Tenant’s domestic violence

Rachel asks:
(updated on Sunday, February 08th 2015)

I have a multi-unit property and a long-term tenant has just advised me the police were called to another unit following domestic violence. Apparently this has been recurring and worsening for some months. I'm really perturbed. What can I do? I have two excellent long term tenants, both single women (one with a small child) and I don't want them disturbed or frightened. I am also concerned for the young woman living with him, who is not named on the tenancy agreement. I understand a tenant, under the 1968 Act has 'a responsibility not to disturb the neighbours or the landlord's other tenants'. Do I write to the tenant so he knows I am aware of this incident and to remind him of these responsibilities? Is there some formal warning I need to give? If the problem continues, what is the process of escalation? He is on a fixed-term tenancy expiring soon.

Our Experts Answer:

You have a couple of options here. Firstly, the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 states in section 40(2)(c) that the tenant shall not “cause or permit any interference with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of any of the landlord's other tenants in the use of the premises occupied by those other tenants, or with the reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of any other person residing in the neighbourhood.” You should send the tenant a formal 14 Day Notice to Remedy, advising him that his recent behaviour resulting in a police call-out has caused a breach of this section because it has disturbed his neighbours’ reasonable peace and comfort, and requiring him to stop this type of behaviour. If there is a recurrence you will have the grounds to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for termination of the tenancy. Secondly, you have the option of telling the tenant (within the required 90 to 21 days before end of tenancy) that you will not be renewing his tenancy.

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