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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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we paid 50% of costs of building the sound proof barrier between

Resolved Question:

we paid 50% of costs of building the sound proof barrier between ours (top) and neighbours (bottom) flats. The barrier is constructed as a suspended ceilling in the bottom flat. Do we own our neighbour's ceiling in 50%?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
,
Thank you question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
You do not own your neighbour's ceiling or have any rights to it. Your rights will encompass the demised premises as detailed in your lease - the same will be true of your neighbour.
This would just be expenditure as maintenance of the building. Is the reason why you agreed to do this because you have wooden floors and this is prohibited under the lease?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks answer.

It is an old, Victorian house with wooden floors but the lease do not forbid to have this type of flooring.

There was a noise transfer into both flats so, when the bottom flat was sold and a new owner started a total renovation of it, we sugested to make it soundproof and offered to pay 50% of costs without suggesting any detailed what has to be done.

Because the ceilling in the bottom flat turned out to be damaged asbestos, the bottom flat owner built suspended ceiling insulating it with sound proof material. Then they called us and ask to pay 50% of costs of the whole construction claiming that we asked them to build it and that we agreed to pay 50% of it.

We paid them 50% of all costs presented (without any contract) and got a receipt payment.

I asked them to prepare a contract which says that this new structure is a sound proof barrier not a normal ceiling and cannot be desmantled or damaged by any future owner of the bottom flat. They refuse to prepare any contract.

Now I noticed that they cut holes in the ceiling/sound proof barier's plasterboards and instoled hallogen lamps.

I asked them if it is right to cut holes in sound proof barier ( I paid 50% - I paid and plastering of it as well as any other element of the barrier).

They ansvered that it is their ceiling so they can do whatever they want.

I and they own the freehold of the property 50% each.

Can I force them to sign a contract which will properly describe the structure which was build in their flat and to stop them from making holes in sound proof barrier?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
,
Thank you.
Can you confirm why you offered to pay sound proofing in the first instance? Were you obliged to?
Has it damaged your property installing the halogen lamps?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks AJ, it's really kind of you that you show such interest.

We have been living in the property few years so we knew that both flats were poorly insulated. When the bottom flat was sold and a new owners started thorough renovation we asked them to consider to remove their old ceiling (which was in poor condition) in order to put soundproof material over it. We told them that it would benefit both flats so we will pay 50% of costs of this operation.

It was only a general proposition without any details. After a few months of renovation the new owners called us to their flat and told us that they could not remove the oryginal ceiling (in order to place sound proof material over it) because the ceiling turned out to be asbestos. But because they recognised the need of sound proofing of our flats they just build a soud proof barrier under the oryginal, asbestos ceiling - in form of suspended ceiling - not over it like we proposed.

They presented as with a high bill and asked to pay "like we promised". We were suprised because any details of work were not discused with us and it costed more than we expected. But they argued that they will move to the flat very soon, we will be neighbours, we cannot start our relationship with a conflict, that we should be decent people, that asbestos in their flat was fitted benefit as a fire proof barrier etc - so we finally paid the bill.

Now, when the renovation is finished, no-one is living in the bottom flat - it is again.

Our building is Victorian villa with originally high ceilings and other historic features. We are afraid that another new owner who will buy the bottom flat can say "I do not like my lower ceilings. I want them high again" and that they dismantle what we paid for.

When the current owners instoled halogen lamps they did not damaged our flat at all. They just demonstrated that they do not treat the new build structure as a sound proof barier but just as their ceiling ( I paid 50%).

We would like to do something to ensure that the next owners of the bottom flat will know that what they have over their heads it is not just "their ceiling" but a sound proof barrier we paid 50% of costs. Is it possible?

Regards,

JL

PS. sorry English, it's not my first langusge

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
,
Thank you.
Can you tell does your lease say anywhere that neither tenant can make any structural alteration without the consent of the landlord?
Also based on what you have said above the roof presumably also helps insulated your property? Is this correct?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

,

The lease says clearly that each leaseholder has to get a landlord's permission structural alteration. I need their permission, they need mine.

But when I paid structure which my neighbours built I presumably gave them my permission.

I paid structure because the structure benefits my property.

But when I paid structure it was clearly expressed (verbally), by me and by my neighbours, that we are talking, paying and entering into the contract about the "sound proof barrier" not my neighbours' ceiling.

When our neighbours call us to explain what they build both sides, we and them, were talking exclusively about a "sound proof barrier". I have never consented to pay 's ceiling. When the list of costs was presented to us it was presented as "a list of cost sound proof barrier". On the list (I have a copy signed by my neighbours) there are all materials used by them and how much they cost. On the list there are plasterboards and plastering what in practice means "the ceiling".

The whole project of building the structure was prepared, designed and built by my neighbours and it was entirely their decission to include plasterboards and plastering ("the ceiling") in the costs of "sound proof barrier", the share of which was sold to me.

Regards

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
,
Thank you.
They received your consent in order to put the ceiling up, if the new buyers removed the ceiling under the lease obligations they would obviously need your permission to remove it under the same obligation as this would be another alteration.
Can you send me the exact wording of the consent clause?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

"The tenant covenants with the landlord:

Not to make any alterations in the lower flat without the approval in writing of the landlord and to the plans and specifications thereof and to make all such alterations in accordance with such plans and specifications."

Is the fitting of halogen lamps alteration they need my permission? What is the extend of any alteration which need consent?

Thanks

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.

, Thank you. I would say removing a false sound proof barrier that you consented to you definitely require your consent. Fitting a halogen lamp that can be removed is probably not likely to require consent - can the lamp be easily fitted and taken out? KInd regards AJ

Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3611
Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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