Question from Erina updated on 23rd April 2019:
"Visitors" of my tenant have had violent domestic disputes on my property which have required two police call-outs. I suspect - but have no proof – that the "visitors" are living there with no formal agreement with myself.
I have now received four complaints from neighbours. I have a written report of both incidents and three verbal confirms and all corroborate. One incident was on my property and the other on our shared drive-way of five which two witnesses can confirm. Neither incident involved my agreed tenant directly but those involved were "visiting" my tenant.
Does that justify immediate eviction? There was a toddler in the first incident and two primary school children in the second. My major witness runs a pre-school over the fence so this all raises major concerns for everyone involved.
Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants have an obligation not to interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of any other person residing in the neighbourhood. Any breach of this obligation by a person on the premises with the tenant’s permission will be viewed as being a breach by the tenant.
Since you suspect the tenant’s visitors are actually living at the property, you may wish to contact your tenant to establish what is going on if there are more people occupying the premises than the tenancy agreement allows. But if the tenancy agreement does not limit the numbers of persons who may ordinarily reside at the premises, then the tenants are allowed to have flat mates or guests stay with them without the landlord’s permission.
A “notice to remedy” (which is a written letter) can be issued to the tenant where there is a breach of the tenancy agreement – such as interference with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of others residing in the neighbourhood. This letter gives the tenant a set amount of time to fix the breach and sets out the consequences if this is not done.
If this does not resolve the matter, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the issue resolved, which could include asking the Tribunal to end the tenancy. The Act only applies to the relationship between the landlord and their tenants, so there is no obligation for a landlord to resolve this breach unless the tenant is breaching the peace, comfort or privacy of a neighbour who is also a tenant of the same landlord.
It is worth noting that a tenancy can only be ended in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act.
You can find information on how a tenancy can be ended by a landlord here. For more on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, go to www.tenancy.govt.nz or subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here.The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.