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A high-flying businessman is taking his millionaire neighbours to court, claiming he is being ‘tortured’ by the noise of the banker’s young family upstairs after they installed creaky wooden floors.

Sergey Grazhdankin and his wife Maria have lived happily in a gated art deco development in West Kensington, London, since 2011. 

But the 42-year-old investment manager said their quiet life in their £1million three-bedroom apartment has been ‘shattered’ since a wealthy family moved in upstairs.

The couple say they have since been subjected to a constant assault of noise – including children playing and crying, creaking joists, footsteps and noisy conversations – from City banker Mehdi Guissi and his wife and family upstairs.

Since their arrival, the couple say they feel like they’re living in a flatshare due to the wooden flooring which they claim was installed incorrectly.

Mr Grazhdankin, who runs an insurance services company, is now suing his neighbours over the alleged ‘nuisance’ caused by the noise in a case which has run up around £250,000 in lawyers’ bills.

The insurance businessman wants his neighbours – who bought their apartment for £1.1million in 2018 – to tear up their floor and relay it correctly so an acoustic barrier limits the noise.

 Sergey Grazhdankin and his wife Maria claim they’re ‘tortured’ by the noise of Mehdi Guissi’s family and their creaking floorboards

Mr Guissi and his wife, Meriem El Harouchi, are fighting the Central London County Court case, saying the couple cannot complain about the normal everyday sounds of a family in their own home.

They say their neighbours have become oversensitive to the normal noise of family life, having lived for many years with only an elderly single lady as a neighbour above them.

The court heard Mr Grazhdankin and his wife, who is a marketing manager, moved into their fourth floor flat in North End House, Fitzjames Lane, in 2011.

Previously, the Grazhdankins had an elderly lady living above them and told the court that they very rarely heard noise, other than the occasional banging of a door.

But after Mr Guissi and his wife bought the property, they began a major refurbishment of the flat, tearing out walls, changing the layout of the rooms and replacing the floor.

In place of the carpeted floor which the former owner had, they installed a wooden floor, with a floating acoustic barrier in an attempt to alleviate any noise.

Mehdi Guissi says the couple cannot complain about the normal everyday sounds of a family in their own home

However, the Grazhdankins claim the floating acoustic floor was fitted incorrectly, with nails being driven through it and into the joists, against the specific instructions of the manufacturers.

The ‘incorrect’ installation of the floor resulted in creaking caused by the nails and the constant passage of impact and airborne sound from above, they say.

In a statement put before the court, Mr Grazhdankin said that, after a year living in Germany, he and his family had moved back into the flat in August 2020.

Once back in the apartment, he and his wife had found the noise ‘unbearable,’ he said. The change of layout – meaning living areas were above bedrooms – had made things worse.

He said: ‘During the week, we are woken up daily between 5.30am and 7.30am by the noise from above and we can hear floor making creaking sounds, walking sounds and the sound of moving furniture right above our main bedroom.

‘On weekends we are woken up between 7am and 8am by walking, banging, jumping sounds, children running and voices.

‘During the day, throughout the whole week, there is a lot of noise of similar nature, being creaking floor, walking, dropping things on the floor, moving objects on the floor, children crying, shouting and voices.

‘This is experienced especially between 2pm and 10pm.

‘Overall, living in our apartment feels like living in a shared apartment with another family. It is impossible to have our peace and live in our own rhythm.’

‘Living with this every day since we moved is torture’.

His wife said the only time they are free from the noise above is after Mr Guissi and his family go to bed, which can be after 10pm at night.

‘We live with our neighbours in the most direct way of speech as we are always disturbed by the sounds of their daily life in their apartment.’

‘We are automatically able to tell not only if they’re at home but also who exactly of the family is at home, which room they’re in and sometimes what kind of activity they are engaged in.

‘It feels depressing because I do not have a feeling of privacy, peace and quiet in my own home.’

Mr Grazhdankin said his wife had been more badly affected, now suffering from stress and insomnia, and feeling afraid as she tries to sleep as she is waiting to be woken.

Their barrister Mark Lorrell said the acoustic floor manufacturers had warned that any penetration of the floating floor by nails or screws could result in ‘acoustic failure.’

Mr Grazhdankin and his wife, who is a marketing manager, moved into their fourth floor flat in North End House, Fitzjames Lane, in 2011. Their neighbours bought the apartment upstairs for £1.1million in 2018

Following complaints and a previous court hearing, Mr Guissi and his wife installed carpets, but the noise is still present and continues to affect the Grazhdankins, he said.

He said: ‘The problem is not the installation of wooden floors in itself.

‘It is that these wooden floors were not fitted properly and, for a whole host of other reasons, the work was not “conveniently done” – that is, done with regard to their neighbours, because they did not install a proper floating floor which would have guarded against excessive impact and airborne noise.

 ‘In London apartments over the years, architects and engineers have designed ways in which to lay a wooden floor without compromising the acoustic integrity of the floor.

‘They are no cheap fixes and the work must be undertaken by skilled labour – but it is possible, with all due consideration to achieve this end.

‘Mr Guissi and Mrs Harouchi failed to achieve this end and, even if it was entirely the fault of their builders, they have caused damage by compromising the acoustic integrity of the sound barrier between their flat and Mr Grazhdankin’s and their remedy should be against their builders rather than defending this claim.’

But representing the neighbours, barrister Tom Morris said that what the Grazhdankins are complaining about is the sound made by acts of ‘ordinary residential occupation’ of a family home.

He said the acts ‘are not done maliciously or with the intention of disturbing the claimant, but reasonably and with proper consideration for the interests of the claimant.’

Even Mr Grazhdankin himself had written in an email that ‘what we are hearing on a daily basis is a product of a normal family life,’ said the barrister.

‘Mrs Harouchi even gave her downstairs neighbours two days’ notice of a celebration of her son’s birthday in 2019.’

‘Accordingly, the noise complained of in this claim cannot as a matter of law amount to an actionable nuisance.

Even without the carpet which has since been fitted, he said the new floor in Mr Guissi’s flat meets the requirements of the Building Regulations.

‘As to the complaints about creaking, the court is invited to prefer the evidence of the defendants’ expert that creaking is “not uncommon” in buildings of this sort,’ he added.

Mr Grazhdankin is suing his neighbours and also the freeholder of the building, North End House Ltd, for nuisance and for breach of covenants in their leases.

He claims the company has not done enough to deal with the problems caused by his neighbours’ new floor.

However, all deny liability, with North End House barrister David Hoffman suggesting that the complaints are just about the ‘difference between having a family upstairs and having a single person upstairs’.

The trial continues.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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