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Drawbacks of apartment living.

(126 Posts)
tanith Tue 08-Mar-16 15:26:38

OH and I were discussing this again on our walk today, he was brought up in old tenement blocks for much of his childhood and when I suggested that in years to come we may need to move to an apartment (hopefully ground floor with outside space) he was adamant that he'll NEVER live in a flat again. His list of drawbacks starts and ends with noise from above he tells horror stories of the noise he suffered from neighbours in his past.

My son and brother both live in apartments and my son lives on the 5th floor so has neighbours all around him, he lives abroad but when I'm there I can't say I've ever been bothered by noise from neighbours.

So I'm sure there are some of you who live in flats/apartments what sort of drawbacks do you find?

Grannyknot Tue 08-Mar-16 15:34:41

Funny I largely grew up living in flats (not tenement and not in UK) and I hate them too. I hate not having a back door.

Lona Tue 08-Mar-16 15:42:06

I'm interested to see what points come up as I'll be moving to a flat in a few months, and I've been trying to think of the drawbacks compared to a house.

Purpledaffodil Tue 08-Mar-16 16:03:57

We lived in a tower block on the 14th floor when we were first married. As Grannyknot has said, the lack of an outside door, ours led to a tiny balcony, and also the worry of over hearing others and being overheard ourselves blush meant that we never felt properly at home there. Would not like to repeat the experience.

Lillie Tue 08-Mar-16 16:18:26

For us it was the knock on issues, like blockages in one flat caused problems with the drains in others, also people leaving bicycles, buggies etc. in the hallway for everyone else to fall over.

migs Tue 08-Mar-16 16:30:34

Once I left home I lived in flats until we bought our current house ten years ago. These would be my tips for apartment living

1. Go for top floor. It's much easier to insulate against noise from above it than from below.

2. Make sure your bedroom is as far as possible from the front door. Otherwise - assuming others' front doors are near yours - you could be kept awake by their coming and going

3. Make sure, if there is a lift, that the shaft is not adjacent to where you sleep

4. If at all possible (and it's not always easy) try to find out the layout of flats above and below. We had months of being kept awake by partying in a living room directly above our bedroom. We also (1st floor, one flat above, one below) were kept awake by the other neighbour's washing machine. Their kitchen was right beneath our bed.

5. When choosing to buy or rent try to visit the flat at different times to get a feel for noise levels from elsewhere in the building.

6. If there is a flat above check the ceiling carefully for signs of water damage. Leaks can be a nightmare

7. Be aware of hidden charges. A friend bought a flat then not very long after found herself liable for paying towards the cost of replacing the windows in the entire block. Each flat had to pay over £2,000

8. Freeholders. If they live in the building make sure they are nice. If they;re not it can make life very difficult

9. Buy ear plugs!

tanith Tue 08-Mar-16 16:40:15

migs that list if very scary maybe OH is right after all wink

petra Tue 08-Mar-16 16:47:10

I would say avoid it if you can. Our last property was a flat in a beautiful Edwardian house. When we bought all 5 flats were owned by the occupies, but then 2 owners decided to let their flats. We had a big problem with the smell of cannabis from one flat and the occupants in the other rented flat thought it was perfectly ok to throw dirty nappies out of the window into the beautiful garden which we all paid for.
We couldn't complain as we knew we would be moving, and now you have to declare if you have had problems with your neighbours.

M0nica Tue 08-Mar-16 17:06:34

I have limited experience of flat dwelling, it was a long time ago but DC have experience. Their and my experience

1) Unreasonable neighbours. The lady below us complained if she heard any evidence we were in the flat and using it. If we even turned a radio on, any time of the day (we didn't have a television) she complained. She complained about noise when PiL came for the day, she could hear us walking across the floor (in daytime). She complained if we ran a bath after 8.00pm. She complained so much that we ended up buying a house two years before we wanted to just to get away from her and her endless complaints.

2) Make sure that you own a share of the freehold. Either through shares in an owner-run management company or jointly with other owners. DS had endless problems with the freeholder of his flat. After he moved in the big building company that built the flats and owned the freehold sold it on to a shyster company with a dodgy history.

migs Tue 08-Mar-16 17:21:02

Oh yes good points

Watch out for subletting - you can complain all you like if the tenants our noisy but that doesn't necessarily mean the owners will give a damn

Be careful about complaining - as petra says you have to declare this when selling

Our experience is that purpose built is often better than conversions simply because of the noise insulation. Mansion blocks are best. Concrete floors are an advantage. Stripped wooden floors above you (even if allowed in the lease - they are often not) just mean you can hear EVERYTHING - or if you have them from below (unless you are on the ground floor)

We are discussing downsizing at some point but my criteria are rigid based on all of the above

granjura Tue 08-Mar-16 17:44:46

It depends in which country, and also the date and style of the apartment.

Most modern flats, like the one we have bought in the Midlands as a 'pied-à-terre in the UK) - look great- good kitchen and bathrooms- but very little storage. There is a large floor to ceiling wide wardrobe in the main bedroom, and a couple of cupboards in the hallway- and that's it. Here where I live, older apartments have deep cupboards recessed into the wide walls in each room, as well as bigger rooms than many modern apartments, and also always individual lockable storage areas and places for bikes/prams in the cellar and often attic space too. But... mostly washing machines are not allowed in the apartments - a space saver in the kitchen- and shared washing/drying facilities in the cellar- which can be a total pain if you are on a rosta!!!

We have discussed living in the flat at some point, and if we ever did, we would rent storage room nearby to put things like suitcases, and Summer clothes and shoes in winter and vice-versa, as well as other stuff we want to keep but wouldn't have space for. The cost is not much and for us would be well worth it. We chose a second (top) floor flat so we wouldn't get noise from above, but there is no lift, so as we get older it wouldn't be ideal. We have a great view from there- and I wouldn't like living on the ground floor at all, as less light and no view.

granjura Tue 08-Mar-16 17:47:07

Ours is part of an owners' association- so look out for any rules that wouldn't suit you. The Owners' assoc has decided that pets would not be allowed- they close a blind eye when we visit for short periods at a time, and we are VERY careful to carry our dog off the development before we put him on the lead, and meticulous about clearing up after him, of course.
He is never left alone there, so doesn't bark either.

granjura Tue 08-Mar-16 17:48:54

The only noise is from the Church bells ;) they ring right through the night, so at midnight it is 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 12 - Big Ben style..

Jane10 Tue 08-Mar-16 18:07:38

We love our fourth floor flat. Its a 60s built one so ugly on the outside but huge inside and with lots of big cupboards. Resident caretaker keeps the garden beautifully and really looks after us all. Noise issues are minor. We're mostly older here. I quite like hearing the odd little noise of doors closing and general sounds of everyday living. No complaints at all.

Greyduster Tue 08-Mar-16 18:15:31

Our second home together was an apartment on the 12th floor of an 18 story block in Singapore - the only time I've ever lived in an apartment. It was large and well appointed, two of the three bedrooms having en-suite bathrooms - something I'd never come across in my life (the house I grew up in didn't even have one bathroom, let alone two). The views from the balcony were pretty spectacular too. It was not, however, an ideal place to bring up an overactive toddler, who seemed to think it was a great game to push things through the balcony grille and drop them - a spinning top, his father's regimental side cap, a tin of polish, a bottle of ink, one of a pair of two day old shoes, then seen disappearing up the road in the hands of a small Chinese boy! (What on earth did he want with one shoe??). It's actually a miracle he didn't kill someone, considering things increase in weight as they fall (unless my school physics has let me down again!). The spinning top was as flat as a pancake when we went down to retrieve it! We had a communal garden which DS used to love but would kick and scream the place down when he had to go back inside! Nope, not ideal at all. I don't remember noise being a particular problem until a Chinese family moved in above us, several elderly members of which used to play mahjong on the terrazzo tiled floor during the day and sometimes long into the night. Fortunately, by that time, we were packing to move home, so we suffered in silence.

Charleygirl Tue 08-Mar-16 18:38:20

My aunt lived in a 4th floor flat and the walls were paper thin. She was deaf so her TV was always blaring so must have annoyed others. I swear that one radio would have been fine for each floor. She was lucky, most of her neighbours, like her, were elderly so did not have riotous parties.

A friend lives in a basement flat and she hears every footstep in the flat above. The sound appears to be magnified when a cup is dropped accidentally.

I would like access outside for hanging my washing and also to sit outside to have a coffee.

bookdreamer Tue 08-Mar-16 19:38:06

I live in a first floor flat of a block of 3. I've been here for 4 years. I live right in the middle of town which I love.

I've recently had heart problems so a flight of stairs is at the moment ok but not sure in the future.

No real problems with noise or neighbours. Just don't get one near the bottle recycling! Check where the recycling bins are.

LullyDully Tue 08-Mar-16 19:38:15

Moaning neighbours.....the flats we lived in were lovely. Good views and beautiful gardens, however they seemed attract the older resident. No one could agree on anything.

No garden, however I did have a plot but someone put plastic flowers in when they didn't think I gardened quick enough. Trouble was I wasn't going to put annuals in before the frost was over........ Just hated not having a garden.

No washing on the balcony.

Had to be quiet because the lady below was ill and she would phone when the grandchildren were there to complain that she was trying to have a siesta.

So much nicer in a house any day.

Crafting Tue 08-Mar-16 21:09:32

Buy freehold. Have a say in the management
Purpose built with concrete floors rather than a conversion
Read all the terms and conditions before buying so that you know what sort of rules apply.

We have been in our flat 10 years. Hardly hear a noise but if we do can complain to the management team. No noise permitted after 11 at night or 8 in the morning that can be heard outside of your own flat.

Gardens attended once a week
Cleaned twice a week

The stricter the rules the more chance you have of getting something done if there is a problem

Buying in a block of 12 or more means it is more likely that work will be carried out. 4 flats, owner unlikely to be bothered.

We love it

Best home we have ever had. We have always lived in detached houses in nice areas but are very happy in our flat.

tanith Tue 08-Mar-16 22:16:06

Well certainly plenty of food for thought, I was thinking in the future a new build maybe but it seems there are lots of drawbacks to think about. I would be quite happy to stay where we are and very happy we'll just have to see if a stair lift could be fitted grin

Charleygirl Tue 08-Mar-16 22:31:33

tanith you are welcome to try mine!!!!!

tanith Tue 08-Mar-16 22:34:29

Charleygirl when the time comes I'll take you up on your offer smile

Synonymous Tue 08-Mar-16 23:29:30

Cousins moved to an 'assisted living' apartment last year and it is the best thing they could have done. Purpose built with lifts, residents lounge, dining room and restaurant. Well insulated for sound and warmth with underfloor heating and an hours cleaning included in charges with possibility of other help if required. A laundry with washers and dryers in the basement and a lovely communal garden which you are welcome to work on with the gardener or just sit and watch. Having seen this we are confident that this is the way to go when either one of us is left alone or we are needing more help. Prefer to stay independent of DC really.

Nelliemoser Tue 08-Mar-16 23:33:04

What I really would not like is not being able to have direct access to the outside so when I feel like it I could just wander out, with my cup of tea in hand, out to sit in the garden to get a bit of sunshine.

Having to go up and down in lift carrying a book an tea cup etc would make it so much more of a hassle.

Synonymous Tue 08-Mar-16 23:47:45

I suppose you have to work out the pros and coms and work out what is essential and what is desirable and what is a deal breaker. In this particular development presumably some apartments or flats must be on the ground floor although the communal parts were quite extensive with tea/coffee and eats available whenever as well as there being access to the garden.
For me this idea and way of living has given me peace of mind for the future. It is always 'horses for courses' and 'you pays your money and takes your choice'. smile