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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Since we moved into our housing association ground floor

Customer Question

Hi
Since we moved into our housing association ground floor (converted house) studio flat 11 years ago we have been complaining about two issues
1.The noise levels coming from our upstairs neighbour including banging, pounding, thudding, vibration eg washing machine shaking our flat
2. The unfair division of the garden area (he is alone with 3 bedrooms and a garden 4 times the size of our 2x2 metre patio with an open staircase overlooking our bedroom)
NO ONE IS LISTENING NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES WE MEET OUR HOUSING ASSOCIATION OFFICER
What can we do to solve the two issues?
thanks
Odette
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property 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 confirm if this is a flat you own via shared ownership please or rent?How long have you been complaining about the issue for - I note you moved in 11 years ago? Have youbeen complaining for all that time or have the issues only arisen recently?Have you made any formal complaints to date or are the complaints you have raised just been informal or verbal complaints?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We rent
11 years comlaining
We have been complaining for 11 years formally
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Gosh that is a long time to have spent complaining. I am sorry you have not seen some progress in all that time. Have you received a formal response from the HA to your complaint and if so when was the formal response received?What is the HA's response regarding the noise?Finally was the garden division already in place prior to your moving in or was it altered after you moved in?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you please tell us how to proceed in actually doing finally making some progress, concrete ways, about the noise and yes the distribution was already laid out as we have no input in the designation of the outside space. This did not mean we accepted it. We were shocked to see the division of the outside space we were allocated.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Certainly. Are you able to kindly confirm replies to the other two queries above so I can outline the position. Here they are again:Have you received a formal response from the HA to your complaint and if so when was the formal response received?What is the HA's response regarding the noise?(I am stepping away for around 10 mins or so but will revert shortly if that is ok)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
HOUSING ASSOCIATION NO RESPONSE
EXCEPT TO SAY THEY TOLD THE UPSTAIRS TENANT TO GET CARPET - THAT TOOK 11 YEARS OF LETTERS, PHONECALLS.
NO IMPROVEMENT AT ALL - NO DIFFERENCE
SAME FOR 11 YEARS AS I SAID IN FIRST EMAIL TO YOU
THANKS
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OH GOD HAVE I SUCCUMBED TO SOME INTERNET SCAM?
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for the above. If I may I will address the garden and noise separately. To start with the garden. This is potentially difficult. The HA will own the entire garden if the upstairs tenant is also renting but the difficulty is that the garden as laid out is what is included in your respective tenancies. This being the case even if the HA wanted to at this point, if they took away part of the garden from the other tenant the tenant would have grounds for a legal challenge because he is having part of his property. Accordingly I need to be entirely straightforward on this point which is that it is difficult to see how this could be resolved in your favour even if the HA was desperate to facilitate it for the above reason. The only way in which I could see it cold be achieved is if the housing association could argue that the neighbours garden was not fully marked out with fences and the tenancy does not include all of the garden land and they intend to now divide it and allocate some to you. This would be a tough argument to sell assuming the neighbour has been in the property for a number of years and given the age of the property. you can of course raise the complaint but I would not be confident that it can be resolved in your favour. As regards ***** ***** there is better news. I will pause here and post the above so far. I am still typing a response so more is to follow re noise and complaints process...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

phew!

thought it was scam

Thank you

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
With regards ***** ***** 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 a neighbour 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 upstairs 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. This is a dispute that is eligible for referral to the Housing Ombudsman if you are unable to resolve the dispute directly with the housing association concerned. the Housing ombudsman has powers to hear complaints of this kind and can order the HA to comply with its decision and award compenastion where it finds in your favour. In order to be eligible, you will need to be able to demonstrate:1) that you have followed the housing associations formal complaints procedure and the you are not satisfied with the outcome - you may need to submit a fresh formal complaint depending upon the age of your last formal complaint response.2) That following the outcome of the formal complaints procedure, you have contacted a " designated person" about your complaint. A designated person can either be a local councillor, your MP, or a local tenants panel. the designated person can either try to assist themselves or advise you that they cannot assist and then referred the matter to the Housing ombudsman. the Housing ombudsman will then deal with you directly.3) if you do not want to contact a designated person as above, you do not have to but if you choose not to, you have to wait eight weeks between the end of the formal complaints process of the housing association before the housing ombudsman can considered your complaint You can commence your complaint with the Housing ombudsman using the following link online if you wish - there is no charge for their service and they are entirely independent from the HA:http://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/complaint-form/ 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
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
THANKS JOSHUA
I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THE HOUSING ASSOC WONT SOUNDPROOF
WE HAVE TO OVE OUT AS ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO LIVE HERE
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Could I demand soundproofing?

thanks

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
You could ask for an hhsrs inspection and assessment. The hhsrs regulations require adequate sound proofing between properties. If you google hhsrs you can find a guide which sets out the regulations. You can ask the councils environmental department to carry out an inspection.