Laying a timber floor?
As more and more leaseholders apply to lay a timber floor where there was once carpet, how should this be handled by the diligent property manager?
It can be a tricky subject in blocks of flats, but the main thing is that the managing agent is there to ensure that the lessee sticks to the terms of the lease. If the lease says carpet only, then a Licence to Alter will be required if a change is proposed.
Of course, all leases are different on this subject and it is therefore essential that the lease wording is checked thoroughly before any work is done. A standard lease might say something like:
The lessee should "Cover and keep covered all the floors of the demised premises (except any kitchen bathroom and watercloset) with close fitting tufted carpet and underfelt or other form of underlay of a condition and quality approved by the surveyor and in addition if required by the surveyor a layer of suitable sound-insulating material in order to prevent undue penetration of sound to adjoining premises in the building or the group".
It is difficult to define "undue penetration of sound", but we have always taken this to mean that the new floor covering should provide at least as good sound insulation as the old carpet. Airborne sound is not usually a problem and can be easily dealt with by inserting a good quality sound-insulating layer under the new timber floor covering. However even with the best sound insulating material, a hard wooden floor will usually transmit more impact sound than a carpet.