A woman says she was made homeless by the council after her neighbors complained about her job.
Musician Fiona Fey, 35, said she felt “betrayed” when she was “forced to move out of her south London flat” after being served a noise notice from the City Council.
Fiona is now living with friends and her belongings are in storage after deciding to move elsewhere.
Lewisham Council said it had tried to mediate between the professional musician and her neighbors but negotiations had been unsuccessful.
Before Fiona received the City Council’s warning on April 4, she said she had been performing and practicing piano and guitar playing, as well as singing and “low whistle” at her apartment, as well as having projects for her folk-pop band Something Sleeps and her added second group of medieval Baebes.
Fiona told MyLondon: “I wasn’t evicted, I couldn’t make music in my apartment. It’s in the nature of the job to be a musician.
“I used to teach piano in Lewisham four days a week after school, practicing and recording various projects during the day.
“I stopped playing the piano in October because my neighbors said it was too loud. Since then I’ve played three times and my neighbor downstairs started knocking on my door very aggressively. I called the police. Not only does it sound violent, but it’s really scary.
“The council didn’t take into account the level of aggression and it was very bad living alone.”
Fiona added that she would also practice a “loud whistle,” which she claimed was only 80 decibels.
She said she also sings, but added that she played mostly guitar, “mostly finger plucking,” which she felt was “pretty quiet.”
Fiona also said she had only been home and busy rehearsing for two days in the last fortnight – before the notice was issued.
She added that she was out every day and was out all weekend as well.
Fiona claimed she wasn’t even home for two full days because she went to work to teach.
She said there was “no point” living in the apartment now because it would be a waste of money to pay for a place she couldn’t live in.
Fiona described the council representatives who visited her as “intimidating” and added that she felt “betrayed, allied; angry and upset” and that she was treated like a “criminal”.
She described the meeting as “very intimidating” and “very disturbing”.
Lewisham Council said they were left with no choice but to serve the notice to Fiona.
A spokesman for the authority said: “Since November 2022 we have been aware of noise problems in a residential building with loud music, instrument playing and singing, which have led to numerous complaints.”
“We celebrate the musicality and creativity of our district and recognize people’s right to play an instrument in their home.
“We only intervene when we receive complaints and always try to resolve them amicably, which is balanced and may involve mediation.
“Lewisham Homes spoke to the tenant in January 2023 and they were told we were continuing to monitor the situation.
“As a result of the noise complaints, arbitration was initiated in mid-January 2023.
“Following mediation, the tenant refused to agree to any good-neighborhood agreement or probationary period to prevent further concerns.
“Lewisham Homes directed a professional witness to visit the applicant’s homes in February 2023. The report of this professional witness confirmed that the music from the apartment was audible in the applicant’s house and at an inappropriate volume.
“Lewisham Homes and Lewisham Council do not take such decisions lightly and have sought to avoid enforcement which is always a last resort.
“Regrettably in this case the tenant refused to go along with it when we tried to consider reasonable offers and solutions to find a balance and we received several further complaints.
“Legal harassment is defined as any disturbance that interferes with a person’s right to enjoy their home or is harmful to a person’s health.
“It’s much more than just harassment or acknowledgment, so we would always assess each situation on an individual basis. There may be more details on this can be found on our website.”
Although Fiona admitted there were multiple complaints, she says they were all filed by the same person.
She said: “Your claim that I refused to get involved is also untrue as per the video linked in the original petition.”