Cheap housing conversions can ruin your sex life, send a wife back to her mother, stop a couple having a good row and make a trip to the lavatory an embarrassment.

This warning was given by SHELTER, a London housing pressure group. It said that families living in old houses that have been converted to apartments often have to suffer unbearable and embarrassing noise from neighbors.

Bad sound proofing in large houses that have been converted often cause neighbors' activities to cross the border from the politely ignorable to the rudely intrusive."

Writing about a survey of conditions in a group of conversions on a South London estate, community lawyer John Budett says 92 of 107 tenants suffered seriously from noise.

One tenant could hear a cat walking across the floor of the flat above. Another could hear a neighbor switch on a light.

"More energetic activities generate proportionately more decibels," Burdett said. "The questionnaire showed that women seemed particularly embarrassed that their neighbors could hear them going to the toilet.

"One young husband implied that his sex life is suffering. His wife does not relish the idea of their act of intimacy being broadcast over the whole house."

In another flat, a young wife complained that "you cannot have a bloody good row -- the whole house would hear every word."

Burdett said in many conversions more attention has been given to the outsides of the buildings than to the insides.