A couple who claim their lives are being ruined by the noise of a toilet flushing in an Airbnb sent the flat’s new owner a long list of complaints, a court has heard.
Maria McGarry Curran said she had received an email from downstairs neighbours James and Carol Morris outlining a number of complaints, which did not include any mention of the noise coming from the Saniflo macerator at the centre of the dispute.
Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard how the complaints began shortly after Mrs Curran, who lives in Hawaii, bought the flat in St Clairs Entry, Kinghorn in 2016.
“It started with how I put the bin in the wrong place and I apologised for that,” she said.
“Then it was a complaint about the noise of the washing machine. I apologised profusely for that and took it out of the house.
“Then they emailed and started complaining about footsteps. We tried to be neighbourly and covered the beautiful oak floors with underlay and carpet.
“We moved the bins to I don’t know how many places.”
Mr and Mrs Morris have previously denied they are intolerant to everyday noise and said they simply wanted the Currans to repair or replace the macerator.
Taking the stand, however, Mrs Curran said: “They might be the kind of people that are very disturbed by noise of any kind.
“I could say the noise of their television screeching late at night or the noise of them shouting or banging doors late at night is disturbing to me but that’s part of daily life when you live in flats.”
Mr and Mrs Morris claim they are woken by tourists returning to the holiday let above their flat and using the toilet and shower in the early hours of the morning.
They are seeking a ban on use of the Saniflo system, which they claim is malfunctioning and making an “awful grinding noise”.
An acoustic sound engineer has said the sound generated was above the level the World Health Organisation regarded as likely to disturb sleep.
Advocate Graham Middleton, acting for Mr and Mrs Morris, pointed to evidence suggesting the decibel level had reached 52 and 55 on occasion – well in excess of the 40 deemed by the WHO to be acceptable from a health perspective.
Defence solicitor Andrew McLaughlin noted those tests were based on an assessment of what might be appropriate at night and not during the day.
He added his client had been “more than accommodating” in trying to resolve various complaints, but was “hamstrung” by the nature of the building itself and its poor acoustics.
Suggesting the pursuer’s description of the noise had been “overstated”, Mr McLaughlin added: “I think the reality is that they just don’t like the fact it’s an Airbnb.”
After hearing final submissions from both solicitors, Sheriff Grant McCulloch adjourned the case until July 1.