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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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We have had noisy tenants in the flat below us last

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We have had noisy tenants in the flat below us for the last three months which has resulted in our moving into temporary accommodation, as we can no longer relax in our home of the last fifteen years. The landlord has been contacted and given a log of the disturbances suffered which included us retaliating on two occasions by banging on the floor, when we were woken late at night. We have now had a letter from the landlord's solicitors, accusing us of racism (the three people involved are Eastern European), aggression and intimidation. They have also told us that we are now "on notice", that our behaviour will now be monitored, and any further incidents or emails of complaint to the landlord will result in us being prosecuted for racism. I have a long history of clinical depression and have had to have my medication doubled to try and help me cope with the situation. Moving out temporarily was distressing, but necessary as my health has deteriorated over the last three months and I cannot take the risk of suffering a complete breakdown. Is there any advice you can offer us? Many thanks, ***** *****
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask if there is any evidence of racism on your part please. I cannot see any such evidence from what you mention above. They would need to have evidence of your calling the neighbours by offensive racist names for example?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, none of our communications to the landlord have ever mentioned their ethnicity, but I did in one email describe them as vile because they spit on the floor as they leave the building. We fell very distressed and intimidated by the letter we've received. We are two gay men in our 50's who have owned our apartment for the last 15 years. My partner is also the chairman of the residents association and has worked tirelessly for this small community.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Have you contacted the local authority in respect of nuisance to date? Could you give me a few very brief examples of ways in which you have been disturbed by the downstairs tenants?Do you know if any other tenants have complained regarding the behaviour? Lastly do you know who the freeholder for the building is?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, although we intend to. They constantly bang doors and shout late at night. Even with our television on at volume 27 we can hear them. We were woken up at ten past midnight a couple of weeks ago by banging doors (which is when I banged on the floor), on another occasion at 4.00 in the morning when they returned to the flat with women, again banging doors and shouting. The following morning there were cigarette ends all over the tarmac by the garages, directly below their living room window. They have blocked the driveway with their car on three occasions, and on a further two occasions have left their car parked on a Wednesday,despite there being clear notices by the main front door that no cars should be parked between 08.00 & 13.00 hours to allow the refuse collection vehicle access to the dustbins to empty them. One of our neighbours has complained about the parking problems. The light bulb outside their own door has now been broken for over a month, even though we have given them a copy of the house rules that clearly state that it is their responsibility to change it. They have now parked yet another car on the forecourt which appears to be untaxed and has been there for some days. Again the house rules clearly state that if you don't have access to your garage, any additional vehicles must be parked off site. There are six apartments here and we each own a share of the freehold.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. Finally in relation to your owning a share of the freehold, is there any scope for your contacting at least two or ideally three other owners who would generally support your position or do you feel other owners would not support you as against the renters?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We have made two of the other owners aware of the situation. I think we could rely on the support of two, possibly three co-owners. Forgive me for possibly jumping the gun here, but our main concern is the letter from the landlord's solicitors which ends by saying "they are not instructed to enter into any further correspondence with us, so a reply is neither needed, nor necessary". Are they not, by the very nature of the letter, guilty of defamation of character and do we have any grounds for redress?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please could you tell me what's happening as it's almost an hour since your last correspondence? Thank you

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
I am very sorry for the delay in reverting to you. We are practising lawyers and do not work for the site and unfortunately I had a meeting with a client and had to step away. I apologise for the inconvenience. Based on what you say there appears to be no evidence to support or warrant a threat of prosecution for racism. You may wish to revert to the solicitors rejecting their claim absolutely and putting them to strict proof in respect of their allegations. In addition you may wish to remind the solicitor of is obligations under the solicitors code of conduct particularly in respect of unrepresented parties and invite them to withdraw their threat immediately or adduce evidence as above failing which you will consider a conduct complaint to the SRA for potential breaches of the code of conduct. http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page In terms of the noise,there is some relevant case law - the House of Lords decided in 1999 in the case of London Borough of Southwark v Mills and Baxter v London Borough of Camden that one cannot be liable to a neighbour who is disturbed by the ordinary and reasonable activities of a neighbouring tenant because of inadequate sound insulation between the properties. If the downstairs tenant is simply going about his normal business but it is diturbing you due to inadequate nose insulation there is no legal complaint available. However that is not the case here from what you say . If you can show that the disturbance is a result of unreasonable behaviour then there are grounds for complaint likely under breach of covenant under the lease as most leases contain covenants against noise after certain time and not to cause a nuisance and so on. Assuming your leases contain such covenants, you could together with fellow freehold shareholders issue a breach of covenant notice to the owner in question who is vicariously liable for his tenants actions. The notice can require the owner to remedy the breach of covenant or can warn that legal actio can be taken against him and most leases provide that the freeholder may recover costs of such legal action. If the freehold is owned by a freehold nominee company in which you have a share then the director(s) of the freehold company can take the above action without a vote. Alternaively you may need to call a vote of the shareholders to issue the above notice. The alternateive or complementary action to the above is to claim statutory nuisance under the environmental protection act. Under the same the local authority can serve a noise abatement notice and prosecute if the notice is ignored. They will likely provide sound measuring equipment in order to record evidence of the disturbances caused. There is no charge for the service by the council. In order for an abatement notice to be served you need to demonstrate with the assistance of the councils equipment if necessary that their actions are substantively interfering with your enjoyment of your property. It is also possible to enforce these rights privately through the courts by seeking an application to the County Court for an injunction. You will need to produce evidence of the issues you complain of, for example a log of events. Neighbours can be useful to support any application you make though this is not required. You can apply for an injunction using form N16A:http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=402 If the behaviour is largely anti social in nature this may be better pursued through the local authority or the police than an application to the county court. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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