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Upstairs neighbour relocating bathroom above my bedroom... Thoughts?


My upstairs neighbour has just sent me his proposed plan to change the layout of his flat, which includes relocation of his bathroom above part of my bedroom. I'm a little concerned about potential noise – shower water falling down, toilet flushed at night, water rushing through drains.

Is it common to have shower rooms over bedrooms? I mean, is this notoriously an issue or do many people live happily forever after because, at the end of the day, it doesn't make that much noise?

Is there a best way to sound insulate their floor, or won't that change anything at all?

Can I oppose the plan – should I decide that it's really not fair on me?

Your thoughts welcome...

Tags for Forum Posts: noise, noisy neighbours

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You'll definitely hear him on the lavatory. I have the same situation and the flush/water isn't such a problem. But hearing him take a pee is quite unsettling. 

Hmm I didn't even think of that! But it's a non-negligible point. Means think of soundproofing his floor...

Hi Isabbelle

Not sure about ownership / landlord / lease issues but there are plenty of simple but effective noise and thermal insulation material on the market. I've just laid some thermal Kingspan which is polystyrene like in its structure and easily cut with a wood saw and wedged between joists! It's not overly expensive either. Whist your neighbour is at the planning stage now would be the best time to approach him. I once had a ground floor flat with a bedroom above and the couple didn't sleep much - frankly I think would have got more shut eye with a bathroom!

Yes I suppose there are pros and cons – pros being that bathrooms aren't being used many hours of the day. Though he is also having a bedroom above my bedroom (splitting existing kitchen into shower room and small bedroom).

I have approached him with my concerns and I assume that we will talk about it more, hence why I'm doing a bit of thinking and asking about other people's experiences.

Personally I'd rather not have it up there (and I've suggested an alternative layout which I think is much better for him too, but different people different taste)...

Many moons ago, I had a flat in Hornsey where the kitchen was above our bedroom. Because kitchens and bathrooms have hard floors, without sound proofing, in Victorian buildings, you can hear pretty much everything that goes on above. We could even hear them sweeping the floor. 

If they're reasonable folk, they'll understand your concerns. So a bit of conversational brainstorming between you all may find another solution, be it resiting the bathroom or some serious soundproofing installed with specialist knowledge. You may find that a professional can give you a pretty realistic idea of how effective soundproofing would be. 

Thanks for the advice Hugh, I will keep looking and pushing for solutions... There has been issues with the above kitchen flooding my bedroom before, or their washing machine dancing around and shaking my whole flat in the process. They are hiring professionals – whom I'm not sure really care about my issues! The upstairs neighbours themselves seem to have little practical sense about things and therefore convincing them about anything takes some work. It's good to hear that others find my concerns sensible.

Sometime ago I moved into a converted house with a bathroom above my bedroom and the soil pipe running directly behind the head of my bed, the sound of toilet contents dropping 15 foot and hitting a bend was considerable so check where the pipes will feed into the main drain.

In addition to sound insulation make sure that everything is securely and completely water proofed too.

Thanks Maggie. The conversion you lived with sounds dreadful!

Unfortunately it'd be impossible for me to check that the job is done properly. I'm not hiring the company and won't be keeping an eye on it.

Just hoping the neighbour will change his mind about the relocation, his proposed plan really doesn't make sense to me (turning his flat into lots of small boxy rooms when he could get more space by leaving the bathroom where it is)... If only I had my way ;)

Do you share ownership of the freehold with your neighbour or is there a separate freeholder?

It's share of freehold between three flats.

Well your upstairs neighbour can't do all this work without having regard to the other flats in his building, not to mention building control and planning permission. So don't agree to it.

You all have obligations towards each other when you have flats in the same building. The original leases are your point of reference. For you, what's important is that you suffer no noise from the flat above. I suspect that it's impossible to fully soundproof a bathroom, which is why it makes sense for bathrooms to be above each other.

For those who own an upstairs flat, soundproofing of your flooring is important. You usually have a legal obligation not to transmit sound. So you can't just lay a click flooring and cause disturbance to the flat below. If you do, you need to take up the flooring, put down soundproofing and relay the flooring.

My Upstairs laid that click flooring throughout his flat without adding the extra layer of sound proofing.  It costs a few pounds per room. I curse him every day for this. Just sayin'.  Whatever they do, take the opportunity to add as much soundproofing as you can, easy to do when the job is being built.  Soundproofing is most effective if you can make it +/- airtight, close all the gaps round the edges.  Noise is even worse with hard floors and no rugs, as in bathrooms and kitchens. 



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