Troublesome tenants

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty looks at what neighbouring owners can do when noisy and messy tenants move into a block of flats
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Question: I am an owner/occupier in a block of eight apartments, with a shared freehold. The flat beneath me is rented out and the tenants have caused disturbance since they moved in two years ago by breaking the terms of the lease in a variety of ways, for example by screaming and shouting during the night and banging doors, cluttering up the shared stairway with bags of rubbish and a muddy bicycle, and so on.

Everyone in the block is fed up with this tenant. The owner of the apartment is aware of the distress caused but says it is a good income. What can I do?

Answer: If the tenants below you are breaking the lease, the owner of the apartment will be liable. However, as owner of your flat you will not have a direct cause of action against him.

If the shared freehold is owned by a company, of which all the owners are shareholders, you should call a meeting to resolve that action is taken, at joint expense, against the owner of the downstairs flat. He will then have to take action against his tenants.

Alternatively, your lease may enable you to force the management company to take action, as landlord, on the breach of the other lease. However, in those circumstances, you will probably be liable for, and have to give security for, the landlord’s costs.

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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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