Hello, I am a leaseholder in dispute with a freeholder over privacy/noise issue. I own a basement flat in an 1850s Victorian house which is accessed by going down steps to reach my front door. Opposite my front door is a coalshed where the freeholder lets two tenants from a neighbouring building store their bikes. I have constant traffic down to my flat from these cyclists and, being a nightworker, I am woken up every day by them. It is a major nuisance and gives me no privacy at all. I have spoken to the freeholder and asked if the cyclists' bikes could be stored elsewhere or in their flats. I have also offered to rent the coalshed off them. But they are refusing to budge or help me out one bit. The freeholder owns two flats out of the four in my building as well as the steps and coalshed. Do I have any legal rights to privacy? Are there any legal steps I can take?
Hello I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
The coal shed is owned by the freeholder I take it and it is not a common part belonging to all the leaseholders? How far from your front door is the coal shed? Does you leasehold agreement set out any rules and obligations re: the use of the exterior grounds of the preoperty?
Yes, the coal shed is owned solely by the freeholderas
Yes, the coal shed is owned by the freeholder as is the the land and garden around the building. It is around 4ft from my front door, both of which are within an alcove at the bottom of the steps.
I have no legal rights over its use
I am afraid that the position then is that your landlord can use it as he wishes unless there are any specific prohibitions on the use in the lease or he is causing you harm through negligence. It is arguable that by letting the cyclists use the coal shed he has acted in way that will casue you to suffer from noise. But he has only let 2 of them use it and getting bikes out isn't an inherently noisy activity. I think it would be very hard to persuade a court that you had an action to bring here.
You may need to look to a practical way of harm reduction eg. maybe talking to the cyclists, explaining your situation and asking them to be more quiet. I know this is not the answer you are looking for but I have to answer honestly
Okay, I feared I didn't have a leg to stand on. But thanks for confirming it. Maybe one day I will meet a freeholder who isn't a shady, uncompromising a**hole but I won't hold my breath.
No don't hold your breath. I hope things improve. I would also be grateful if you cold rate my answer as if you do not do so I will not get paid for my answers to you.