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May 13

Your Tenants: Noisy Neighbours

I received an email from one of my tenants about a month ago; the property she rents from me is a ground floor Victorian conversion flat in South West London. The email she sent is as follows:

“The lady in the upstairs flat is very noisy. I spoke to her last night about the noise levels and invited her down to come and listen to what it sounds like when her washing machine and hoover are on at 9.45 at night every night downstairs in my flat but she declined by saying, I quote, "For #~@# sake. I will hoover when I want!" This has been going on for weeks and weeks now and I really am at the end of my tether. I fear that the anxiety the noise from upstairs at night is causing me is going to make me ill.”

As you can imagine on reading this my heart sank. My tenant is looking to me to resolve an issue that has clearly gotten out of hand and just because I own the property I am deemed to posses the power to accurately assess who is right, who is wrong, who is being unreasonable and how to fix it all. As the landlord my tenant felt I should have the powers of persuasion to convince the offending party to change their nightly noisy behaviour. Not likely. Am I within my rights to say “Sorry, not my problem”? of course, domestic disputes are outside the realms of landlords responsibilities. However, my tenants are good tenants, they are paying a good rent and the place is kept to an immaculate standard, I don’t really want them to leave because the lady upstairs does her house work at 9pm every night.

So I decided to offer myself up as an un-biased third party to try and amicably resolve the issues. I spoke to the lady upstairs who I knew owned the flat from dealings on the shared freehold and we managed to come to an agreement enabling everyone to enjoy their property. I was lucky; I managed to calm things down and resolve the issue without too much inconvenience. I imagine in most cases this type of solution would not have been possible, in which case all you can do is offer your tenants advice to help them through the situation, take a look at this website for advice https://www.gov.uk/how-to-resolve-neighbour-disputes/overview

So if you want to keep your tenants happy, take a bit of time to try and help them out. Do your best to solve the issues informally face to face and if the noisy party is a tenant it may well be worthwhile getting in touch with their landlord to see if you can all work out the situation. If all your best efforts fail offer your tenants the best advice you can and show willing to help them when possible. A little understanding and a bit of time might just save you costly estate agents fees in replacing your tenants or an undesirable void period.

Written by Sarah Male, Urban Sales and Lettings

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