Can you hear every footstep?

I live in a modern 3rd floor apartment and everything was fine until the apartment above changed hands. I instructed solicitors in Preston who do residential conveyancing when I purchased the apartment. I’ve not met the new couple upstairs yet, but they’ve put laminate floors in, and now I get the sound of high heels clicking across my ceiling all night (well, late into the evening anyway).


The apartments are very well built and usually you can’t hear a sound from other occupiers – but this is driving me mad. What can I do about it? Do I contact my conveyancing solicitors in Preston?


If it’s any comfort, you aren’t alone in this. Apparently last year local authority noise pollution officers received over 40,000 complaints throughout the UK about this specific problem. So many people contact conveyancing solicitors for such problems but they can’t deal with them past the point of completion. At the moment there is no particular regulation covering this issue – but I suspect that this may change in the future as the fashion for this type of flooring spreads, and complaints increase.


First of all, have a look at your lease – at the section marked “Tenant’s Covenants”. Your residential conveyancing solicitors can help you with this. As your apartment is new, it’s quite possible there’s a covenant in there prohibiting laminate flooring. If so, you can raise the matter with the Management Company and they will sort out for you or your local solicitors in Preston who dealt with your purchase can nudge the management company in the right direction. If not, then ultimately you can invoke the law. This will cost you more conveyancing fees. You could claim that your neighbour is creating a “nuisance” – and there have already been cases on this. You would need to instruct a solicitor in Preston.


Generally you have to show that your neighbour is being deliberately awkward with you, is aware of the nuisance to you, and that the noise is exceptional. Or you could go to your local authority and invoke the Environmental Protection Act. You have to show that the noise is such as to cause “discomfort” and amounts to a “statutory nuisance”. There’s even a suggestion that an ASBO should be obtained in severe cases.


But going to law and instructing conveyancing solicitors should be the last resort. You say you haven’t met your new neighbours yet. So introduce yourselves to the, have a gentle word with them, and invite them to sit in your apartment while they make the noise up so they can hear for themselves. If everyone’s reasonable, it should be possible to sort it out. They could wear slippers, and maybe put some mats down perhaps. There will be no need for solicitors in Preston.


And if you’re reading this and you’re a supplier of laminate flooring, make sure that you point out to your customer that acoustic underlay should always be fitted and that they should check their lease doesn’t prohibit this type of flooring. Because if you don’t, you could be held to be to blame aswell. You don’t want residential conveyancing solicitors on your back.



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