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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recently bought a flat and discovered the ceiling has no

Customer Question

I recently bought a flat and discovered the ceiling has no soundproofing. The flat was refurbished 9 months ago so should comply with current soundproofing regulations. What legal steps can I take against the seller who was responsible for the refurbishment?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
When the apartment was entirely refurbished by the seller, a plasterboard "false ceiling" was installed to accommodate inset ceiling lights, so ceiling soundproofing could have easily been installed at the same time, but it looks like the seller didn't install any soundproofing, probably to save money. I understand by law adequate ceiling soundproofing is required in the UK. The soundproofing is so dreadful that at night I can hear my neighbours snoring in their bedroom above me! Please help!
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 10 months ago.
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this for you. Your understanding is basically right. The building regs at the time of wor should have been complied with. You need to do a bit of research next. What did the seller say in the PIF or other docs about compliance with building regs etc, and what, if anything, did your surveyor say about sound insulation, Also, you might want to check with the local authority what records they have regarding this conversion as it is the local authority who have to monitor and approve works subject to building regs. What advice did you get from your solicitor - if any- regarding whether building regs applied to the workks carried out on yoru flat? It is paer E o the buildign regs that deals with sound insulation
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. No representations were made by the seller in relation to soundproofing nor was this covered by the building survey. We dishould not specifically ask about this and my lawyer did not specifically suggest it. I understand the buyer did not seek permission from the local authority in relation to any of the refurbishment works. With that in mind, would the seller still have been legally obliged to ensure the refurbishment complies with soundproofing regulations? If yes, what action could I take against the seller given the sale completed on 22 January 2016?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
To add to that, the building survey also did not cover soundproofing in the flat.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 10 months ago.
OK I fear yo may be in a situation where the current building regs did not apply to the work. It depends on the nature and extent of the work carried out. If it was just renovation work without any structural or change of use aspect then the regs would probably not have been engaged. It may be that the best way forward here is to contact your old solicitors, explain the problem and see what they have to say about it.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hello, thank you. I'm getting a ceiling soundproofing expert to visit the flat (hopefully next week) to assess this in more detail, but from having discussed the matter with the expert in some detail, I understand the plaster "false ceiling" is most likely suspended off a timber frame that is attached to the structural ceiling. This conveys and amplifies the noise and vibrations from the apartment above. But it does not seem that any structural work would have been done to install the false ceiling - which is probably why the seller did not bother obtaining building permission from the local authority. I will contact my former solicitor and see where this goes. Many thanks.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 10 months ago.
OK that sounds sensible. I would be grateful if you would rate my answers as I will not credited if you do no do so.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The website it not letting me submit a rating, I'm not sure what's wrong ...

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