Block living can throw up a plethora of nightmares, below are our tips for dealing with those horrors often found close to home.
Noisy neighbours are an inevitability at some stage in life, but block living can often bring this to the fore front. A nuisance can arise in many forms, but the most common one for leaseholders to contend with, quite unsurprisingly, is a noise nuisance. If a leaseholder is causing a nuisance on a consistent basis and all attempts to approach them in a neighbourly fashion have fallen on deaf ears, then the first port of call is to consult the terms of the lease.
From uncovered floorboards to noise after 11PM, many leases will provide for these particular issues. Subject to the covenants within the leases in question, the leaseholder suffering the nuisance may have the ability to compel the landlord to enforce the nuisance covenants within the noisy neighbour’s lease.
If the lease does not allow for this course of action, then subject to the extent of the nuisance it may be possible for the leaseholders suffering the nuisance to pursue injunctive relief and seek damages to compensate for any losses incurred. If you believe a fellow leaseholder is causing a nuisance, it is important that you gather as much evidence as possible. It is always helpful to keep a diary and record each incident thoroughly with as much contemporaneous evidence as you can. This will assist in establishing that the incidents are not a one-off and do in fact constitute a nuisance. It is also recommended that expert advice is sought early on to report on the noise levels as this will help if forced to pursue formal action later down the line.
We are a pet loving nation but it is not uncommon for leaseholders to be restricted when it comes to keeping pets in flats. Often this can be seen in the form of a blanket restriction or alternatively, only permitted with the landlord’s prior written consent. If it comes to light that a leaseholder is keeping pets in breach of their lease, then there are two options to consider. Firstly, depending on the type of restriction and block policy in place, an application by the leaseholder for retrospective consent may be appropriate if there are no concerns about the pet in question causing damage or creating a nuisance to other leaseholders.
If this is not an option and the leaseholder fails to make arrangements to remove their pet from the property within a reasonable period of time, then subject to the covenants within their lease and as above, the landlord may have the ability to seek injunctive relief for the removal of the pet from the property. This may also include a claim for damages for any losses incurred as result of pursuing this course of action.
The continuous popularity of AirBnB has led to an abundance of issues for both landlords and tenants alike. Worryingly it is becoming more and more common for unsuspecting flats owners to rent out their property only to later find that their tenant has unlawfully sub-let to a third party, or exploited it for their own commercial gain by marketing it on a holiday letting site with no real intention of ever residing in the property themselves.
This form of unlawful subletting can lead to a number of problems. Not only can it be in breach of the flat owner’s lease, but it can potentially be in breach of HMO licensing rules, mortgage agreements and can invalidate insurance policies. There is also a higher risk of property damage and anti-social behaviour as you often have no idea who is in occupation of the property at any given time. If it becomes apparent that a property is being sub-let unlawfully, then a landlords only real recourse is to seek possession of the property as a result of a breach of the tenancy agreement, as this will generally contain a qualified prohibition on assignment or underletting. This course of action would usually involve serving a notice pursuant to the Housing Act 1988 and thereafter issuing possession proceedings seeking an order for possession from the Court.
This can often be a costly and protracted process so a couple of ways to avoid finding yourself in this situation is to ensure proper references are obtained at the outset, regular property inspections are carried out and your tenancy agreement expressly prohibits sub-letting without the landlords prior written consent.
Lauren Fitzpatrick is an associate in the property team at Goodman Derrick LPP, the London law firm.