Land­lords be­ware: rent­ing out a noisy prop­erty could land you in court

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

One ten­ant wants £9,000 dam­ages over his noisy Not­ting Hill flat, says Adam Wil­liams

Finding you have a noisy neigh­bour af­ter you move into a new home is most peo­ple’s idea of hell. Yet if this night­mare takes place in a rented prop­erty, it could cre­ate problems not just for the ten­ant but for the land­lord and let­ting agent. They can face le­gal chal­lenges even though the law does not re­quire them to in­form ten­ants of any pre­vi­ous noise problems.

One dis­grun­tled Tele­graph Money reader, Nick Hat­ter, 27, is su­ing his for­mer land­lord and let­ting agent over what he deemed “ex­ces­sive noise” at his home in Not­ting Hill, west Lon­don. He is claim­ing thou­sands of pounds in dam­ages.

The law says ten­ants have the right to “quiet use and en­joy­ment” of their home, but this merely pre­vents the land­lord en­ter­ing the prop­erty with­out the ten­ant’s per­mis­sion. Lee Dowl­ing of LMD Law said there was no obli­ga­tion for land­lords to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about any pre­vi­ous nui­sance or an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

“Un­like in a sale process, where dis­clo­sure is re­quired, prospec­tive ten­ants do not gen­er­ally make for­mal writ­ten inquiries about the prop­erty or its cir­cum­stances,” he said. “Ten­ants may ask ques­tions dur­ing a view­ing, which means con­tract law re­gard­ing mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion would ap­ply.”

How­ever, Mr Dowl­ing warned that prov­ing what the land­lord knew about the neigh­bours’ be­hav­iour made le­gal claims dif­fi­cult. “The re­al­ity here is that it can be hard for the ten­ant to prove wrong­do­ing,” he added.

James Davis of Upad, a let­ting agent, said land­lords should de­clare any known noise is­sues, in­clud­ing one-off events such as mu­sic fes­ti­vals and car­ni­vals, dur­ing the view­ing process. “It is ad­vis­able to in­form the ten­ant of any­thing that may harm their en­joy­ment of the prop­erty,” he said.

Mr Hat­ter has launched le­gal ac­tion against his for­mer land­lord, Mar­i­ana Vis­intin, and let­ting agent, Marsh & Par­sons, as he said he felt he had been mis-sold his rented flat. Mr Hat­ter, a life coach, moved into the prop­erty ear­lier this year and im­me­di­ately had to con­tend with noisy neigh­bours in the flat above.

As he suf­fers from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, he had specif­i­cally re­quested a quiet flat. But he said the noise meant he was un­able to work or live in the prop­erty.

“Marsh & Par­sons showed me this re­ally nice ground-floor flat but I said I was con­cerned that noise from above would be a prob­lem,” he said. “The agent as­sured me that noise wouldn’t be an is­sue, but from the day I moved in it was quite loud. Within the first week I was be­ing wo­ken up at 2am by the neigh­bours.”

He moved out af­ter 10 days. “I could hear peo­ple walk­ing around talk­ing, I could hear the Lon­don Un­der­ground, I could even hear the neigh­bour when she coughed,” he added.

Mr Hat­ter ar­gued that he had the “right to un­wind” the con­tract, a le­gal pro­tec­tion when some­thing has been mis-sold, but this was re­jected by the other par­ties. He wanted all fees and mov­ing costs to be re­funded by Marsh & Par­sons, which it re­fused. “It’s com­pletely out­ra­geous,” he said.

He is now seek­ing more than £9,000 in dam­ages from Marsh & Par­sons and his for­mer land­lord, who he claims was aware of the noise is­sues. This com­prises all money and fees paid at the start of the ten­ancy and £5,000 in lost earn­ings be­cause he was un­able to work from home. He also in­curred med­i­cal, credit card and re­moval com­pany fees.

Marsh & Par­sons said Mr Hat­ter had viewed the flat mul­ti­ple times and added that it could not be held re­spon­si­ble for any noise. The firm said it had also of­fered to waive £444 in ten­ant fees due. Once le­gal pro­ceed­ings had been launched, Marsh & Par­sons de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

Ms Vis­intin did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment but it is un­der­stood that she has launched a coun­ter­claim against Mr Hat­ter.

Mr Dowl­ing said a lack of for­mal rules re­gard­ing noisy neigh­bours left all par­ties open to le­gal chal­lenges. “While a ten­ant may re­quest that a land­lord takes ac­tion against nui­sance neigh­bours, these are not strictly mat­ters for the land­lord and ten­ant re­la­tion­ship,” he warned. Mr Davis sug­gested that land­lords could make mod­i­fi­ca­tions to their prop­er­ties, such as in­stalling dou­ble glaz­ing, to avoid such problems.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.