The Tenant From Hell

© Property Professor articles —
Reproduced with permission.

QUESTION: The house next door is rented and they continually have loud parties late at night, leave rubbish everywhere and have no consideration for us or anyone else in the street. What can we do?

ANSWER: Unfortunately it looks like you have the”tenant from hell” living next door to you. There are a number of actions that you can take which might provide you with a solution. I have outlined a few strategies for you.

Firstly, approach them in a friendly, non-threatening manner and make them aware of your concerns. If they are reasonable people, they should modify their behaviour. If after you have spoken to them the disruptions continue, go and see them again.

If after two visits you are getting nowhere, send them a letter and keep a copy for your records. Written evidence will come in useful if the unruly behaviour continues and you have to take further action.

If the loud late night parties don’t stop, it is time to call the police. As much as you may not want to involve the police, it will show that you are serious and importantly, the police will have a record of your complaint(s).

The above strategies apply to both people who rent a property and those who live in it as an owner occupier. There are a few more strategies you might consider if your neighbour is a tenant.

  • Contact the owner of the property and let them know what is going on. You would assume that if they choose to behave in this manner, they are probably not taking care of the owner’s property.
  • Contact the property manager and make them aware of what is going on. They are obviously breaching some terms of their lease and this might be enough to have the lease terminated if they don’t remedy the situation.
  • If they live in a group of flats/units/apartments, write a letter to the body corporate and explain the situation. It is more than likely that if they are disturbing you, they are also disturbing other neighbouring properties. This should be against the rules and regulations set out by the body corporate and they might be able to take some action.
  • Contact the residential tenancies advisory service in your state. Every state and territory has different residential tenancies laws but in my home state of South Australia, it is possible for a neighbour to make an application to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal. This allows the neighbour to request a hearing and the tribunal can pass a legally binding order to force the tenants to change their behaviour or move within a certain period of time.

In summary, there are a number of actions you can take if you are living with the “neighbour from hell”. Firstly, attempt to speak to them face to face and if this doesn’t work, document all your evidence, including dates and times of incidents, as you will need some proof to back up your case.

Written by Peter Koulizos, university lecturer, author and buyers advocate.

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