The neighbourly advice thread

This is an open thread, created at the request of reader Lindy.

It's for anyone to ask advice from other readers about how to handle disputes and problems with their neighbours. Please do not divulge any personal details.

113 comments:

Tressilliana said...

Lindy said:

'Nick can we have a thread on noisy neighbours. I kind of need advice. We had a depressing experience last night.
There's a baby downstairs and we've been accused of making too much noise. I was handbrushing the carpet at 8.40pm and they buzzed.

I already live as quietly I can with respect to the child. I just don't know how people with deal with it in these conservation area flats.

Does soundproofing work?'

Lindy, it sounds to me as if there is completely inadequate soundproofing between your flat and the one below. Something to raise with your landlord? Also, sometimes particular types of flooring are banned from flats above ground level because of noise issues - could that be a factor here?

Good luck with it anyway, not a happy situation to be in.

Anonymous said...

The people in the flat below shouldn't have had kids.

Anonymous said...

Lindy:

With a young child living below you, it will surely be you that will suffer the most noise! Especially once the child starts walking and running. Would they allow you to then complain I wonder?

It shows inexperience with a child to suggest that the child would be bothered or would wake due to some noise from the flat above. Once asleep, they are not that easily woken.

If you are considering sound proofing, look into it thoroughly. There are two types of sound pollution: that caused by raised voices, music etc and that caused by impact - heavy footsteps on an old wooden floor for instance. The latter is the more tricky to cure and seems to be the one that is causing you problems.

fabhat said...

Lindy,

It's always difficult in these old houses converted into flats and anyone who lives in them really has to accept that there will be some noise. You already have carpet, which helps with noise, but perhaps you could get a thicker underlay, or try getting some filler to go between the floorboards?

But it sounds like the downstairs neighbours are overreacting - handbrushing at 8.40pm does not sound like intolerable noise. Do you live alone? If not, could you ask the neighbours if you could go sownstairs and get your flatmate/partner to do the same thing, so you can hear for yourself how it sounds? Can they move the baby to another room, if it is sleeping under the living room say? if you can persuade them that you are attempting to solve the problem, perhaps they will become less antagonistic in their approach as well... and good luck

The Cat Man said...

how do you approach/deal with unreasonable people? I.e, those who feel they have a right to play loud music thumping down the street or in their garden during what would of been a peaceful day?

We don't have shared community values anymore, there is no 'right or wrong' way to live and conduct our lives and that's the problem. The people who advocate or participate in anti social behaviour are often those who are less reasonable otherwise they would of changed their behaviour already!

The solution is to call the police, but that's why our communities are failing and degenerating - the police do not have the resources/will power or laws to act in such tribal matters.

In Winchester, where I grew up, people say please and thank you when they pass you in the street, or hold the door open for you, even in busy retail shops on the high street. They don't do that in London as there is no expectation to do so. There is no expectation as people from many other cultures would not expect these things in their own cultures and therefore do not act that way in London. We all lose out.

The Cat Man said...

abit of a rant but applicable to brockley as well as London generally!

That was meant to say trival, not tribal too, bloody iPhone!

Anonymous said...

One man's peaceful day is another's excuse to have a huge party on such a nice day... think of it that way

Brockley Nick said...

Why would anyone say please and / or thank you when you pass them on the street?

And as for the rest of it - in my experience, plenty of Londoners are courteous to eachother. Perhaps if you didn't go around slinging abuse at everyone and picking fights with all around you, or dismissing their right to live here, people might treat you with a little more kindness.

Anonymous said...

flat above has a leak that has damaged my ceiling.

girl above refuses to do anything about it and says I must claim on insurance policy.

i am really shocked as I would be apologising constantly and falling over myself to fix it if it happened to my downstairs neighbours.

Anonymous said...

"how do you approach/deal with unreasonable people? I.e, those who feel they have a right to bombard every thread with their views about foreigners and civil servants during what would of [sic] been a peaceful discussion?"

"The solution is to call the moderators, but that's why our online communities are failing and degenerating - the mods do not have the resources/will power or laws to act in such tribal [sic] matters."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pete said...

take her to small claims court - or threaten to.

tj said...

Anon - had the same issue as you re the leak - the flat upstairs is liable - and they should claim through their insurance if needed. You have the right to claim reasonable payment for the redecoratino of you cieling etc. Give the Citizen's Advice bureau a call to confirm.

Anonymous said...

Our new neighbours have just erected a massive satellite dish on the roof over their ground floor kitchen. Now, whenever we look out of our window, where we once could see trees, the first thing we see is a dish. Are there any rules governing acceptable use of dishes like this? I'd like to ask them to move it but would like to know my rights first. Thanks

tj said...

If the flat was converted before the 80s, there were no regs on sound proofing - and it is likely that there are serious noise problems between flats. After that time then you may have a cae for the landlord to sort it out.

I'm also looking at soundproofing to try and sort a similar problem - anyone who has experience of having it fitted, the costs, and the efficacy please let us know

fabhat said...

anon 16.08 - it might be the buildings insurance that you should be claiming against, that's what was done when it happened in our building. Check with your freeholder, or if that's you - then claim on that.

Anonymous said...

Check your lease re: flooring. I wasn't allowed wooden flooring in my old flat.

I used to hear my neighbours use the toilet generously, not great but if you live in a flat all parties have to accept a 'reasonable' amount of noise.

Could be worse, you could live next door to Andy.

Pete said...

at least he would hold the door open for you and say please and thank you.

Anonymous said...

Unless you're 'foreign'

Headhunter said...

My flat was converted from a big Victorian place in 1997 and is fairly well soundproofed. The down side is that the original ceiling detail and mouldings have all gone and the ceiling is lower than it originally would have been (lost almost a foot in height I think, however the ceilings were very high before, now they're just high - I'm 6 ft 3" and I can't reach them with my arms stretched straight upwards).

I still hear my neighbours walking around sometimes and the guy downstairs went through a phase of playing loud music before he went out at the weekend, but luckily they're reasonable people and if I say anything they stop.

13:24 said...

My $0.02's worth. 1880's Viccy (builderspeak) conversion. No bare wooden floors above the ground floor, so I have soundproofing, good underlay, and a thick carpet as part of the leasehold terms. A succession of neighbours below say they never hear me. (Mind you, I am a bit of a Hooverdodger.)

One thing is that the regular iron/steel nails used in original flooring can act as little microphones, in that they can absorb noise from all around and concentrate it into the rafters and ceiling of the flat below.

Failing the small claims/ CAB route, you could try approaching a General Practice/building surveyor. They're trained in 'party wall disputes' and might be able to give advice on noise also.

Bea said...

Noise (as well as leaks) in conversions is a constant source of friction. I know from personal experience having lived in many flats throughout London.

My conclusions is that certain people are very noise sensitive and get hugely irate even if it is simple everyday noise such as cleaning. Others seem to brush it off as part of living in a noisy city.

For example, I walk around in slipper socks in my flat so as not to upset the neighbour downstairs. However, on occasion things do get dropped on the floor and make a huge clang which not only makes me jump but is probably twice as loud downstairs. As much as I try to stop this from happening there are times when I inadvertently make a noise.

I can hear upstairs too thumping across the floorboards and their washing machine makes my windows rattle when it’s on spin. Yet, I just accept that this is a noise I have to live with.

Downstairs investigated noise reduction solutions (when the previous occupants were still there) and it’s not easy! It’s possible to put an expensive noise reduction layer between the floor boards but this means lifting all the flooring and apparently it is less effective over time. The other alternative is to get carpet underlay (laminate flooring is the worst kind of noise making flooring). I’ve sometimes thought about putting a cork floor in but I’m still uncertain as to how effective this would be.

In your case, if a baby is involved, it won’t be long before the 3.00 am crying starts to wake you up and once it’s a three year old and having a tantrum the whole street will know about it!

I just try and be polite, apologise if they complain and amend my living patterns (i.e. which rooms I use at which time of day) to avoid conflict. (And of course swear under my breath that they are being unreasonable and I’m not THAT noisy, honestly!).

Anonymous said...

wind chimes, curse of the devil

meaningless things that just cause irritation and worse

Headhunter said...

I bought sopme lovely windchimes from Phoebe's Garden Centre in Catford... they don't make much noise though, it takes a fairly hefty wind to get them moving

Anonymous said...

apologies for being slightly off topic but the boy Pete and I are looking for a builder - one who could knock through a supporting wall and install an RSJ . Lewisham building control are happy [not in conservaiton area, not listed] but we would need to work with them. Help! we are anxious not to be done over, as they say in other parts of south london...

anyone had any work done they were pleased with? thanks muchly.

Monkeyboy said...

Can't really recommend one but whoever you choose make sure you hold back a good chunk of the money until you and Building Control are happy.

(I know a good plasterer if that helps??!!)

nobbly brick said...

anon 21:53

I had a very good builder do extensive work to my house but I'm reluctant to give his details online

you will have to expose yourself in some way so that I can contact you

brockley mutha said...

Lindy - as someone with 2 children sounds to my like your neighbours are being entirely unreasonable - they'll discover soon enough that if their child is not sleeping it's nothing to do with you, or your carpet brushing. However I appreciate that in the short term that is no consolation.

I've encountered unreasonable neighbours twice in my existence and they will make your life utterly miserable, regardless of how much effort you make.

I can only hope that your neighbour is a new mother and that her overreaction can be attributed to that. So I would counsel forebearance in the short term. If it continues you may want to speak to your landlord or lewisham noise pollution who can give you advice.

mintness said...

bea, I hear you. Two or three creaking floorboards under the carpeting, avoided as often as possible but occasionally trodden on in haste, have been enough to send my downstairs neighbours into a fit of passive-aggressive "but-we're-*so*-put-open" moaning every few months since I moved in, as regular as clockwork. Quite what anyone so noise-sensitive is doing living in the basement flat of an old converted house in a relatively central part of London or what kind of idyllic existence they expected is anyone's guess.

We - the original poster and others in this thread included - know we're entirely reasonable people. All you can do is remind yourself of that as frequently as possible even in the face of complaints to the contrary.

mintness said...

"open" = "upon", naturally. The perils of trying not to type too loudly...

Anonymous said...

i must be the luckiest person in brockley. Bought my top-floor cons. area flat about four years ago, partly because i just loved the hardwood floors. Didn't really think about noise. (first time buyer - so naive). And as it happens, noise has never been a problem - inspite of rather heavy music, quite a few dinner parties, and my guitar-strumming other half. I have repeatedly asked Downstairs to let us know if we're ever bothering them with noise, and they insist we never have.

The floor is new (put in right before i bought it). It used to be carpeted, and I think the previous owner just chucked this floor on top of the old one (and then shortened the interior doors so they don't scrape shut.) Whatever it is, the floor is wearing very well indeed, and with no noise issue, its been well worth sacrificing an inch or two of height.

jon s said...

Noise insulation between floors is simple:

1. Thick rug
2. Floating engineered-wood floor (or thick carpet)
3. Noise reduction underlay (e.g. timbermate silentfloor gold)
4. (optional) insulation between the rafters

It also has the added bonus of reducing heating bills.

Unfortunately with many amateur investors inspired by property ladder and like (until now) the renovations are crap, with exposed wooden floors or cheap underlay and floating laminate floors / carpet.

Pete said...

Hi Nobbly Brick, can you give me the details of your builder?

My email address is in my profile.

Thanks,

Pete

nobbly brick said...

pete

sent email to you

all the best

Pete said...

Thanks Nobbly.

Anonymous said...

I had to call 999 last year when new owners next door started gutting the whole house prior to turning it into 3 flats (in the conservation area) including knocking down chimney breasts. Rubble started falling down my chimney into my living room, and when I asked them to stop, they said they would but immediately started work again. Half an hour later, after my 999 call (which was made on the advice of a builder), the block had been evacuated and cordoned off, we had a fire engine and several police cars outside, with firemen checking the structural integrity of the block. They were horrified by the state of the place (and NB there were several illegal immigrant workers living there in atrocious conditions), and based on their advice emergency supports were put in overnight until more permanent supports could be put in place. Fortunately there doesn't seem to be any structural damage to my property, but I do now have kitchens on the other side of the walls where the chimney breasts used to be, and can hear the sounds of washing machines and slamming cupboard doors. The developers seem to have got away scot-free with knocking down the chimney breasts without getting planning permission or having a party wall agreement in - not to mention employing illegal immigrants and treating them like slaves (they worked 12 hours a day 7 days a week for the duration of the project).

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 12:42:

Would that be the flats near the corner of St Margarets/Tressillian Road?

At the time, I thought that the whole operation looked a bit dodgy.

Paddyom said...

I know this is off topic slightly but seem as this is an advice thread, does anyone know how to get rid of mice in a ceiing?

They are above my head in my bedroom scratching at night and beneath the floorboards of the upstairs flat living room, so my neighbours dont get disturbed at 3am.

I am going slowly crazier being awakened by noise at night and have laid poison everywhere outside and filled any holes / dead pipes which they might be getting in through. As i cant get to where they are it makes it very hard to sort out.

Anyone any suggestions?

Thank you oh fellow Brocklite neighbours xxxx

Anonymous said...

Nothing worse than living below inconsiderate neighbours who have gone for the bare floorboards look and are oblivious to the amount of noise they make. Have they not heard of slippers, rugs or carpets.

Monkeyboy said...

I found a mouse sitting on my kitchen top once - made me jump around screaming like a wuss.

Tried the 'humane mouse' traps but to no avail. The little cheap 99p mouse traps work for the occasional rodent issue in my experience. I baited it with peanut butter.

(expect I'll the mouse huggers telling me off now)

Anonymous said...

When it comes to rats and mice, the tried and tested original mouse trap is best. Nothing works like a bolt through the cranium at high velocity - do the job right!

Headhunter said...

I think we had the mouse discussion this time last year. I had a rat in my flat. You have to watch out for them at this time of the year (mice and rats) - as it gets colder they start to look for warmer spots and may move indoors if you leave windows open. They can literally run up vertical walls, especially the outside of buildings as bricks have plenty of small crags for them to hook their paws into.

I actually had a rat last year, it came into the kitchen and went down behind the washing machine which was pulled away from the wall at the time. When I pushed the machine back it was trapped below the floorboards. I used to heard it running around and chewing at joists or whatever. I called the council, as they have a pest department, but it took me AGES to get hold of them, I ususally got a voicemail which I would leave a message on and then no one would ever get back, however after a while they did respond only to tell me that there was nothing they could do if the mouse/rat was below the floorboards.

When I was living in Islington I had a small mouse in the flat and bought some standard snap traps and baited them with chocolate, but they were completely ineffective, the mouse would simply eat the chocolate and not fire the trap!

Islington Council sent a man round who laid poison which I assume got it, as it disappeared. He said that the most common breed of mouse these days is not the same as the ones that used to be around 50 or more years ago, nowadays they are field mouse types (like the ones you see on the Tube rails) and so small and light they can actually eat food off traps easily without firing them off, so he said the best thing is poison. The down side is that the mouse then dies under the boards and rots, however he said the body is so small that the smell only lasts a matter of days and is not strong.

Anyway, the rat I had in my Brockley flat last year just disappeared after a few weeks - no idea what happened to it. Now I've got those sonic deterrant things near my windows which some woman at work swears by.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, HH you had a "rat in yer kitchen" man....

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if there is anything that can be done about my neighbours a couple of doors down.

They have been keeping chickens for a few months, three of them, every morning they wake us up at the crack of dawn, you'd think chickens were no trouble but they are loud little critters.

I am thinking there is nothing we can do but put up with it as I am not sure there are any rules against it?

I keep hoping the local foxes will get in and do their job, but it seems they are on strike and the cats are lethargic at best.

Any ideas?

tj said...

I had a mouse in my last Breakspears road - as I was one month from moving, I named him Sebastian and let him stay.

Bea however, has a lot of experience...

max said...

I had a little mouse a couple of week ago and trapped it under a pot, then slid a cardboard under it and released it in the park.
I now have two "rat zapper" traps on at night but they didn't catch anything and I don't see droppings either, so maybe it was a lonely mouse although that would be unusual.
I also have three cats, so they could have taken care of the rest of the family without my knowledge. Two years ago for a few days they caught a mouse a day, tiny little things, babies really, then one day they came with a bigger one that I suspect was the mother.
Anyway, the rat zapper (google it) was recommended to me by my sister in law that swears by it and exterminated a mouse colony in her house with it.

13:.24 said...

Mice - In my experience, calling the council results in some bloke laying ineffective humane traps that you can buy yourself from DIY stores, i.e., a waste of time. Phone a private pest company, and tell them you want the problem SORTED. They are licensed to use poisons that are unavailable to the general public. I won't describe what they do to the mice, but the infestation problem should disappear almost overnight.

nobbly brick said...

...leaving the animals to rot under your floorboards and lead to an infestation of flies in a few weeks

Council should be able to enforce some kind of noise abatement thing on chickens - nice birds but wildly unsociable.

Headhunter said...

13:24 - Don't know what Lewisham Council do, but in Islington they laid poison not humane traps

Max - You did bloody well to catch a mouse under a glass! You must have lightening reflexes, either than or the mouse was on a go slow. Usually they move impossibly quickly

TJ - I wouldn't want to leave the thing running around, the one I had in Islington used to chew furniture, chew fabric to make nests, pee and crap all over the place (one corner at the base of a bookshelf I found absolutely reeked of rodent pee, I had to disinfect the whole area and even then it smelled like a hamster cage or something). They also get into your food stores, they can squeez through the tiniest gaps into cupboards and then chew through packaging.

NB - Rats and especially mice do not rot for long enough to be much good to flies and they wouldn't lead to an infestation - there's just too little meat on them. Apparently within about a week the body dries out completely and becomes a small pile of fur and bones.

patrick1971 said...

For rats and mice, the only real solution is to get a cat. Even if they don't catch any rats & mice, their smell is enough to keep the problem at bay. We have lots of lovely cats at Celia Hammond waiting for homes should any of you feel the urge!

Re council pest control: absolutely useless IME. When I lived in Deptford, neighbours claimed there was a mouse infestation. I never saw any, but then again, I had a cat! They lobbied the council to get them to send the pest control guys round. FOUR men came on a Saturday morning (presumably on double or triple time pay) and put down commercially available stuff that costs about £5 at B&Q. That's where your council tax is going, folks.

Chickens: the people who bought my place in Deptford want to keep chickens, and according to them they rang the council who said there was no problem with it as long as there weren't more than a certain number of chickens (can't remember how many). Do chickens really make that much noise?

Anonymous said...

Thanks NB, apparently the dept to ring for the chickens is animal welfare.

Spoke to a very helpful lady, who is going to pop round to the neighbours and see if something can be worked out, like keeping the chicken coup closed until say 8am.

Patrick - I know, when they first arrived I thought they were quite sweet, in a Goodlife sort of way, but they make a shed load of noise, it's a real bummer when they start up at 5am on a Saturday morning, in fact on any morning.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem with the conservation area flats is that they're are priced like a house and people what to live in them like houses and do full suburban thing, raise a family in them and this can create problems. Though nothing a little patience and understanding can't overcome.

Chickens in urban setting are going to become increasingly common, as a company called Omlet is doing heavy marketing in lifestyle magazines and supplements.
The marketing is so good it nearly got me until reality kicked in.

Omlet's Eglu

I would agree that the presence of a cat works. It certainly appeared to for us.

Headhunter said...

I heard about those Eglu things. Don't they deliver the whole kit, including eggs to hatch and feed? Friend of mine told me that chickens are great as long as you're not a keen gardener as they rip everything to shreds with their constant pecking for food. I thought is was cocks that made the noise not hens?

Brockley Nick said...

A relative of mine has an eglu. The hens share the garden with a dog during the day and are secure from fox attack at night. They don't make much noise to my knowledge, but their droppings are all over the garden...

Anonymous said...

If it all gets a bit too much you could always sell them off to Morleys

Anonymous said...

Freerange Organic Fried Chicken - how very Brockley, ha ha!

Danja said...

It also has the added bonus of reducing heating bills.

As heat rises, unless your downstairs neighbour is an eskimo with mad air-con, you are more likely to save your neighbour money, at your own expense.

Anonymous said...

Once 'Crispy Fried Fox' takes off our problems will be solved. Free, available and cures one pest problem - ideal in the Credit Crunch ('Credit Crunch Fox'??)

Headhunter said...

Danja - I don't get that. If heat rises then heat would rise from the basement flat upwards, helping heat everything above it to some extent, surely? I suppose that flats above the basement would each provide some insulation for each other, apart from the top floor.

Pete said...

Danja is correct, if you are living above someone there is no point insulating the floors of your flat as it will retain their heat in their flat.

Imagine if you had underfloor heating - why would you insulate over the top of it?

Anonymous said...

HH - do you really not understand the concept that hot air is lighter than cold air so it rises?

Good lord, what do they teach at Eaton?!

tj said...

In my last flat I had a heat obsessed, t-shirts and short sin winter wearing neighbour in the basement flat below me. My winter fuel bills were £30 a quarter. I'd come home in the evening to a toasty flat without having to switch my heating on at all.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I meant South Shields Grammar ha!

Anonymous said...

Ummm, loft insulation, any idea why that's there HH?

Headhunter said...

OK, I see, didn't read the emails and thread before. I understand what you're saying...

Eaton? South Shields Grammar? I went to a bog standard comp in Luton I'm afraid... Sorry to shatter anyone's illusions. I almost didn't write that, I'm actually flattered that you think I went to Eaton, but be true to yourself I thought, don't try to be what you're not. Be proud of growing up in da hood. My mum is from Highgate though. Does that help?

tj said...

It's Eton. And my mother grew up in Chelsea. And I'm as common as muck.

tj said...

Actually - at the risk of annoying the mods by going off topic - where is everyone from - and do you have real London connections?

I was born in Massachusetts, but grew up in North Essex. Moved to London 8 years ago. My London roots are my mother's family as above - who lived in Chelsea for over 300 years as greengrocers, fishmongers and traders.

Headhunter said...

See, I can't even spell it....

Headhunter said...

My mum's family have got loads of London connections. I have various Great and Great Great relatives etc from various areas including Highgate, Hornsey, Islington and Ealing. They were all a bit posh and went to good schools etc. My dad's family are from Yorkshire and his parents only moved down to Luton in the 1930s, but they didn't work in mines, very middle class, as far as the middle class existed back then. Also, I'm related to the man who invented the oil can you know the type wit the long spoutthat you pump to get flowing.

I was born in Luton and educated there and in the West Midlands, lived in La Reunion in the Indian Ocean for a year or so at uni, then Japan for a couple of years or so, then London from 1999.

There you have it.... Any questions?

Monkeyboy said...

Born n' bred in London (North London - still not got used to being south of the river). Spent 3 years in Brighton when at Uni and a year in Australia working.

As far as I'm concerned you're all foreigners ;)

Tamsin said...

From Gloucestershire where my mother and grandmother kept bantams for pleasure and hens for eggs. They are noisy - I recall a dawn chorus walk a couple of years ago in Sydenham Woods where the leader was trying to beat the record set the previous year for the number of species identified and there was debate whether the chickens we heard from a distant garden counted.

The Egloo thing looks very slick - but somehow doesn't seem quite right if it is not a delapidated wooden shed with deep litter.

Anonymous said...

please, I ams from Bydgoszcz in Poland, and I have been just a few weeks here. I am not coming over to steals your swans for dinner, but to work in plumbing industry, which I learnt with my broither in the shipyards. I have found minis cab office and am happy to be travellings around the town by train from brocklies.

Anonymous said...

yawn zzzzzzzzz

fabhat said...

me - round here -ish on and off for the last 30 years, with breaks for trying out living norf and uni. Parents grew up in US and all over the place respectively, but my Mum's parents both grew up in Deptford. Hence I learnt to swim, and went dancing at the same places my Granny did - but with a few years in between...

Anonymous said...

I moved from Brockley just over a year ago, to a tiny village in Cornwall. I had idiot neighbours in Brockley (some twat who rode his moped up and down his garden at 4am - OK probably a shfit worker or some such sob story but still f*cking annoying). But where I live now there is still tons of noise as we have moved in next to a 17 year old lad and his dad. No mum living there so when his dad is oput working in the pub it's like a youth club. You can run but you cannot hide!

Tamsin said...

Anyone hear the radio play "Silence" on Monday afternoon?

Anonymous said...

I live in a C road where there most of the houses have been converted into flats,the major topic on our road for years has been "noise"
The flats are badly converted, you can hear the people above/below next door....it is sad and causes breakdown of both neighbourhood valves and community as people take this noise as aimed at them, whereas the real story is shabby council conversations sold off in the seventies at rock bottom prices few updated and now so expensive with the house price rise that few can install the much need soundproofing.
As for landlords being forced to foot the bill the housing law states that if you choose to move into a house which already had soundproofing problems then you cannot expect your landord to later rectify this as you accepted /bought in that condition.
It is a no win situation and as beautiful as the C flats houses are they really do cause a lot of fustration to those who live in them and several of my direct neighbours will not even speak to each other any more because of these noise problems, which in a soundproofed home would never even have become an issue....
And I doubt our council will ever address or help to improve this situation which is sad as the standards of housing offered does reflect on peoples quality of life and most C flats in Brockley esp in my road fall well short of good or even acceptable soundproof standards,

drakefell debaser said...

I have only lived in London 8 years but my family is mainly from London. On my mum’s side, my family comes from Ealing, Acton with some Crawley, West Sussex added in. On my fathers side it is a mix of Cornish and London. I on the other hand was conceived in Nigeria, born in Israel, lived in the UK briefly after that before moving to Zambia and finally Zimbabwe when I was around 2 years old. The circus stopped in Zimbabwe and I stayed there until our uncle bob lost his marbles.

Brockley Nick said...

I'm a mixture of London and New Zealand and I have spent all my life, other than while at university, living in London.

nagachin said...

On soundproofing - it is part of the list of objectives on the Decent Homes Standard - however the council gets to pick which of the objectives it wishes to meet to bring the home to decent homes level - ie. they don't have to do all of them. I personally would have liked the soundproofing - but perhaps wisely the council have gone for windows and bathrooms and kitchens.

Anonymous said...

Omlet is owned by a friend of mine and the eglu's are great, he thought up the idea while living in London as he had had chickens while growing up in the country. They also have them for rabbits and so on.

Re noise our flats were converted in 2004 and the developer was made to stop work in order to comply with the latest sound regulations, as a result we can't hear each other except for one flat where it doesn't seem to have worked.

Tressilliana said...

I'm Scottish but we moved to Leeds when I was a child and then I came to London to go to university. I've now lived in London for nearly 30 years (23 of them in SE4). Everyone else in my family has managed to get back to Scotland and I have hopes of doing the same when we retire.

westsider said...

I think Drakefell Debaser's biography just gave the Catman an aneurism.

Anonymous said...

Ha, chance would be a fine thing!

The Cat Man said...

now now be nice...

Born, raised in winchester, the ancient capital of Wessex before it became London.

Its a small place, quiet but pleasant with good public services. the home of jane austin no less (she is buried there).

Moved to Reading fo work before uni, then uni in Egham, then post-grad in London and the rest is history.....

Tressilliana said...

Jane Austen only lived in Winchester for three months before she died, and went there solely for medical treatment. Why not claim King Alfred or St Swithun instead?

Anonymous said...

There's a University in Egham? What's the world coming to?

Anonymous said...

Uni in Egham? Suddenly it all falls into place...

Tressilliana said...

I assume this is Royal Holloway College, which is a decent place to study, part of the University of London.

The Cat Man said...

Only buried there for medical reasons? I had no idea about that.

Ah bless King Alfred, did you know there is even a regional 'wessex' party that wants to break away from the UK? Even has its own flag: A Gold Dragon on a red background.

Yes, I went to Royal Holloway. Its quite a nice place, very green. I fell in love with the Founders building (which looks like an palace).

The course was ok too :o)

13:24 said...

Looks like Brunel have an outpost there too. It's all relative I s'pose. I went to an institution in the E Midlands which was set up, pre-WWII, as an offshoot of UCL. It subsequently gained independent status.

Born and bred SE Londoner btw. Dad's parents Scottish, but settled in Peckham, and then moved onwards and Sidcupwards, Mum's folks from Bermondsey and Bromley.

I feel that this heritage gives me the right to "slag off" SE London from time to time!

The Cat Man said...

Yes, the boys from Brunel used to always come and check out the Royal Holloway girls at our student union! :o)

Headhunter said...

Phew, I'm back. Google kept telling me that my activity here looked like a virus or something and I couldn't get in! Seem to have lost "recent comments" though...

drakefell debaser said...

Makes you realise how useful the 'recent comments' tab is when it isn't there.

Time to seek some advice of my own:

Neighbours next door are having works done on their house and I got a letter through the door by the builder asking for access to our garden so they could access a part of the rear they couldn't from next door. I left the side door open for them to use but then on the weekend i noticed they have simply jumped over the fence trampled the flower beds etc with absolute no regard for our property. In fact there is a foot wide clearing now through the plants.

It’s the principle more than anything that has pissed me off but what can I do in this situation?

Danja said...

It is your neighbourly duty to retaliate and escalate. Get a tractor and plough up their whole garden.

drakefell debaser said...

Thanks Danja, I had similar thoughts although they dont really have a garden - just weeds so ploughing a tractor through it might actually benefit them. I might put holes in their large paddling pool when it makes an appearance next summer though

Tamsin said...

Seems a long time to harbour a grudge. And will we ever have another summer that is good enough to bring out a paddling pool? Leave dead fish on their doorstep...

tj said...

Had same issue with neighbour's builders - you should show the nighbour the damage. Most will be understanding, since you were good enough to allow access - and ours told us to get a bill for re planting (ie some new shrubs) and they passed the costs on to the builder. The builders have caused the damage - they should pay.

Anonymous said...

Lindy,

fact is if your neighbours knocked then they clearly could hear you.
Were they rude of shouting at you if so then they are unreasonable if they asked you nicely,then
perhaps you should have said sorry and been a bit more understanding that you live in a conversion flat which has a big price tag but probably just like my own little flat poor soundproofing.
Why not lay some thick carpet/underlay because if they can hear hand brushing then the flooring you have now is not blocking sound, and when their children get a bit older you will realise that, all the best with your neighbour,

Jayne

Anonymous said...

My neighbour has demanded that I cut the overhanging branches of a hedge. Doesn't the law state that he is allowed to cut it but must give me the branches if I want them?

Anyway has anyone else sometime like this?

Chris

The Cat Man said...

If you are talking about a party wall then yes, I have heard that is true.

If you are talking about a hedge overhanging a public path, then you are allowed a 75cm overhang. I have noticed there are many hedges in the C area which have a larger overhang but the council does nothing about it.

nobbly brick said...

ah the good life!

walking around the conservation with a tape measure!

Anonymous said...

That better be a plain steel tape measure, or it'll get snatched by the conservation police if it's a bright yellow one.

Tamsin said...

Yes, I've heard that about hedges - although if apples actually fall from his overhanging tree you can keep them. (If you pick them or cut the branches you hand everything back - which seems an incitement to instant retaliation or a sock on the jaw!)

Hedges and trees overhanging the pavement rendering it effectively unfit for purpose was one of the items raised in the Telegraph Hill Ward Assembly yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Coming down Montague Avenue by Hilly Fields there seems to be some very low-hanging branches... might just snap a few off if no one else is going to do it.

Anonymous said...

i'm so glad other people are having noise problems too!

i recently bought a flat in the conservation area and whilst the people below are super quiet the people next door are amazingly loud - i can hear all their conversations and their tv

i really don't want to be a whingeing neighbour but i think it's going to push me over the edge! any ideas??

Headhunter said...

Say something! You have the right to some quiet in your own home. My downstairs neighbour started playing loud music every few days a while back, I just went down and had a calm, quiet chat and he hasn't been much bother since. I think most people are pretty understanding and responsive.

Tressillian James said...

You can try, people are usually ubnderstanding - however, my nieghbour gave me a 'you don't understand my culture' speech, when I asked for the music to be turned down - this after suffering it until gone midnight.

Perhaps the best thing - and I'm serious here - is for a group of us to club together and get some discounts from a frim that does sound-proofing. There have been quite a few posting about sound issues - and if we could give one firm quite a bit of work we should get sizeable discounts.

Anonymous said...

Not In My Front Room!

JP said...

You should invite them in to hear the noise, so that they can appreciate the situation. Unless you think that they may not be so open to change. That's when it gets a bit messy. It did with me, but they did finally stop. Unfortunately we no longer speak.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing much to say to someone if you can hear their conversations through a wall what do you say stop speaking?. Shoddy building works sounds like to me. The only answer is to shell out on sound proofing the adjoining wall.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brockley Dogging Society said...

Dog.com?

Dog.common is more our cup of tea.

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