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Noisy Flat Above is There Anyting We Can Do

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 14 May 2022 | comments*Discuss
 

Q.

We live in an old house (1890) that has been converted into flats, and the noise from the flat above is quite intrusive at times. We can hear footsteps, voices, items being dropped on the floor etc. We have addressed the problem with our new neighbours by letter and things have improved a little. The issue is that the flat is rented so the problem doesn't feel like it will ever go away. Barring expensive insulation solutions is there anything we can do to lessen the noise?

(Miss G Bell, 10 September 2008)

A.

If the house was converted into flats after you moved in, the first thing to establish is whether or not planning permission was granted for that. And, if that was the case, then you should be asking if soundproofing was specified in the plans and if that was one of the conditions of permission being granted. Even if planning permission was obtained at the time, with or without soundproofing, there are still things you can do.

Firstly, you should try to speak directly to the neighbours in question. With disputes that arise from noise levels, it’s often the case that the people concerned are not even aware that they are causing a problem. Therefore, in explaining the situation to them, it may be perfectly possible to rectify the issue amicably. If your neighbours are uncooperative, however, the next stage should be to inform the landlord of the property (as you state that it is rented) and ask them to speak about the noise issues with the neighbours themselves. It may well be that your landlord will be sympathetic to the problem and make provisions for having soundproofing installed underneath the floor above. Alternatively, a stern rebuke from the landlord might be sufficient to eradicate the problem.

Should all of the above fail, you should contact your local authority who will appoint one of their Environmental Health Officers to look at the case. Since the Noise Act of 1996 was established, an Environmental Health Officer can issue a warning to your neighbours if noise levels exceed a certain level. This warning can then be followed by a fine if the tenants fail to reduce their noise levels. Further action can also be taken.

Your question doesn’t mention excessively loud music, however, nor does it state at what time of day the noise is occurring, and these are two fairly important factors. For example, if it’s simply “footsteps, voices and items being dropped” as you suggest, it may simply be a case that better soundproofing is needed in the property. Also, remember that your local authority is going to look more closely at excessive noise levels which persist between the hours of 11pm and 7am, and allow a little more leniency at other times.

If you feel as though you have no option left but to turn to the Environmental Health Department, make sure you keep a log as to what time of day the excessive noise is taking place and what it consists of. You should also see if you can get any fellow neighbours to do the same, if they the noise levels have become an issue to them too. All information you can gather will assist the Environmental Health Officer if they decides to investigate further.

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I live in a ground floor flat and my neighbour above is driving me mad.He's a chain smoking alcoholic who never leaves the flat.He smokes skunk all day, paces up and down the room with lead feet, listens to drumb and bass all day weekend and every evening, constantly blows his nose making an out of tune trumpet sound, slams doors several times a day, constantly gags every morning and evening due to his heavy smoking, throws rubbish out from his balcony onto my area, spits and gags from his balcony al day which ends up all over my patio doors and windows, throws fag butts all over the grass, I often get awoken in the middle of the night with his gagging fits and trumpet nose blowing, I've had water leakages several times due to him being off his head on weed and booze which he denies was him... I could go on and on.I cant get any sense from him and we share the same landlord, but the landlord sits on the fence and believes his lies as all he wants is his rent.So I'm going to move out and will never ever live in a flat again, especially if the flat upstairs has balcony doors but no balcony - so he's right above my patio doors and uses my paved area for his spit, gagging and rubbish.I found out he has a 12 year old kid that he hasn't seen for years as her mum took an injunction out on him from seeing her - it's obvious why she did this.The landlord knows he has issues so I hold him as much responsible.All the other neighbours in the block are OK but it's only me and him who face out out to the back of the block so nobody experiences his crap as much as I do.
Stumagoo - 14-May-22 @ 9:50 PM
I live in a ground floor flat in I own it but it's leasehold property to really I don't own it. My neighbours upstairs the Renaissance couple but there's got a lot of problems they're only in the late 20s and they've got no respect for the garden this household furniture spread out all over the place getting nappies every way and they just don't clean up up and the house is filthy. For some unknown reason they seem to think I've complained about something which I haven't. And now she is being an asshole she used to get groomed off old men so she's used to that cider life. Hey father is one of the biggest drug addicts in the town got no respect no morals or principles
Glen - 8-May-22 @ 2:25 AM
Looking if anyone can help. I'm the neighbour upstairs. I live in a 60s maisonette on the first floor. I have a little girl (16month) theeting and unfortunately gets sick quite often. She cries a lot. During the night and during the day. This resulted in a anonymous complain to children social services. No one raised any concerns about noise to us before. But after we received the visit of social services the neighbours come to us saying that they can hear her crying, dropping things and us walking and talking. Basically we are the "hell neighbours". We took more care in walking and talking but prevent a baby to cry and play is impossible. Would be this considered noise nuisance? How would work if he have to do some works in the house? Would we need some planning permission or any other licence? For fire safety reasons we need to charge the electrical connections of the house Thank you
Lucia - 29-Apr-22 @ 7:06 PM
I live in a 1960s purpose built block of 9 flats.No sound proofing installed at the time of building but I have since had this added to my lounge ceiling due to excessive noise from upstairs neighbours.Unfortunately, whilst I can no longer hearing their son's extremely loud (shouting) voice and shrieking laugh, they are extremely heavy footed and the thudding/stomping drives me up the wall.I have asked them to add rugs to their lounge to soften this but that request has fallen on deaf ears, even though they said they would do it they have not.For some reason I can now hear their hoover, which until today I had not heard previously and their patio door onto their balcony sounds like thunder when they open and close it.I am in my mid-60s and retired and had hoped for this to be a peaceful time in my life but these people are making my life a misery.Citizens Advice said I have a case to go to the council as I have done everything I can to reduce the nuisance but I doubt that they would do anything as I cannot record the noise.
jg16 - 26-Apr-22 @ 10:15 AM
I am I'm the same position as 'TheOtherSide' - I live in a first floor flat above a man who is completely intolerant of any sound whatsoever.I bought the flat a couple of months ago; it has been stood empty for a year and a half prior to me moving in, so my neighbour has had blissful peace and quiet all that time. Now he bangs on the ceiling at the slightest sound. Tonight, for example, I had my washing machine finishing it's cycle (spin) at 5.45pm - he was banging. What am I supposed to do? I accidentally dropped a bowl on the kitchen floor the other week - immediate banging. I moved a sofa when I was moving into the flat - more banging. I believe he's lived there since the flats were built in the 1980s. There's clearly an issue with soundproofing (had I known that earlier I wouldn't have bought the flat!) so I can't understand why he hasn't made attempts to solve the lack of soundproofing sooner - it clearly affects him a lot. The situation is causing me so much anxiety.
UpAbove - 12-Apr-22 @ 9:42 PM
I live on a ground floor and I had anxiety and depression before I moved in. I have a single mum of 2 kids above from me in a flat. The floor boards creek even if a cat walks across them. I don't believe there is concrete between me and the flat above. I am suffering really bad with my mental health because of it, literally considering the long walk no return option up a big hill. It's constant noise and half the estates kids are there a lot of the time with their mum's. They have parties a couple of times a week. The noise is just too much for me. I think maybe I have noise anxiety. I can never sleep and I am scared to take on work due to not being able to sleep enough, day shifts and night shifts. Another option for me is to just live out in the wild. Get a tent and all the accessories and do my best to live away from social housing. The banging and constant screaming and shouting from kids and voices that just go right through you to the core. I don't think there is any solution but for me to just be homeless and try and survive. At least I will be able to sleep.
Ratherlive in a tent - 10-Apr-22 @ 11:00 PM
Unfortunately I’m having the same issue - it’s a nightmare, the couple from upstairs work from home and are never outside the flat!! They have Very late night - 24h disturbing!! Imagine?!?! as soon as my contract ends which is soon - thanks good I signed only 3 months - I could not stay longer!! Soon I am moving out and NEVER EVER Again I will live an old converted Victorian house! It’s draining,waste of money and cause such damage to our mental health!! I can’t believe that such no isolation conversation is allowed in Uk!! It’s totally ridiculous!! I feel sorry for all that is in the same situation! I know how difficult it can be!!
Pinklola - 4-Apr-22 @ 8:52 PM
I stay in a ground floor flat and am able to hear everything that is going above me the flat am in has no sound proofing or insulation and used to be a 3 bed house before being converted to flats. Am raised the problems with the local council who the flats belong to and there saying there is nothing they can do about it so would I have a case worth taken them to court as this has effected my health
Knuckles - 25-Mar-22 @ 9:27 PM
Hello , We are on the other end of these issues - we are in a maisonette builtin the 50’swith floorboards that creek and a concrete underneath. We have 2 children and are on the top floor. We simply just want to get on with our lives but we have been hounded by noise complaints that have caused us all to be depressed andspiralled into anxiety around how we are meant to be keeping our children from being quiet. We have addedunderlay, thicker carpets , rugs you name it we have spent money on it to help our neighboursbut still this is not enough , we are not noisy peoplethe kids are in bed by 19:30 and don't have a loud tv or music playing , but we get complaints about our children walking around and god forbid if we were to ever accidentallydrop something - its made our life hell - we are just a normal familyleading a normal life and are not going out of the way to be noisy.We are constantlytelling our children to walk not run don’tplay on the sofa , don’t play with toys on the floor etc etc - you can image how difficult and stressful to have to constantlybe like this - so please remember I suspect most ‘noisy’ neighbours arejust like us , we don’t do it deliberatelyplease consider there is 2 sides.
The Otherside - 28-Oct-21 @ 8:54 AM
I understand that sometimes such noise is because of lack of better sound proofing. However, most of the times, the complaint is not because of such a thing but rather unruly uncooperative people. That the council is unwilling to take action outside 11 pm to 7 am shows the lousiness of the councils to punish such unsocial people. The councils are repsonsible for depression and health of the affected people. I believe somone should raise a petition in the parliament to catch and punish such unsocial people. Timing should not be an issue. If you know someone is guilty then probably you should have the laws to catch such people. That 11 pm to 7 am is just an excuse for the councils to not actually do anything.
ForSociety - 14-Oct-21 @ 5:13 PM
I wrote on this a couple months ago where me & my family were being bombarded by noise from the neighbour above who had put wooden floors down & stomped around 24 hours a day.. we ended up with anxiety & stress to the point where i ended up on antidepressants. after video calling our housing officer to witness the noise - we moved out. nothing was done & we ended up having to give up our home after trying every avenue. we’re now the 4th family to leave & whilst we are happy - the fact that this individual got away with it again really irks me. i’m hoping a disco loving madman moves in next so it can be a lesson to this imbecile & it’ll restore my trust in the universe… keep fighting the good fight but start looking for transfers & swaps. it’s the only solution that works
Priestly - 13-Oct-21 @ 4:18 PM
I live in a 3 storey council flat and since the first wave of lockdown my upstairs neighbour has been driving me bananas he's been scraping his furniture across the concrete floor which is laminated and vacuuming and has his washing machine going from 6 am right above my bedroom which woke me and bangs about all day this goes on 24/7 sometimes he doesn't even sleep and when he does he makes a point of stomping and dropping things late at night above my bedroom even on a Sunday our peace gets shattered he decides to vaccum at 12 sometimes even 1 in the afternoon when we are sitting at peace watching TVand his TV goes up loud as well we can't hear ours over his and the more we turn ours up the louder his gets and to add insult to injury my downstairs neighbour smokes weed and it drives my cat nuts to the point where he's started scratching at the doors either the bathroom or the kitchen where he smells it and that keeps me awake
April - 13-Sep-21 @ 9:58 PM
Since moving to an housing association ie. Aelwyd Housing, I've had absolutely No Peace. I can understand that maintenance has to be done but this as been going on since I moved here. I've been here just over a year & I've had no peace. I've had 2 major Brain Operations, I was born with hydrocephalus & I takes tablets to relieve the pain. Yet, this Constant bombardment of visitors back & for, the doors no longer closing quietly & Kids gaining access throughout the day. I'm at the end of my tether & I Cannot take much more!!!
Andy - 7-Jul-21 @ 12:27 AM
Miss there is hope whats the number of the soundproofing people? Thanks
Yo - 17-Jun-21 @ 11:45 PM
Hello, I'm really desperate for some advice. Have been dealing with very noisy neighbours for over 7 months. Council advised me to make recordings and have done since April of this year. Just wonder if anyone knows how effective noise app recordings are in cases against neighbours. I am so distressed I don't know what to do. Peace
CA - 17-Jun-21 @ 6:09 PM
I've had the worst nightmare with my neighbour who constantly stomps around with wooden floors. We live in a Victorian conversion flat which doesn't help & can't believe noise pollution isn't taken more seriously.. We tried the friendly approach but were met with swearing & then were told by fellow neighbours that this had been an issue for previous households who moved out after exhausting all avenues from landlords, council & police. We resorted to banging back & blasting heavy metal all hours of the day & night to get the message across & it's worked to a certain extent. I would recommend recording noise on your phone, transfer the file to your laptop & listen to it with headphones.. you'll be surprised that it actually does pick up the noise whereas if you just play it using your phones speakers - you won't hear anything which means you'll think you have no evidence but in actuality you do. Keep reporting stuff to the noise team even if they do nothing as all of this will be useful eventually if you take further legal action & don't worry about annoying the noise team because that's their job. Keep persisting & it'll eventually work. If you get woken up - wake them up. If they blast music - blast your own. Unfortunately a kind word falls on deaf ears these days & some people only understand retaliation
Priestly - 17-Jun-21 @ 12:36 PM
i got a noisy neibour upstair they are orthodox i stay in my parenets flat by law it is on my name the above people are jealous and they tried to harass me in many way but i stood like a mountain when they did not get me in hand they tried to use grinding tool to grind spices on their floor underneath is theceiling of my house they made cracks and made it dirty at midnight they make tapping sound or simply put the grinding stone and make loud noise some time it distur b our sleep since as we are working and take rest after coming from office and doing house hold work eat and sleep i discussed with my friend they told that they are jealous and they express in their way mean while when i told the committe memeber in reverse they say that iam insane and ttry to brainwash every one from our building i understood that their intention is to get me rid from my house now please tell me how to deal with such toxic people though i knew their intentioni try to express my self to show that iam not madbut still they switch of their light and hit on the floor are they psy chos sir
sudha - 11-Apr-21 @ 12:51 PM
So I posted in Feb about my Edwardian flat and I thought I would jump back on to say the soundproofing has been life changing. The heavy thundering & creaking floorboards detailing the movement of the well built & heavy footed occupants of the upstairs flat on laminate flooring has been significantly reduced. Whilst I still hear them it's no longer like they are in my living room and whilst I can still smell their food when they cook (often) it's easily masked with an air freshner. I've gone from a nervous wreck constantly on edge driven by their noise to being fairly chilled out and so so so much happier. If you can afford it then get it done.Here's what the soundproofers did and the cost: as I couldn't lose much ceiling space 40mm - they ripped out the old ceilings/ put rockwool in/ added mini clips and bar and then I had a soundproof board also applied. Then plaster and paint. Total cost for two large rooms was £7500 so not cheap...What the work revealed (which I am pretty sure the leaseowner of the flat knew as she refused to address the issue around her flooring) is that the laminate flooring had been laid on top of poorly conditioned wood flooring & added to the fact there was ZERO insulation between the two flats, I was getting the full effect of the noise transference which had been significantly increased when her larger tenants moved in. Anyway, if you can afford it, get it done. It really does work. I hope this helps.
There is hope - 10-Apr-21 @ 11:31 AM
I totally feel everyone's pain !!. I moved into an apartment in December last year of which I own, i had to get out quickly as i was in an abusive relationship. The owner of the above apartment decided to let his apartment out to someone a week before i moved in. Initially the noise wasn't bad. Then on 27th February this year things changed loud music thumping on the floor banging on floor, stomping dragging furniture across floors and general loud noises. I politely asked the tenant to turn it down to which i got a response of "its not loud" to which i replied " come and listen in my apartment and you will hear it is loud, i can hear this above my TV" so he agreed to turn t down. Week later the noise levels were back up to where they were. I spoke to the management company and they agreed to speak to landlord, still no improvement. I managed to see the tenant in passing in the hallway and said politely "ooh whilst iv got you can you please turn your noise down its horrendous" to which in turn he hurtled abuse at me shouting etc. I decided then to contact my local council who in turn told me to report the harassment and intimidation to the Police, i did just that and they went to speak to him etc and that was that and nothing else they can do. I am now relying on the council to do something about this. After this my only option is to go to the courts and apply for an injunction. The management company wont get involved as they have said that they cannot do anything as its a private landlord. So what do management companies actually do ???? any additional advice would be good.
Cross1966 - 8-Apr-21 @ 8:32 AM
Has anyone taken their neighbour to court and won.? My neighbours above have wooden old floorboards,with no insulation underneath. The council, safer neighbourhoods etc couldn't care less. The neighbour has mental health and is making the most of causing us stress. My young children think there is someone in our home. It really disturbs them Can anyone recommend a good solicitor
Fed up - 7-Apr-21 @ 12:48 PM
The neighbours above me firstly flooded my bathroom, then continued to do it repeatedly even after complaints were made to their landlord(which was difficult as they never answered the door) Eventually after the ceiling fell through I was informed that I had to be moved to alternate accommodation for insurance which didn't happen for 6 months. During that time they were jumping up and down, banging walls, and making ridiculous noises all night. Complaints made, no response. I installed locks on the communal bins during the first wave of Covid. The bloke broke the lock and waved at the security camera. Anyway after being in alternate accommodation for 3 months I returned. In the key safe was a second set of keys belonging to them. Again I tried to return them (no response). I had to place them in their letterbox, and that took about 20 minutes as it would appear that they never use their letterbox(completely stuffed full)
AJay - 29-Mar-21 @ 3:52 AM
Moved in a second floor flat which was good until the noise from above heavy footsteps followed by extra bangs even worse wen kid stays playing football driving me crazy asked to get moved but said as I am on disability was on top of list but wud go to bottom if give up flat for something else don't know wat to do any advice wud be welcome thanks
Ste 29 - 23-Mar-21 @ 9:21 PM
I had this problem with the neighbours upstairs. I could hear almost everything they said... EVERYTHING... It was driving me mad. I don;t deal with this very good, Im scared of confrontation because Iheard them arguing and they are unkind to each other. when i spoke with them about the noise they denied it. their behaviour was very defensive. It was really difficult to communicate. They have still carried on, it feels as though they have no consideration for me. I wish I could move to somewhere peaceful in the countryside. Recently I bought some Bose 700 headphones. although they are expensive, they have so far been worth it because I cannot hear their voices anymore. This is the only thing that worked. I have also ear plugs which I used on a daily basis at nighttimes because of the noise. I am a student and I need silence to concentrate.
fed up - 19-Mar-21 @ 6:32 PM
We live in a former council building that still has tenants from the council. We have been here for almost 5 years and have kept reporting the many times the upstairs neighbour and her son who moved back last year throughout. They have parties even throughout lockdown. They’ve even had the nerve to come and complain to us 2 or 3 times, one of which the woman who is the tenant was still drunk. We have small children and they are also disturbed at night as are we. No idea what else to do as the council won’t take action other than sending letters saying everyone in the building should respect the times for noise. They don’t seem to get those letters though!
Dfk - 13-Mar-21 @ 11:47 PM
I have all these issues and have gone round in circles to try and get help - no one really wants to know as it’sa common problem. The effect it has on your health is an understatement. Flats/apartments/maisonettes should be demolished. It costs too much to move, a lot of money for soundproofing and years later you find you’re still living in hell. Possibly rent the property out if you can’t afford to move? It’s all difficult decisions. From one female who has aged 20 years over the last 9!!
None - 10-Mar-21 @ 4:59 PM
Upstairs flat, constant radio music, all day!! Can’t read or do my art. I have knocked and she just said, it’s not loud though. I know it’s loud because sound cancellation earplugs are not enough. I’ve tried to be polite but I am loosing patience, I was happy here until this started around 4 months ago! No answer other than moving, which makes me extremely angry as I loved it here, overlooking the water. Any ideas anyone?
Angie - 8-Mar-21 @ 4:43 PM
Our neighbour upstairs is driving us absolutely mad. We live in a big house converted into flats. Everything here is perfect in terms of work distance, shops, size etc. We moved in 6 months ago. Only problem is landlord told us the lady upstairs wanted our flat as it had access to the garden and she never got it. For the past few months she has let her 3yo daughter run everywhere (which we didn’t complain about or mention) and then she started blasting music, now she herself, the 30 something year old mother has resorted to also jumping on her floor during the daytime! At 1am last night she decided for no reason to stomp around every room just to wake us up because she knows we both get up at 5am for work. The landlord said he will tell the letting agent to send her a letter but apart from that not much can be done apparently. It’s ridiculous!
Liya - 7-Mar-21 @ 12:23 AM
We are not alone! It is nice to know that we are not the only ones suffering with these issues, as unfortunate it is for everyone that has to deal with this problem. We are having massive issues with the flat above ours. Very similar to posts mentioned here: laminate flooring, toddler running wild, washing machine vibration, drainage noise and heavy footfall are the most frequent as well as dropped objects quite often. Has anyone managed to find a solution to this? We live in Scotland. I've offered to pay for soundproofing underlay mats to be installed, a mat for the washing machine and even carpet but neighbour is not interested. I've contacted the council, local councillor and MSP, the building company but no one cares and no one is willing to do anything. Is it worth seeking legal advice, is there anything in law that would even help us? With lockdowns forcing us to be inside all the time, I am at my wits end. It should not be allowed, the impact on us is so huge. People like to refer to "acceptable living noise" as an excuse for it, but what we have to deal with is far beyond that.
Mike - 1-Mar-21 @ 12:26 PM
My flat is a converted first floor Edwardian flat. Five years ago, the leaseholder above moved out and replaced her flooring to laminate (there is nothing in the lease opposing this) At first it was okay. Her tenant was considerate but the washing machine thundered through my ceiling and made my windows rattle and her tenants usage was extreme starting in the early hours every day and ending at 10 -11 every night. I asked the leaseholder if we could agree on some rules around the usage of loud appliances and perhaps I could buy a sound proofing mat to go under the washing machine. I was told that washing machine usage was perfectly natural given the working times of her tenant,she accused me of lying about the noise and she refused to fit the sound proofing mat. I offered her the chance to come into my flat to witness the noise but she refused. When her tenant moved out, two new tenants moved into the flat and the floorboards started to creak really loudly, soI got back in contact with the leaseholder and informed her of the new development & I was told I was sensitive to noise and creaking was natural in an old house. She also said that it wasn't her flooring but the building joists.I suggested buying rugs and mats (which I offered to pay for) and she went ahead and bought some but did not share what she bought with me. It didn't work and the loud creaking continued...I then suggested I pay for any work in her flat to correct the situation (as I had contacted sound proofers and all had said it would be more effective to deal with the creaking at source) but she refused and got incredibly aggressive about it. I suggested mediation. She said no. So I contacted the freeholder around the nuisance clause & asked their advice. I don't think the leaseholder is the type to do anything they don't want to do whether it's me or the freeholder. She seems very fixed on the issue is mine not hers and I sense she has spoken to some lawyers.I told the freeholder I was considering soundproofing from my ceiling & they suggested that it may well be the best option knowing the leaseholder and also the law ...So,I am now doing that. It has been the most horrific and emotionally draining experience to deal with someone who has been so unreasonable. There needs to be better laws around this... Fingers crossed the soundproofing works. It is costing £1000s
Distraught and tired - 16-Feb-21 @ 10:24 PM
We have share of freehold and lived in the basement flat with a patio leading onto communal gardens. We have been here for 24 yrs. The new owner of the flat above have sent very forceful letters threatening to take us to court for having an occasional cigarette on our patio. They have also complained about our BBQ saying his wife is a vegetarian and dislikes the smell of meat. They have now got the building management company to look at changing our lease to stop us from using our garden as they don’t like the noise . The flat above them has a roof terrace and are not living there full time. How can we stop the new leaseholder from making me feel intimidated in our own home ?
Pattie - 16-Feb-21 @ 10:31 AM
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