Losing sleep over wall problem

Question from Brian updated on 4th November 2013:

We have just moved into a two-bedroom unit. Our concern is that the wall separating the bedrooms does not meet the ceiling and therefore any activity (such as breathing) echoes through to the other bedroom. I am locked into the lease for a year ... but I fear for our health as nobody at present is getting much sleep. Please, what can I do? Thanks, Brian.

Our expert Richard Evans responded:

This sounds like a non-permitted house, which could mean a council inspector needs to be called in at once. They can then deal with the owner too.
You can also deliver a 14-day notice to the owner and if they don’t remedy the situation then you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a work order. The fact that you have a fixed-term contract might not be a problem as the Tenancy Tribunal has the power to void it (and release you from the tenancy) if they agree that the problem is serious -  especially if the council inspector thinks so too. I am curious why you agreed to rent the place without noticing the gap at the top of the wall? And was it mentioned or discussed before you moved in or is it recorded on the tenancy condition report?

Richard and Pauline Evans own Rotorua Rentals and manage over 800 houses in Rotorua - www.rotoruarentals.co.nz They are also directors of The Leading Property Managers of New Zealand - www.lpmnz.com - so they have the knowledge and experience to offer an opinion on most matters of property management.

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