I've been made homeless after my neighbours complained about my job – I feel betrayed | The Sun

A WOMAN says she has been made homeless after her neighbours complained about her job.

Musician Fiona Fey, 35, said she felt “betrayed” as she was being “forced to move out” of her South London flat having been served with a council noise abatement notice.

Fiona now lives with friends and her belongings are in storage after she made the decision to move elsewhere.

Lewisham Council said it tried to mediate between the professional musician and her neighbours but negotiations proved unsuccessful.

Before getting the warning from the council on April 4, Fiona said she used to tutor and practice playing the piano and guitar as well as singing and “low whistling” in her flat, along with recording projects for her folk pop band Something Sleeps and her second group Mediaeval Baebes.

Fiona told MyLondon: “I wasn’t evicted, I couldn't play music in my flat. It’s the nature of the job being a musician.

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“I used to teach piano in Lewisham for four days a week after school, and during day I’d practice and record various projects.

“I stopped playing the piano in October because my neighbours said it was too loud. Since then I played on three occasions and my downstairs neighbour started thumping on my door very aggressively. I called the police. It doesn’t sound violent just thumping, but it’s really scary.

“The council didn't take into account the level of aggression and living alone it was very nasty.”

Fiona added she would also practice a “low whistle” which she claimed was only 80 decibels.

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She said she would also sing but added it was mainly guitar playing, “mostly finger plucking” which she said was “quite quiet”.

Fiona also said she had only been home for two days on the previous fortnight – before the notice was issued – and had been busy rehearsing.

She added she had been out of the house every day and had also been away all weekend.

Fiona claimed she hadn’t even been at home two full days because she had gone to work to teach.

She said there was “no point” in her living in the flat now because it would be a waste of money paying for somewhere where she couldn’t be in.

Fiona described the representatives from the council who visited as “intimidating”, adding she felt “betrayed, ganged up on; angry and upset” and that she was treated like a “criminal”.

She described the meeting as “very intimidating” and “very upsetting”.

Lewisham Council said it was left with no choice but to serve Fiona with the notice.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “We have been aware of noise issues at a residence since November 2022 involving loud music, playing of instruments and singing, resulting in numerous complaints.

“We celebrate the musicality and creativity of our borough and recognise people’s right to play an instrument in their home.

“We only intervene when we receive complaints and always try to resolve these amicably, which is balanced and can include mediation.

“Lewisham Homes spoke with the leaseholder in January 2023 and was advised that we would continue to monitor the situation.

“As a result of the noise complaints, a referral for mediation was made in mid-January 2023.

“After mediation, the tenant refused to agree to a good neighbour agreement or rehearsal times to prevent further concerns.

“Lewisham Homes instructed a professional witness who attended the complainant’s homes in February 2023, the report from this professional witness confirmed that the music from the residence was audible within the complainant’s home and was at an unreasonable level.

“Lewisham Homes and Lewisham Council do not make decisions like this lightly and have tried to avoid enforcement, which is only ever done as a last resort.

“In this case, regrettably, when we tried to explore reasonable offers and solutions to find a balance, the tenant refused to engage and we received multiple further complaints.

“A statutory nuisance is defined as a disturbance that interferes with someone's right to enjoy their home or is damaging to someone's health.

“It is much more than just an annoyance or being aware of something, which is why we would always assess each situation individually. More details of this can be found on our website.”

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While Fiona acknowledged there were multiple complaints, she says they were all made by the same person.

She said: “Their allegation that I refused to engage is also untrue as evidenced in the video linked in the original petition.”

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