LAYING DOWN THE LAW - on floods and noisy neighbours

QWE own a flat in a retirement community.

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A pipe leaked in the flat above, damaging our ceilings. It has been repaired with much inconvenience by the management. However, they are refusing to pay for our ruined hall carpet.

AAssuming they did the repairs because the liability was theirs, they should be liable for ALL losses arising from the leak.

Demand a written response to your query from the management, and check your deeds – especially the deed of conditions – and see what the repair and insurance rules are.

The management and your upstairs neighbour can be held to those legally.

QIn the mid-1980s we had a utility room built on to the back of our house, but overlooked the need to apply for a completion certificate from the council.

In the mid-1990s, we did apply but due to the time elapsed they were unable to issue one. Instead, after an inspection from a council official, they issued a "letter of comfort" confirming that the work was almost complete with minor work to be done.

If we decide to sell our house in the future, will this satisfy any legal requirements or do you envisage problems?

AA letter of comfort is the standard way to remedy the lack of building warrant and completion certificate for alterations on a house.

As long as you advise prospective buyers of the situation (and they will learn of it from the home report anyway) and tell them all the documentation is available, it is up to them as to whether to proceed.

Given the age of your works, it is unlikely to put off any reasonable buyer.

QCould you help on the subject of anti-social behaviour from my upstairs neighbour. Parties start any time of the day and night; washing machine goes on at all different times; doors bang all hours of the night; friends buzz day and night; bang on the ceiling; the neighbour's boyfriend throws his rubbish out of the windows, swearing, shouting out of windows, as well as religious abuse.

I have asked the company who own 40% of the houses to do something but they say it is nothing to do with them.

I have called the police who cannot do anything until they catch them in the act.

AI don't think the shared equity company will have any say, unless there is something in the title deeds. Contact the environmental health department at the council re the noise, and the police if there is a breach of the peace. The council should be able to monitor the situation and take action. Ask about taking out an Asbo and speak to your local councillor, too. If you have problems getting action, you can take court action against the neighbour.

QI want to leave a little gift of money to our church but don't want to rewrite my will. Can I just do a note and sign it to amend my will?

AYou can, though better if you write and sign this codicil (as it is called) on the will itself, sign it and have it witnessed.

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