Are landlords responsible if their tenants move in next to a neighbour from hell who makes their life a misery?
The question is likely to be decided in court, where one angry tenant who unwittingly moved into a flat with alleged noisy neighbours.
The tenant claims the landlord and letting agent should have told him about the neighbours before he moved into the flat in West London. He is demanding £9,000 in compensation, comprising £5,000 lost earnings and monies paid at the start of the tenancy.
The tenant, Nick Hatter, 27, told The Telegraph he told the letting agent he was looking for a quiet flat and was assured noise was not a problem.
However, from the start, he claims he was woken by loud music at 2 am, could hear neighbours talking and coughing and that he was disturbed by rumbling London Underground trains.
The landlord and letting agent have declined to comment about the case.
But although the law says tenants should enjoy ‘quiet use’ of their private rented home, the term stops landlords entering a rented home without permission and has nothing to do with noise levels.
The case highlights a gap in the law between buying and renting a home.
If the tenant was a buyer instead of a renter, the seller would have a duty to disclose a nuisance or antisocial behaviour nearby which is enforceable in court.
But a landlord has no such obligation to a tenant unless they ask a specific question before signing the rental agreement. If they do, failing to own up about defects or issues with neighbours could be considered a breach of contract.
If a landlord keeps quiet and the tenant moves in and complains, they would probably have to prove the landlord knew about the problem before the contract was signed.