Help needed to understand lease due to dispute with neighbour - thank you!


I have owned (leasehold) a flat since 2015. I lived in it myself for 4 years, and have since been renting it out. When I first moved into the flat it needed some work doing, and thus I applied for permission to carry out the work. Whilst doing the work, I also decided to take up the old laminate flooring.

In 2020 a new tenant moved into the flat below mine and started to complain about being able to hear my tenant walking around. This came as a bit of a surprise to me as I had been able to hear the tenant above my flat doing the same, but just accepted that this was part of living in such a flat. However, I didn’t want the new tenant below to be disrupted by my tenant, so I worked with the managing agents (and freeholder) to refit a new laminate floor.

Post fitting the new flooring, the tenant below continued to complain to the managing agents, and also the local council. The managing agents sent out a surveyor who concluded in his report that my new laminate flooring didn’t have any underlay (which is incorrect and has been proven to be incorrect). On seeing the report, the managing agents then demanded that I remove the new floor and refit it with underlay. But, as stated, there is already underlay. Thus, the report was wrong. Also, the council case for the matter was closed due to lack of evidence.

Unfortunately, the issue continues. The managing agents have now given me a month to change the flooring, otherwise they have said that they will put me in breach of the lease. They have stated that the flooring has to be carpet (even though the freeholder fitted laminate flooring when renovating the property in 2010).

I would love some advice on this matter if anyone knows of anything that could help me. I am in the process of getting quotes to have carpet fitted, and I assume that this is what I’m going to have to do due to the wording in the lease.

I really appreciate any help.

Many thanks.

Firstly, sorry for not reading your lease, although I think this is a grey area…

Prior to the rise in popularity of laminate and wood flooring, most leases stipulated that carpet should be laid in the upstairs apartments. Since its increasing popularity many leaseholders have used laminate/wood flooring with a soundproofing underlay fitted underneath. In my opinion this should be adequate as long as the tenants are not constantly pacing up and down with heals on or have children constantly playing etc.

1 Like

Laminate is not allowed in many leases for these reasons. Unless you can make laminate acceptably quiet (which I don’t see how), you will always have angry neighbours below. They will drive your tenants out, which will be more costly than swapping flooring for carpet. If it were me I would fit carpet. You have no argument as it’s in the lease. What everyone else does in block is not relevant, even if they are in breach of lease.


as Mark 10… I have some experience in this having bought a flat in a block of 4 for my daughter. The lease stated u/lay and carpet for all the rooms bar bath and kit. Also in my flats I put down 10 mm underlay and carpet, as sound deadeners. If you do not ,you will always have trouble

1 Like

Thanks very much for the replies. I really appreciate it. I was slightly disheartened with the freeholder for selling me the flat with laminate when the lease states carpet, and also then having worked with the agent to fit the new laminate, only for them to tell me that I have to change it again. However, since posting this I’ve come to realise that this is my issue, not any one elses, and that I need to do the right thing for my tenant. So I’m going to fit carpet with a really good underlay in the hope that it makes things better for everyone.

I appreciate the quick replies and advice, thanks very much :slightly_smiling_face:

You should comply with their request and replace any sound-proofing boards under the floor that you removed. You should never have removed them or laid a laminate floor in the first place. Im not surprised people are so upset about this.

1 Like

Thanks for your reply David. As you can see in my previous comment, I have already decided to carpet the flat.

Just to clarify a few things though; I didn’t remove any sound proofing boards. And the freeholder had already laid laminate prior to me purchasing the flat. So I guess they put themselves (and consequently me) in breach of the lease.

But thanks again for your reply.