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Payments firm Klarna valued at £32bn after raising funds for expansion

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Payments firm Klarna is now worth £32billion after raising a fresh chunk of money to help fund its expansion.

The shopping credit business, popular with millennials in their 20s and 30s, pulled in £451.7million of new money from Softbank and US venture capital firms Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and Westcap Group.

It means Klarna’s value has now ballooned from £22billion in March and £7.8billion last September, making it the second-highest valued unlisted financial tech firm in the world.

Whip round: Payments firm Klarna pulled in £451.7m of new money from Softbank and US venture capital firms Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and Westcap Group

The company allows consumers who shop online to pay for their items in instalments, or to pay after their shopping arrives in the post so they have time to try it first.

But Klarna, which was founded in Sweden, has drawn criticism in the UK for luring young people into unsustainable debt.

MPs and regulators are worried shoppers use Klarna without thinking of the risks, and only realise months later that they are paying off debts they cannot afford.

Chief executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski argues that his company is a force for good, and that using Klarna, which does not charge interest or late payment fees, is far better than using a credit card.

Siemiatkowski, a father of three, said: ‘I’m very proud of the investors who are supporting Klarna’s ambition to challenge these outdated models to empower consumers with fair, transparent, and convenient products to help them bank, shop and pay each day.’

Klarna said that 1 per cent of the money it has raised from investors will be ‘directed to initiatives supporting planet health’. 

The firm gets most of its money through partnering with retailers, whom it charges a fee – it works with more than 13,500 in the UK including Asos and H&M.

It has 90m users worldwide, with 14m in the UK, and last year its operating profit rose 44 per cent to £777million.

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Mortgage rates may be bottoming out as 5-year fix falls to 1.19%

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Experts are predicting a ‘bottoming out’ of the mortgage market after interest rates hit record lows this week.

Average mortgage rates for borrowers with deposits of at least 40 per cent dropped to the lowest on record in May, according to analysis of new figures from the Bank of England by Knight Frank Finance.

Average two-year fixed rates at 60 per cent loan-to-value dropped to 1.20 per cent, compared to 1.32 per cent a year earlier.

Bottoming out? Mortgage rates have hit record lows, but could be set to rise 

When the Bank of England started tracking this data in 2012, the figure was 2.76 per cent. 

The extremely low cost of mortgage borrowing has helped to fuel the ongoing housing boom in the UK since the housing market reopened after the pandemic.

‘Buyers’ insatiable appetite to move home has meant the value of new mortgages started the year at highs not seen since before the 2008/09 financial crash,’ said Paul Stockwell, chief commercial Officer at Gatehouse Bank. 

‘There has been frenzied activity in the market, with movers searching for larger homes and more outdoor space, while the extension of the stamp duty discount to the end of June added more fuel to the fire in the first quarter of this year.’

This was reflected in the Bank of England data, which showed that mortgage lending commitments were 15 per cent higher in the first three months of 2021, than in the same period last year.

However, some mortgage market experts are claiming interest rates are unlikely to go any lower, and that borrowers are soon to see the tide turn in the form of rate increases.

‘Borrowers have never had it so good’ 

‘Mortgage rates at 1.2 per cent almost certainly represent what will be the cheapest point of this cycle,’ says Simon Gammon, managing partner at Knight Frank Finance.

‘Borrowers have never had it so good, and ultra-low mortgage rates are a significant reason why house prices are climbing at their fastest pace since 2014.

‘However, with the economy roaring back to life and inflation picking up, we’re already seeing some big lenders notch up the price of their products in anticipation that interest rates will begin to rise. 

‘This will be a gradual process, but the path of the cost of the mortgages will be upwards from this point onwards.’

Also this week, data published by financial information firm Defaqto showed that lenders were offering historically low rates on 5-year fixed products for those with 40 per cent deposits.

It said that the current best buy was the Barclays 5-year fixed at 1.19 per cent, which was the lowest rate on the market for at least 12 years.

Until a few months ago, the best comparable rate being offered was 1.28 per cent, Defaqto said.

Katie Brain, consumer expert at Defaqto, said the low rates showed that lenders were finally passing on the benefits of the extremely low 0.1 per cent base rate to customers.

‘We haven’t seen rates this low for a very long time and it is great news for anyone looking to re-mortgage,’ she said.

‘While the Bank of England kept interest rates low throughout the pandemic, we have not seen this passed on to borrowers like this until now.’ 

‘These rates are very attractive if you know you are going to stay in your property for the next 5 years and can lock into a fixed rate,’ she said.

However, Brain said that there could be further rate decreases across lower loan-to-value products, suggesting that the market may not have hit bottom just yet. 

‘Although these products are primarily designed for those looking to re-mortgage, hopefully it is an indication of where mortgage lending is heading and we may see rates being lowered across the board,’ she added. 

While the higher-deposit market, driven by remortgages, remains very affordable, rates at the other end of the scale are not hitting the same record lows.

Rates on 5 per cent deposit mortgages, for example, are more than 4 per cent in some cases.

House prices have soared by 10.9 per cent over the past year, according to Nationwide’s index

Rates still historically very low 

Whether rates will go up overall depends to a large extent on inflation, so it is difficult to predict when this will happen.

‘Mortgage rates are at historically low levels and there is a general consensus that rates will go up when inflation returns,’ said Marc Goldberg, head of sales at estate agent Marsh & Parsons.

‘Whilst I suspect that rates have bottomed out, there are so many variables and you can’t say anything for certain at present.’

If mortgage borrowing does become more expensive, it could help to slow down the runaway house price rises witnessed in the past year.

The latest estimates show increases of around £30,000 on average.

‘It is inevitable that with any significant increases in mortgage rates this will put the brakes on house price inflation’, Goldberg added. ‘Although we are not expecting any dramatic changes this year with so much uncertainty clouding the backdrop.’

If there are any rate increases, they are likely to be small and gradual.

‘We believe rates will remain steadfastly low, with very small increases over the next few years allowing the long-term changes driven by the pandemic to continue to fuel market demand for some time,’ said Stuart Law, CEO of property business the Assetz Group. 

With so much uncertainty in the market, the movement of mortgage rates is difficult to call. So what is the advice for borrowers?  

Sam Le Pard, co-founder of LEXI Finance, an advisory firm to residential developers, reminds those looking to buy or remortgage their home that, even if rates go up, they will probably still be very low in a historic context.

‘We’ve seen market commentators try to call ‘bottom’ before, only for it to fall further, so it’s hard to say definitively,’ he says.

‘With the money that’s been pumped into the system since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the seeming urge for lenders to get cash into the market, I wouldn’t be surprised to see small further reductions in lender’s pricing. Equally, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some rises, especially if the BoE becomes more concerned about inflation.

‘But, if you compare current mortgage pricing with long term trends these are incredibly low prices, it’s a good time to borrow.’

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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These are the 20 ‘ordinary’ cars that became unlikely classics

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Some ordinary – and frankly underwhelming – everyday cars from the past are rising in value faster than desirable classics like the E-Type Jaguar.

Models like the Ford Cortina, Renault 4, Hillman Imp, Austin Princess and the infamous Allegro – all motors that were commonly owned but often underappreciated and never predicted to become collectible – have jumped in value by as much as 20 per in the last 12 months, according to a new report.

With their numbers dwindling and nostalgic car enthusiasts frantically attempting to track down remaining examples of vehicles from they owned years ago, some very unlikely motors are starting to sky-rocket in value at levels even the most eagle-eyed collector wouldn’t have predicted seeing.

Better than a savings account: Hagerty has revealed the top 20 ‘unexceptional’ motors from our past that have sky-rocketed in value in the last 12 months. It includes the Mk1 Ford Cortina. Pictured: The 250,000 Cortina to come off the assembly line at the Ford Dagenham plant in September 1963

The list of the fastest-appreciating ordinary cars has been revealed by Hagerty, the UK classic car insurer that also monitors sale prices of the world’s most exotic classics – and some that you’d never have considered becoming cherished collector’s items. 

The Hagerty Price Guide tracks market values for nearly 2,200 collectible motors so owners, as well as buyers and sellers, have an accurate picture of their car’s worth. 

The latest update to the guide has seen an impressive 196 once-average models added to the review, and the Hagerty analysts that compile the data – taking sales results from UK auctions, trade sales and private sales – have compared average value in 2020 with their average in 2021 to date.

It has seen once-mainstream motors become soaring assets in the last 12 months – though, it should be pointed out, all of them starting from a very low base price in the first place.

Increases for the top 10 performers is between 4.4 per cent and a massive 20.4 per cent (we have also listed the best performing models from 11 to 20 in the table at the bottom of the page).

That compares to an 8.2 per cent rise in value for the Jaguar E-type Series III in the past year, from an average sale price of £54,988 across all models in 2020 to £59,500 in 2021. 

The Ferrari 308 GTB has gone from £61,200 to £65,475 too – a gain of 7 per cent – no match for the value increase of some of the unlikely once-ordinary collectibles in the list below. 

At a time when precious few bank savings accounts better a return of 1 per cent, investing in one of these 10 cars looks set to provide a much better financial return.

The Covid-19 lockdowns have sparked a boom in classic car projects, with owners discovering they have more time and disposable income to spend on their unfinished restoration jobs

This is predominantly due to them becoming far less ordinary than they were in their heyday, with many scrapped, dilapidated beyond repair, stolen and then crashed, or ditched by former owners.

There has also been a significant boom in people taking on classic car restorations and projects since the lockdown hit, with enthusiasts finding they have more time and funds on their hands to work on their neglected vehicles – a pastime that can be enjoyed without worrying about social distancing. 

This means examples of even the most bland models from yesteryear are becoming increasingly collectible – if you can find one. And with this healthy rise in value they can often offset any associated running and maintenance costs, making them a surprisingly sound investment that owners can enjoy at the same time they’re rising in worth. 

Explaining the reason for the surge in values of these previously undesirable models, John Mayhead, head of automotive intelligence for Hagerty said: ‘These everyday cars are becoming increasingly rare. For decades the vast majority were unloved workhorses that would eventually be sold for scrap at best. 

‘Now, with rarity on their side and nostalgia tugging at the heartstrings, enthusiasts are snapping up the remaining examples, sometimes because of an emotional connection and sometimes perhaps because they feel a duty to preserve them for the enjoyment of future generations.’ 

Here’s the top 10 countdown of the highest-appreciating unlikely collectibles. 

10. Alfa Romeo 33 (1987-1994) – up 4.4%

Avg 2020 value: £2,288 

Avg 2021 value: £2,388 

Avg gain: £100

There can’t be many Alfa 33s left on the road today. In fact, DVLA records show there could be fewer than 30 registered in the UK today

Alfa Romeo is one of the brands that has a dedicated following of cult fans – so it isn’t surprising to see one in this list. The long-forgotten 33 – which was available as a hatchback and a rather wonderful estate – has seen a 4.4 per cent gain in value in the last year.

While that’s only a £100 rise, it means the prices being paid are in the region of £2,400. In terms of affordable classics, this definitely fits the bill, though only around 30 remain on the road in Britain today.

9. Austin Princess (1975-1981) – up 5.1%

Avg 2020 value: £3,163 

Avg 2021 value: £3,325

Avg gain: £162

Poor reputation for reliability, build quality and performance means the Princess has been relatively cheap to buy for some time

The Princess is one of those cars that the majority of owners in the late ’70s were glad to see the back of – but has such a enthusiastic following of British Leyland boffins that they won’t stand for any criticism levelled at the royal-named motor. 

Poor reputation for reliability, build quality and performance means they’ve been cheap for a while. However, the average price in 2021 is a scarcely believable £3,325. 

8. Peugeot 203 (1948-1960) – up 5.2%

Avg 2020 value: £7,750 

Avg 2021 value: £8,150

Avg gain: £400 

You’ll struggle to get your hands on a 203. In fact, you’ll do well to remember this long-forgotten Peugeot saloon at all

The 203 is the oldest – and most unusual – car in the top 10 list, which arguably makes it a more verifiable classic than the rest. It predated the 403 and 204, which themselves arrived ahead of the 404 and 304 – Peugeots you are more likely to remember.

The rarity impact is big on values in this case. That’s why average sales are £8,150 in 2021.

7. Renault 16 (1968-1979) – up 7.4%

Avg 2020 value: £4,725

Avg 2021 value: £5,075

Avg gain: £350 

The 16 doesn’t have the legendary status of the 2CV, DS or 5 Turbo, but it is one Renault that’s starting to post appreciating values

Bar the iconic 2CV and DS – and the rally legend 5 Turbo – there aren’t many Renault’s qualifying as bona fide classics. But the 16 is slowly starting to gather value.

It wasn’t hugely popular in its heyday and is extremely rare by 2021. Despite this, affordability is good, even despite a 7.4 per cent value rise in the last 12 months. This translated to a £350 gain in the past year, to an average of £5,075.  

6. Ford Cortina Mk3 (1970-1976) – up 7.8%

Avg 2020 value: £6,527 

Avg 2021 value: £7,038

Avg gain: £510 

One of the most popular models of its era, there is strong nostalgia appeal with the Mk3 Ford Cortina, rather than values rising due to rarity

While some of the cars already mentioned are motors you might not recall, the Cortina certainly doesn’t fit into that bracket. One of the most popular models of its era, there is strong nostalgia appeal with this one, rather than it being entirely down to rarity.

The Mk3 Cortina has risen 7.8 per cent in average values between 2020 and 2021, an unexceptional car that has outpaced plenty of much more obvious classics recently. 

See more cars like these at next month’s Festival of the Unexceptional 

The Festival of the Unexceptional is the annual motor show purely for once common cars from previous eras that have long been forgotten

The Festival of the Unexceptional is a celebration of the cars that were once a common sight but are now a rarity on UK roads. With the event cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, it makes a return this year, hosted at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire on Saturday 31 July. 

Originally staged in 2014, the showpiece for underwhelming motors has earned its place in the automotive calendar as an attainable concours event offering a mix of rare cars and a prestigious location in an informal and friendly approach. 

The unique event celebrates cherished everyday classic cars and acknowledges this growing movement among owners and enthusiasts alike.

The show was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. It makes a return this year, hosted at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire on Saturday 31 July.

Whether you want to cast your eyes over an Allegro, truly appreciate a Vauxhall Cavalier or delight at a Datsun Cherry, this is the show that will deliver. It attracts much maligned and long forgotten ‘ordinary’ classic cars and commercial vehicles of the late 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s – many of which you’ll unlikely come across on the road today.

Tickets for the popular festival are strictly limited and highly sought after. 

Tickets are available at just £5.75. Children up to the age of 12 go free. Interested showgoers can visit this link.

Whether you want to cast your eyes over an Allegro, truly appreciate a Vauxhall Cavalier or delight at a Datsun Cherry, this is the show that will deliver

5. Hillman Imp (1963-1976) – up 10.1%

Avg 2020 value: £4,200 

Avg 2021 value: £4,625

Avg gain: £425

Picutred in 1963: Prince Philip drives away from the Rootes factory in a new Hillman Imp with Lord Rootes and the Hon. Jeffrey Rootes as passengers. The Duke reportedly twice drove the Imp at speeds of 80mph when he opened the Scottish plant at Linwood near Paisley

The first car to make our top five that is currently outpacing the Series III E-Type Jaguar – is Hillman’s Mini rival, the Imp. A reliability nightmare, it’s little surprise that so few remain on the road in 2021.

Such rarity explains why average sale values have now hit £4,625 – a £510 rise in just 12 months. Fans of dinky car who can’t afford one of the original ’60s Minis could be tempted by the next best thing, especially while it’s making some impressive financial gains.

4. Renault 4 (1962-1980) – up 10.6%

Avg 2020 value: £4,725

Avg 2021 value: £5,225

Avg gain: £500

The Renault 4 reportedly might be making a comeback soon, though as an electric car. Values of the original are up more than 10% in a year, says Hagerty 

There’s been a lot of talk of the Renault 4 making a comeback as an electric car in the not too distant future, which might have triggered the memories of collectors looking to get their hands on the original.  

The French brand’s charming people’s car of the ’60s and ’70s has still just crossed the £5,000 barrier in the last year as prices are up more than 10 per cent. Availability is limited – though a short trip over the Channel for a left-hand-drive version might be an option. 

3. Austin Allegro (1973-1982) – up 13.6%

Avg 2020 value: £2,425 

Avg 2021 value: £2,755

Avg gain: £330 

The Allegro might have been the butt of Top Gear jokes for years, but it appears it could be having the last laugh. Values are up almost 14% in a year – though that only translates to £330. Clarkson, May and Hammond were probably right all along

We recently told you about the dwindling numbers of Austin Montegos, Maestros and Metros in the UK – but there’s another Austin model that is depleting rapidly in volumes.

The Allegro is – thanks to Top Gear – infamous. But despite being much maligned, it appears to be getting the last launch, with average values up by almost 14 per cent in the last 12 months, with British Leyland enthusiasts eager to keep them on the road.

2. Ford Cortina Mk1 (1962-1966) – up 19.4%

Avg 2020 value: £6,367

Avg 2021 value: £7,600

Avg gain: £1,233

The second iteration of the Cortina to make it onto the the list of appreciating ‘ordinary’ motors is the Cortina Mk1. Values are likely soaring following the sale of Lotus-tuned special models in recent months

The second iteration of the Cortina to make it onto the the list of appreciating ‘ordinary’ motors is the Cortina Mk1. While it was bought in droves it has for a long time been a desirable classic car at the affordable end of the market.

Since the first lockdown, average values have sky-rocketed by 19.4 per cent. However, this is likely due to the hugely inflated prices some drivers are paying for the mega-collectible Lotus-tuned variants. This has pushed the average model value up from £6,367 to £7,600 in the last year. 

1. Triumph 1300 (1965-1970) – up 20.4%

Avg 2020 value: £3,375 

Avg 2021 value: £4,063

Avg gain: £688

The biggest riser among these rather unexceptional old motors is the Triumph 1300. Values have risen by 20%  – but that still means you can get one today for £4,000 on average

An often-overlooked rival to the Ford Cortina, Dolomite Sprint and Austin 110, the Triumph 1300 is the fastest appreciating ‘ordinary’ car in this list. 

While it might not have been as desirable as some of its rivals when new, it is finding favour in the classic market in 2021. The average price is just over £4,000, which is good value for a car from that era, but also a surprising climb of nearly £700, or over 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.

More ‘ordinary’ cars rising in value at an extraordinary pace: Rankings 20-11 of models offering better financial reward than a savings account

20. Peugeot 304 (1969-1980) – up 1.6%

Avg 2020 value: £4,675 

Avg 2021 value: £4,750

Avg gain: £75

19. Hillman Hunter (1966-1977) – up 1.8%

Avg 2020 value: £5,158

Avg 2021 value: £5,250

Avg gain: £100

18. Wolseley 1300 (1967-1973) – up 2.2%

Avg 2020 value: £4,475 

Avg 2021 value: £4,575

Avg gain: £100 

17. Wolseley 1100 (1965-1968) – 2.5%

Avg 2020 value: £4,050 

Avg 2021 value: £4,150

Avg gain: £100

=16. Ford Cortina Mk2 (1967-1970) – up 2.7%

Avg 2020 value: £7,550 

Avg 2021 value: £7,753

Avg gain: £203 

=16. Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 (1975-1981) – up 2.7%

Avg 2020 value: £3,677

Avg 2021 value: £3,777

Avg gain: £100

14. Ford Sierra (1982-1993) -up 2.9%

Avg 2020 value: £3,466 

Avg 2021 value: £3,566

Avg gain: £100

13. Austin Metro (1980-1990) -up 3.2%

Avg 2020 value: £2,144

Avg 2021 value: £2,213

Avg gain: £69

12. Ford Fiesta Mk2 (1986-1989) – up 4.1%

Avg 2020 value: £3,800

Avg 2021 value: £3,956

Avg gain: £156

11. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 116 (1980-1985) – up 4.3%

Avg 2020 value: £2,319

Avg 2021 value: £2,419

Avg gain: £100

CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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My noisy upstairs neighbours are driving me mad: What can I do?

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My partner and I live in a converted flat and we can hear everything my neighbours do upstairs.

There are no carpets so when they’re walking it sounds like an elephant is above us. When they hoover it sounds like someone is sawing through the ceiling and when they do their workouts, the windows shake. 

When they are speaking loudly or watching TV, we can pretty much hear every word – and they love watching war films late at night. They also have a dog, which often barks.

This reader says that his upstairs neighbours ‘sound like an elephant’ when walking around

Both us and the flat above own a share of the freehold and I have spoken to them about it previously, but they just say it isn’t an issue for them. Can anything be done to solve my problem?

Is there any point trying to soundproof the ceiling, or is it more effective to do so from above – and how expensive will it be? Would it increase the value of my flat?

Are there any legal avenues I can explore, and as we share the freehold would it be within my rights to ask them to share some of the costs? Via email

Ed Magnus of This is Money replies: Of all the neighbourly complaints, noise disputes are perhaps the most common.

Whether you live in a converted flat, a purpose-built apartment or a terraced house, neighbour noise can come from multiple directions.

Particularly if you live in a busy town or city, a certain level of noise is unavoidable: we have all been woken by pigeons roosting, binmen shouting or car alarms sounding. 

But there is something much more invasive and unsettling about the noise of your neighbours coming through the walls, ceilings or floorboards.

The action you can take depends on the reason for the noise. 

It’s not always the neighbour’s fault – particularly when it comes to flats that have been converted from older houses.

Only in July 2003 did soundproofing regulations for residential homes come into force.

Are your neighbours breaking the building rules with their noise? You can look at their lease to check whether they are not allowed animals, for example

These building regulations apply to both new-builds and flat conversions, as well as semi-detached and terraced housing. 

They place certain requirements on the separating walls, floors and ceilings between different properties.

If you feel your home contravenes these rules, you could take legal action against the developer or builder and potentially force them to pay for improvements.

This would require you taking a sound test to prove that the noise was at an unacceptable level.  

But unfortunately, the law does not apply retrospectively – so if your flat was converted before 2003, there is no legal action that can be taken. 

If the noise problem can be proved to be anti-social behaviour, you are within your rights to complain to the local council on the basis of it being a statutory nuisance.

Noise, including loud music and barking dogs are examples that could justify the council investigating further, although the advice is to try and solve the problem by talking to your neighbour before contacting the council.

If the council decides your neighbour is causing a statutory noise nuisance, they must issue a notice telling your neighbour what they should do to stop or restrict the noise, and they can be prosecuted or fined if they ignore it.

However, if the noise is occurring from normal day-to-day living rather than anti-social activities, then complaining to the council will almost certainly be unsuccessful.

To help in answering our reader’s dilemma, we spoke to Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance; Stuart Miles, solicitor at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors; Mike Hansom, solicitor and partner for property disputes at BLB Solicitors; Phil Lyons, senior technical advisor at the Soundproofing Store; and David Westgate, group chief executive at Andrews Property Group.

What should be your first course of action?

Paula Higgins replies: It sounds like a cliché, but it’s usually good to talk to your neighbours first.

When you approach them, it is a good idea to have three examples of when they were excessively noisy to hand, complete with dates.

Tell them how the noise affected you, but don’t be accusatory – being calm and reasonable typically gets better results than being confrontational.

Rather than saying, ‘you kept me awake’, tell them, ‘I could not sleep because of the noise that night.’

You should also specifically tell them how you would like the problem solved.

Are there any legal avenues to explore?

Stuart Miles replies: The lease of your neighbour should be carefully scrutinised to see if there are relevant clauses to assist here.

This can be obtained from HM Land Registry for a nominal sum.

Some leases contain clauses that may be relevant, such as not being allowed to have animals without permission; needing to have carpet and underlay; and not causing a nuisance or annoyance to other occupiers of the building.

The above clauses are just a few examples, and the wording varies from lease to lease.

Subject to the particular wording of the clauses, and whether or not the neighbour has a consent or licence confirming that they do not have to obey the relevant clauses, then legal action can be contemplated.

Even if there is no such clause in the neighbour’s lease, if the noise is at an unreasonable level and frequency, you can consider a claim for nuisance and breach of your right to quiet enjoyment.

Noise pollution: Being able to hear your neighbour’s every move can be a major annoyance  

How does a claim for nuisance work?

Mike Hansom replies: As well as giving you a right to take legal action against your neighbour, the local authority has an obligation to investigate, and where appropriate, to bring enforcement action to prevent any statutory nuisance.

However, a nuisance claim will not succeed if the neighbours are using their flat in an ‘ordinary and everyday’ way.

This means you are unlikely to be able to prevent them from hoovering, walking around or talking at low volume, simply because the structure of the building is such that you can hear their every move.

Whether the dog barking and home fitness amount to a nuisance will depend on their volume and frequency You will need evidence in the form of a diary, and audio recordings to prove these activities are outside the ‘ordinary and everyday’.

Am I likely to succeed in a legal claim?

Mike Hansom replies: There are multiple legal relationships at play here, because each of you is a leaseholder, and collectively you are also the landlord.

Where there is a management company, company law applies to regulate the obligations of directors and members.

Alternatively, if the freehold is owned in the individual names of the leaseholders, trust law must be considered.

This means it is common for each individual leaseholder to have different obligations and roles to play at the same time.

Whilst this legal mixing bowl provides a variety of potential angles and ways to pursue a claim, it also makes for a complex legal framework which is often very difficult to navigate.

Noisy neighbours are unfortunately something that many people have to contend with

There is no guarantee you will succeed, and even if you do, the judge may not award you costs.

For this reason, you should consider mediation as an alternative to court proceedings which could save time and expense.

You should also check whether you hold a legal expenses insurance policy that might cover the costs.

It is recommended that you check that as soon as possible, as there will likely be a time limit to report a potential claim to the insurer.

Might soundproofing completely solve the problem? 

Phil Lyons replies: Silence is incredibly difficult to achieve when you are physically sharing a structure with other people. 

Soundproofing in domestic environments is more about achieving a good reduction in volume and clarity, as opposed to blocking the sound out completely. 

Is it possible to reduce the vibrations from above?

Phil Lyons replies: Footfall impact or moving furniture on the floor above creates a vibration.

Vibration travels easily through solid materials and therefore will travel through the floorboards, into the timber joists and straight down into your ceiling.

The only way to stop the vibration from travelling into your ceiling is by either adding a cushioning or resilient layer to the floor above to reduce the impact at the source, or building a new suspended ceiling which is ‘de-coupled’ or isolated from the structure so that the vibration cannot transfer into it.

Generally, it is more effective to stop it at the source on the floor if possible.

What about the sound of voices or the dog barking? 

Phil Lyons replies: Dog’s barking, people’s voices, TV and music is what we refer to as airborne noise.

Airborne noise is only blocked by mass.

Mass comes from heavy, dense materials and therefore you need to add materials to the ceiling or floor that are very heavy and dense.

If it’s a timber joist construction in which there is an empty cavity between the ceiling and floor above, it means any sound from above or below echoes, resonates and amplifies – this is called the drum effect.

To stop sound from resonating inside, you need to add acoustic insulation into that cavity space which will absorb the sound and stop it from resonating.

Is it more effective to soundproof from below or above?

Phil Lyons replies: There are many different types of soundproofing which are designed for differing construction types and levels of noise.

Soundproofing the floor tends to be the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective solution as this generally just requires adding a soundproof matting to the floor to get an improvement in sound reduction.

Soundproofing the ceiling is a much bigger job involving removing the existing ceiling and re-building it much better.

But in a perfect world you will get the best results from doing a combination of both.

What are the costs?

Phil Lyons replies: The costs will depend on the size of the floor or ceiling area, the materials you use and who you choose to install it – as well as whether your neighbour agrees to share the cost.

A local tradesman may charge around £300 per day for a two-man team, according to the online soundproofing supplier, the Soundproofing Store – and a professional sound proofing installer may charge around £500 each day.

In terms of material cost, to soundproof a timber floor to significantly reduce airborne and impact noise from above it will cost around £62 + VAT per square metre.

For those looking to install soundproofing to a timber floor sufficient to reduce both impact and airborne sounds, you should expect to pay roughly £38 + VAT per m2. 

Who can carry out the job?

Phil Lyons replies: In terms of installation, most systems are straightforward enough for a good, competent DIY-er to do themselves.

A local builder or tradesman who isn’t trained in soundproofing shouldn’t be used for soundproofing advice or specifications, but can definitely be used to install the systems that a soundproofing company has recommended.

A specialist soundproofing installer would be the best option in terms of bringing more knowledge and experience, but will generally cost a little more.

Will soundproofing increase the value of my home?

David Westgate replies: Soundproofing your flat won’t necessarily increase its value but it could help if you ever decide to sell, as an ongoing dispute with your neighbour could affect the saleability of the property.

If you have already had an informal chat with your neighbour and haven’t been able to resolve the issue, then a sensible course of action might be to find a solution yourself, such as soundproofing the ceiling to reduce noise levels.

Although it might cost you money now, it will improve your living conditions immediately and most likely reduce your stress levels, and in the long run it could save you money if you did ever decide to sell.

When you put a property on the market you are required to fill in a property information form. This provides the buyer with information about your home, including the physical state, and enables them make an informed choice about the property.

The form also asks about any disputes with neighbours or issues that might lead to a dispute in the future.

If you chose to withhold information about the dispute with your noisy neighbour, and didn’t answer the questions in the form accurately and honestly, the buyer could take legal action if they have a similar issue with the neighbour when they move in.

The buyer could potentially claim for the cost of resolving the problem or even compensation for any loss of value in the property, and that could end up costing you more than having the soundproofing work carried out now.

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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