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Some five or six years ago, an officer from the Council environment office paid a visit and found the noise level - on a cool day - on the border line. We have not on this occasion asked the Council to visit again. This partly because we have been away rather a lot and partly because in the past it was very difficult to get the Council to follow-through or to sustain any action. We feel we have more chance of pressuring Sainsburys direct into taking action (they have been quite responsive on this occasion), but we still fear that in the end the noise level from thje aircon/refrigeration unit may cost us a sale of our house or a sale at 50k or 100k less than we could have expected to achieve.
Are you online Alex - I can stay online but it is 1 a.m. in Berlin (where I am) and I will go to bed if you are offline.
We have no current noise level reading. Judging by what we heard, the remarks of our estate agent and the comments he reported from potential buyers,. it must have been during hot weather well over acceptable or legal levels.
If it is legal then there is nothing you can do
You can ask for compensation for any reduction in value but by law they don't have to give it to toy
This is because the levels are permitted
If it is above permitted levels then you can take action
They may offer you compensation and you should consider it,
But they do not have to
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
What I really need to know is this. Assuming Sainsburys don't "offer" compensation - that would mean admitting they have been highly economical with the truth in their dealings with us - what are my chances in a contested case in a court of law of getting a seriously large amount of compensation: my reckoning is that our potential loss could be as much as 50k or even 100k on the value of our house. The calculation is complicated by the fact that our chances of selling NOW (early July) are much less than they would have been even three or four weeks ago when we first put the house on the market. In that period, the housing market has gone flat or worse (in response to government measures to limit house lending and/or to impose stricter affordability criteria). We rushed to put our house on the market in the expectation of a later downturn - and were thwarted by Sainsburys noise in achieving the rapid sale we sought at a time when the market still had vigor.
What are the chances of you getting excess of £50,000? If you have £15,000 to spend on legal fees to get the matter to trial and risk having to lose that PLUS pay Sainsbury legal costs (you wont get legal aid) you could take it to Court.
However Sainsbury's are not obliged to pay you if it is below legal permissible levels
Therefore you risk £30,000 at least.
I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest
If the levels were above legal levels you would have a claim
Obviously, my question about the likelihood of success in a court of law is predicated on getting noise levels measured and certified as being above legal levels. I don't actually need a lawyer to tell me Sainsburys don't have to pay if their noise is within legal limits.
Yes of course.
If it is above legal limits then you have a good case.
It is called a statutory nuisance
And you can sue for loss and damage
Then your chances would be very good.
I was asking a lawyer the question to test out the potential strength of the argument I put forward concerning the lost opportunity (due to noise) to take advantage of a strong housing market. Is that the sort of argument a court is likely to accept? It is not a problem getting - as you imply - an answer I might not like. I just want to be able to weigh the risks and potential benefits of going to court if necessary or of getting Sainsburys to understand that I might go to court. (My preference is for Sainsburys very rapidly to sort out the problem by installing a quieter unit or by enclosing the existing one to muffle the noise it makes when forced to work hard in hot weather.
Loss of opportunity is very hard to claim.
You have to be able to prove there was a realistic loss of chance.
Unless you had a firm offer and that person withdrew purely on the basis of the noise then it would be hard to get a settlement for loss of chance
If you had a buyer that pulled out that would be easier.
But your main cause of action is common law tort of nuisance
There is a statutory nuisance and you can claim losses because of that
That is the main head of your claim
Does that clarify matters?
i think I have an estate agent who would - based on his own experience of the noise and customer response on the open day he ran
You could plead that as an alternative.
A second head of loss
You say tort of nuisance, but does that expend to the tens of thousands of pounds lost in this case due to our failure to sell the house when the market was strong
Well that is difference, that is loss of chance
that should read extend not expend
Nuisance is for the noise
Loss of chance is for the loss of sale
Does that clarify?
what are the precedents for payments to residents whose peace and pleasure in their garden is disturbed by a "nuisance" noise?
Legal research in terms of case law is beyond the remit of this site, as this is a question and answer site.
Legal research can take a number of hours
But there is a free legal resource you can search for case law
is it worth me doing a google search - if so under what terms?
The leading cases on nuisance and noise are:
As for loss of chance:
Does that help?
alex - thanks - i think we have taken this as far as we can reasonably go. - pb
Yes and I hope this gives you a way forward
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