Nightly water torture

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty looks at the issues of who is responsible for minimising noisy water pipes within a block of flats - the landlord or the tenant?
Noisy water pipes cartoon
© Malcolm Willett (
Question: I own a flat on a long lease in a converted house. The water pressure has just been increased and, as a result, water passing through the pipes to the other flats is so loud that it wakes me up.

I am going to ask the landlord to sort out this problem. However, he can be very unhelpful and I would like to know whether I can force him to resolve it, as my right to quiet enjoyment is seriously affected.

Answer: You are correct in identifying the question of your rights as the main issue here.

You must check your lease to see what rights are granted to your flat over the rest of the building and what rights have been granted over your flat in favour of the other flat-owners and the landlord (and management company, if any).

It would be extremely unusual if the lease did not reserve a right for the other flats to run their services through your flat. If so, you cannot force your landlord to change the pipes. Most leases contain a covenant by the landlord giving the tenant “quiet enjoyment”.

However, this means that the landlord will not harass you - not that there will not be noise from pipes. The answer may be in insulating the pipes for noise and asking the landlord to include this as a maintenance charge for all the flat-owners to pay.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors

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