Do You Have to Tell Tenants About Noisy Neighbours?
Are landlords responsible if their tenants move in next to a neighbour from hell who makes their life miserable?
The question will likely be decided in court, where one angry tenant unwittingly moved into a flat with alleged noisy neighbours.
The tenant claims the landlord and letting agent should have told him about the neighbours before moving into the West London flat. He is demanding £9,000 in compensation, comprising £5,000 lost earnings and monies paid at the start of the tenancy.
The tenant, Nick Hatter, 27, told The Telegraph he said the letting agent he was looking for a quiet flat and was assured noise was not a problem.
However, from the start, he claims he was woken by loud music at 2 am, could hear neighbours talking and coughing, and was disturbed by rumbling London Underground trains.
The landlord and letting agent have declined to comment on the case.
But although the law says tenants should enjoy ‘quiet use’ of their private rented home, the term stops landlords from entering a rented house without permission and has nothing to do with noise levels.
The case highlights a gap in the law between buying and renting a home.
If the tenant were a buyer instead of a renter, the seller would have a duty to disclose a nuisance or antisocial behaviour nearby, which is enforceable in court.
But a landlord has no obligation to a tenant unless they ask a specific question before signing the rental agreement. If they do, failing to own up about defects or issues with neighbours could be considered a breach of contract.
If a landlord keeps quiet and the tenant moves in and complains, they would probably have to prove the landlord knew about the problem before the contract was signed.
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Under an occupation contract, there is a legally required term, and other tenancy agreements should include appropriate clauses about anti-social behaviour. Some local authorities have a licence condition for premises which require a licence under the Housing Act 2004, stating that landlords must take reasonable action to prevent and, where necessary, remedy anti-social behaviour.