How do I get my landlord to ensure my quiet enjoyment?

Question from Amy Markham updated on 4th July 2007:

I live in a two-storey old house that has been converted into two flats. I rent the top floor. There is no soundproofing or insulation and the noise between the flats is quite loud sometimes. That’s ok, I’m used to it but recently a new tenant moved in downstairs and she is verbally abusive to her child on a daily basis. There is a lot of screaming and shouting and it really upsets my daughter and I. I have mentioned it to my landlord, who is aware of it from a separate neighbour complaining to her as well. She is unwilling as far as I can tell to do anything about it. I know that it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure quiet enjoyment but I don’t want to rock the boat.

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act requires a landlord to take all reasonable steps to ensure that none of the landlord’s other tenants interferes with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of the tenant in the use of the premises. Continuing to discuss the problem with the landlord is the first step in resolving this dispute.

Putting your concerns in writing may encourage your landlord to approach your downstairs neighbour about the noise she makes. If your landlord remains unwilling to do anything to resolve the matter you may wish to consider lodging a Tenancy Tribunal application with the Department of Building and Housing. Any application to the Tenancy Tribunal would have to prove the landlord had not taken reasonable steps to prevent her downstairs tenant from interfering with your quiet enjoyment of the property. For information on the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants call our free phone number 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62) or visit www.dbh.govt.nz.


The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.




 

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