Power problems with neighbour

Question from Rob updated on 20th November 2013:

I have a two-bedroom unit which is the rear unit in a block of two. Recently the owner of the front unit has blocked access to my unit's power meter as unfortunately it is located on the front wall of the front unit and can only be accessed by entering the land which belongs to the front unit. The relationship between my tenant and the owner of the front unit has gone very bad. The owner of the front unit has begun locking her gate and will not provide a key for the meter readers to access my meter. This means my tenant has only been getting electricity estimates for a long time now. The memorandum of lease which established the cross lease looks like a standard format but I can't see anything there that entitles me or my tenant or an agent to access the land belonging to the front unit. It would be expensive to relocate the meter and to do this would also probably require access to the current meter. What options might I have in this case?

Our expert Richard Evans responded:

Sounds like a nasty situation! Two points spring to mind. The meter belongs to the power company so they do have right of access, I think you need to get the power company involved in a much more aggressive manner and I would expect that a cross lease will provide for access to the meter. I would be surprised if there was no provision for access. You don't say why the neighbour is being so difficult, has there been some other type of confrontation between your tenant and her?

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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