as the local authority is concerned, they served them first a warning and then the notice of noise abatement - it was at this point that we were advised by some friends that it would be wiser not to go further coz we may have to disclose this. Is it really to late to withold the problem from potential buyers?

                  I did go back to my conveyerors and I wasn't really impressed. They referred me to a solicitor and he said that I wouldn't need to disclose anything. To be honest I wasn't convinced by what he had to say. That's why I am asking others. In the questionnaire the previous owners said answered "No" to have there been any disputes and "No" is there anything that could be cause for a dispute. Is this sufficient evidence?

                  I have become friendly with another of my neighbours who said that part of the reason for the previous owner to sell was that the people downstairs were noisy; he also said that it didn't affect her too much though because she stayedmost of the time at her boyfriends (with whom she has bought a new place now). I know that there was another tenant with her; maybe I could get her to confirm that the NFH's were noisy under the pretence that I am taking the NFH's to court. WHat do you think? Aslo, would statements from the other neighbours to this effect help me in case I brought the previous owners to court (I'd actually just sell and go).

                  As far as the NFH's are concerned, I am their landlord (I am the freeholder); I thought of using several clauses in the leasehold agreement to put pressure on them but again, I think that the downside to this far outweighs the upside. I know that ultimately I can apply for eviction but given that she is likely to be on benefits and what not and that she is goig through witha divorce, I don't think that this can lead to anywhere.


                  • #10
                    My advice SN is go to various different solicitors, they have to give you by law the first thirty minutes free consultation. Get their advice and see what they think. Going to numerous different solicitors will give you a broad overview of what you are going up against and what action to take. You will need to get some ball park figures also for taking on the previous owner if you want it to go to trial.

                    I'm not happy about a solicitor saying that you wouldn't need to disclose anything, I remember when I sold my property I had to disclose EVERYTHING and there is a disclaimer that states along the lines of that if you withhold any information deliberately you could find that legal action would be taken against you. So for a solicitor to come up with that I am a bit surprised !

                    The bit where it said "Is there any cause for dispute" and she answered No could be your get out of jail card. If she knew of the noise and you could prove it through her flatmate using the pretence that you are taking NFH to court (get it in writing), I would say you have a reasonable argument to sue. With her just knowing about it she has falsely stated NO. If you can get flatmate on your side with her statement in writing and arm yourself with this for a solicitor you may stand a very good chance to seek some kind of legal redress.

                    As I said earlier go to see several different solicitors and go by your gut feeling.

                    See how you get on and let us know .


                    • #11
                      Please do not fall in to the trap of poor NFH going through a hard time!!

                      b*m to them!

                      if you have the power to chuck them out then do it!!

                      if you give them notice they can go to the council and because of her "disablity" they will re -house her and the brood straight away!!

                      you sound like a nice man.....too nice, you have to think of your family, you have a new baby!!

                      as for the poor nFH going through a divorce...well it is a shame but is it really an excuse to let her torment you and your wife!!!!

                      from what you have described she is not a very nice person, we can all make excuses for things that happen but in the end it is down to her!

                      we have all gone through the denile bit when first faced with NFH. Made excuses for them etc.

                      if it is in your power to change your life then you must.

                      please dont feel quilty about what might happen to this person.....think about what she has put you through.......and your wife when she was pregnent.....

                      I am sure you are a really nice guy but you need to get tough for you and your family!!


                      • #12
                        A landlord living in the same house can evict tenants at very short notice. If I recall correctly it's 24 hours notice in acrimonious cases.

                        Is that info any use?

                        All the best SN. Think of Thailand and smile. I'm sure you didn't come all the way back over here just to lock horns with a fearsome nfh.



                        • #13
                          Well everyone thanks again for the advice.

                          Spoke to another solicitor and, sadly, he advised me to definitely disclose the fact that I complained to the LA. Anyway, I wish I could spend more time on your stories but I work far too many hours; I'll try over the weekend.

                          The reason that I am writing now is actually coz I just needed to.... I came back home tonight and my wife was crying...she was talking outside with another neighbour when the nasty daughter from the NFH hurled some abuse at her. Then when Nelly got in the house the monster put the stereo full blast just to spite her. When I heard this my mediterrenean bllod started to boil...I was that close. Sometimes I really think of having someone putting the frighteners on them. Don't worry I am far too catholic....maybe I'll make them an offer they can't refuse.

                          I'll keep you posted. If it wasn't for wife and baby I would have been in full battle already.



                          • #14
                            I know the feeling, SN. Thinking about my nearest & dearest stopped me from doing anything too silly.

                            I shouldn't worry that you'll never sell. Prospective buyers may well think any dispute is at least part your fault anyway. Let them.

                            Good luck. Enjoy your family.