Carpet law to stamp out neighbour noise

LANDLORDS across Edinburgh are set to be forced to lay carpets under new laws designed to crackdown on noise nuisance.

Monday, 11th June 2012, 1:00 pm

Under new legislation, Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) rental properties with downstairs neighbours must now carpet all hard-floor living areas to absorb noise and curb the “significant level” of noise disputes having to be mediated by the council.

It will also be mandatory that kitchen and bathrooms be fitted with “good-quality cushioned flooring”.

Hard floor surfaces including exposed wooden boards, laminate and tile finishes all come under the new beefed-up rental rules.

Property experts say the price of laying carpet across entire properties would ultimately fall on the tenants.

Rob Trotter, senior property manager at DJ Alexander, said landlords would be “furious” about the new measures that would further hike up the cost of letting in difficult market conditions.

“Landlords are faced with increasing pressures with additional legislation, particularly under HMO licensing, and this will certainly come as a very unwelcome news to the vast majority of landlords especially those who have never had any issues with their neighbours,” he said.

“The cost of running HMO properties is already expensive and this is yet another cost added on to the bill.

“Our landlords will be furious about this. Many of them have wooden floors because they are hard-wearing, resist stains and are easy to maintain.

“Carpets may need to be replaced every two or three years, which will be a repeated cost of perhaps £2000 to £3000 a time. This is not going to be a one-off payment.”

He added: “You could safely assume that any additional cost faced by landlords will ultimately be passed down to the tenant.

“If it was just one landlord who was being asked to carpet their property following a hearing with the council he would not be able to increase rents because it would put him at a competitive disadvantage, but this is universal.”

Another agent, who declined to be named, said it was a form of “microregulation”.

HMOs are properties where three or more tenants are not related to each other.

The new rules will apply to all applicable properties from April 1 next year.

A council spokeswoman said the “majority” of HMO homes in the city were already fitted with carpet.

She added: “All residents living in a common stair have the right to live in their own home without being disturbed by their neighbours.

“Carpets greatly assist in reducing noise levels from people walking above, especially in Houses of Multiple Occupation, where footfall is increased.”