housing association insisting on removal of laminate flooring or eviction
13/04/2013 9:51 pm
When I moved into my maisonette just over 4 years ago, it was in a terrible condition. wallpaper peeling, floors covered with rotting carpet or nothing at all, pretty horrible.
At my own (considerable) expense I've completely refurbished the place, including putting down laminate flooring throughout. The work was done in consultation with my original housing officer, but contact was always verbal, not written. Subsequent officers, including the current one, have been impressed with how nice the place is.
Now, 4 years later and I'm being ordered to remove the flooring, and threatened with eviction for breach of tenancy if I don't. No reason is given, but I suspect that a neighbour has complained about noise (though I don't think that things will be improved by removing it). Unfortunately the original housing officer has moved on.
The tenancy allows for me to make improvements as long as written permission is obtained, which should not be unreasonably withheld.
Obviously I'm making as strong an arguement as I can, but ultimately do I have a legal leg to stand on?
Grateful for any advice....
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13/04/2013 10:56 pm
I'm not sure about a legal leg to stand on, but as someone who lives in a HA flat below a neighbour who has recently installed laminate flooring the difference in the sounds coming from their flat is significant - they and I have lived in our flats for over 10 years and I have never heard voices, TV, doors closing, etc. from there before and now can hear all that.
I don't know the details of the law so can't really answer your question, but please don't underestimate the difference that laminate flooring compared to carpet can make to the noise levels experienced by your neighbours - and that is just everyday living noise - nothing out of the normal; they were amazed when they came down to my flat to listen to the sounds of someone watching TV, walking around, etc.
14/04/2013 2:05 am
hi, you wont get evicted, never heard the likes of it, if you put say a shower in instead of a bath, then you may be told get it out and put bath back in, but eviction, no way, who told you that.
anyway, in tertms of tenancy laminate is a nono in flats, unless you are ground floor, i prefer carpet myself, my relative did laminate if a flat, im waiting for complaints against him.laminate is so 90s, carpet is warmer and better.best rip it up unless you are ground floor and get decent carpet.
15/04/2013 9:59 am
As far as I know it is not the duty of housing officers to advice on what materials to use when refurbishing. that is part if the maintanance sector. Unless you can prove that the housing officer talked to the maintainance surveyor or manager and they told him her to tell you you could put laminate flooring. If the housing officer has moved on maybe the maintaince surveyor or manager is still there. Ask to speak to them, or to see all fyour repair records they have on file for your property (of course if they have done something dodgy, like giving you some permission to put the laminate flooring down - once you tell them this is what you are looking for, they will make sure any evidence against them is wiped out). However if you let me know how to contact you I can tell you about a case where against the insistence of the tenant, a housing director, has made sure that lamknate flooring was not removed. Why? because it was the housing association themselve to instal it against their own policy. Obvioviously it would be a case were they apply a law for themselves and one for their tenants.
17/04/2013 1:19 pm
We come up against this issue quite a lot and when we next revise the tenancy agreement, we will be including a caluse about laminate flooring as it does cause problmes and even staff arent always clear on who can / cant have flooring.
If your neighbour has complained about noise and you do not prevent / reduce the noise then there could be action taken against you for noise / anti-social behaviour. Would probably be a very lengthy procedure and I cant predict the outcome but do may be best to try and find out where the initial complaint has come from. If it is your neighbour, you may be able to resolve more amicably than ripping up your flooring. Your landlord would not be able to evict you for having laminate even if you hadnt requested permission - no judge would give this time of day especially if you said that when you came to renew the flooring you would consider carpet (but due to finances curently cant simply renew the flooring).
Speak to your neighbour if you can or agree a compromise with landlord.
17/04/2013 1:48 pm
It very much depends. If you are on the ground floor you could put carpet, but on upper floor the neighbour living below you, whether you carpet it or not, can always complain about noise or about the fact that the carpet is not thick enough or that the carpet is not fitted properly or that has been removed, etc. Of course you can also be able to demonstrate that the structure of the building itself is to blame, and therefore is it the landlord duty to instal proper sound insulation between flats.
17/04/2013 5:34 pm
They should really be telling you the grounds under which they are threatoning eviction.
Does your tenancy agreement directly prohibit the laying of laminate, or insist upon the laying of carpet or a similar material?
Is the level of noise you are creating enough to be considered a statutory nuisance?
If there is nothing directly about it in the tenancy and the noise you create in your flat is reasonable and between reasonable hours I think that should work in your favour.
Also, be willing to compramise. For example, you could install a better underlay to help deaden the sound being transmitted. You could also lay rugs in areas where there is most traffic. I think that showing a positive and compramising attitude, whether they are trying to get you on ASB or an unauthorised alteration, will certainly help.
17/04/2013 6:13 pm