Am I a bad neighbour for ripping up the carpets in my top floor flat?

Am I a bad neighbour for ripping up the carpets in my top floor flat?

I ripped out the carpet in my top floor flat and now the people downstairs say I’m too noisy – am I a bad neighbour?

  • Anonymous UK-based woman revealed her neighbours say she is too noisy
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A woman has questioned whether she’s a bad neighbour after ripping the carpets up in her top floor flat – prompting a complaint from the people who live downstairs about noise. 

The London-based woman took to Mumsnet to share her conundrum and garner opinions, explaining that she has recently bought a top floor flat in a Victorian conversion.

After deciding the carpet on the hallway, stairs, on the landing and in the study was ‘pretty gross’, she decided to rip it up.

Now her neighbours have invited her over for a drink to discuss the flooring situation, telling her that it’s much for noisy since she got rid of the carpet.

Many forum users who responded to the post were on the side of the neighbours, saying they wouldn’t consider wooden flooring in a top floor flat, although some were on the woman’s side and said she can’t possibly be that noisy. 

A London-based woman asked Mumsnet if she’s a bad neighbour for ripping up the carpets in her top floor flat, resulting in complaints from the people downstairs about noise (stock image)

Outlining the situation, the woman wrote: ‘When I moved in, the previous owners left me a lovely note with really useful information including that the original floorboards were still intact if I wanted to rip the carpet up. 

‘There was carpet in the hallway, on the stairs, on the landing and in the study. The carpet was pretty gross so I made the decision to have the floorboards reclaimed and someone came to rip out the carpets.’ 

Her post continued: ‘In the meantime, I met the neighbours downstairs – a couple in their 30s, no kids, he works from home full time and she works in an office full time. 

‘I’ve only had conversations with him. He’s taken a couple of parcels in for me while I have been at work. 

‘He came across fairly relaxed and relatively friendly but I noticed he kept asking questions about what I was planning to do with the flat…which I did find a bit annoying because I got the feeling he was only talking to me to see, basically, how annoying a neighbour I was going to be rather than genuinely being friendly.

‘He told me that the previous owners were a couple with a son with learning difficulties and the son used to bang and stamp really loudly on the floor which they found very difficult so they liaised with the neighbours who agreed to get carpet and some kind of soundproofing. I only found this out after getting the carpets ripped out.

‘I asked him if I was noisy and he was like “oh no no, everything is fine”. I said I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable and that he should let me know if there were any issues.’

Her post continued, revealing that she had received a text message from the couple asking her to come for drinks so they can discuss the flooring situation, with the neighbours saying they had ‘noticed it was much more noisy since [she] ripped the carpet out’. 

According to the post: ‘I’ve agreed to go over but I’m not sure how I feel about the whole situation.

‘Firstly, I’m single, in my late 30s and live by myself and live a quiet lifestyle. I’m not running around having a rave every night so even though I understand they can probably hear me when I’m walking around, is it unreasonable of them to start interfering in how I decide to go my flat up – ie getting the floorboards reclaimed? 

According to the post (pictured) the neighbours asked to speak to the poster about her removing her carpets, which they say has made the property more noisy

‘What is a reasonable amount of noise for them to deal with? Given the nature of the flats and how they have been built, it’s highly doubtful that all noise can be eliminated. 

‘I’m concerned they are going to try and persuade me into getting soundproofing which I can’t afford. I work from home 2-3 days a week. 

‘I can understand it may have been a bit noisy recently as I have just moved in and have been getting people over to provide quotes on flooring, painting and decorating etc.

‘Any thoughts/opinions would be greatly appreciated.’

Many forum users who responded to the post were on the side of the neighbours, with one writing: ‘If I lived in a flat with someone below I wouldn’t even consider wooden flooring for this reason, and I’d like to think that neighbours would feel the same.’

Another agreed, adding: ‘Many leases don’t allow wooden flooring for this reason.’

Numerous respondents said the woman is being unreasonable, and a bad neighbour, even if she isn’t doing it on purpose

And a third said: ‘Anything other than a ground floor flat should be carpeted. It’s often stipulated in the lease as well.’

In a similar vein, another response said: ‘YABU. It is selfish to have wooden flooring in a top floor flat. You should be looking to replace the carpet.’

A further forum user added: ‘When I lived upstairs in a Victorian maisonette, it was a condition of the lease that the floors had to be carpeted.

‘You absolutely shouldn’t have any kind of hard floor above someone else’s flat.’

Another respondent who was in agreement added: ‘It’s usually in the lease that you must have carpet.

‘Even if it isn’t stipulated, you obviously have no idea what it’s like being the downstairs neighbour to someone who doesn’t have carpet.

‘Hint: it’s horrid. You hear everything even if the upstairs neighbour creeps.’

And a further Mumsnetter wrote: ‘I’m sorry but yes, I’m afraid that you are a bad neighbour. I know you didn’t do it on purpose, but it will be making a big difference to your neighbours’ quality of life.

‘You should put carpets back in – and no, rugs aren’t really a proper solution.’

However, a number of respondents felt that while it was unfair on the neighbours, it was the fault of the previous property owners, who they felt had ‘set up’ the poster – possibly to get revenge.

However, some forum users felt that the poster was not at fault, with some blaming the former owners of the property, and some suggesting her neighbours are being unreasonable

One wrote: ‘The people you bought from are bad neighbours. They have encouraged you knowing it would be a problem.’

Another added: ‘You’ve been stitched up by the previous owners. Accept their offer of a drink and chat. Get someone to walk around in your flat while you are downstairs. Then consider how you can make the situation better for your neighbours. Maybe a compromise on which rooms you carpet. Perhaps rugs in some rooms. Shoes-off policy for visitors etc.’

And a third said: ‘The previous owners have done a very unkind thing. Deliberately annoying the people downstairs and placing you firmly in the firing line. Have a reasonable chat with the neighbours and share honestly that the previous owners actually suggested it.’

Meanwhile, a small number of respondents said the poster was not being unreasonable. One said: ‘Tell them you are happy to receive a rug for Christmas… one person can’t be affecting them that much unless you tap dance at the weekends…’

And another added: ‘Don’t meet for drinks. They are going to try to back you into a corner. You need time to figure out what you want to do with your floors.’ 

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