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Posted on December 21, 2021

Written by general admin

Noisy tenants: What to do when tenants are disturbing the peace

Christmas can be a time of increased tension between tenants, landlords and neighbours and a rise in noise and disturbances. All-day parties, late-night drinking and loud music can be challenging to live next to, but what are the rights and responsibilities of neighbours and landlords when it comes to noisy tenants?

Who is responsible for noisy tenants?

Tenants have a responsibility not to disturb their neighbours. However, changes to the Residential Tenancies Act this year mean new processes for dealing with tenants disturbing the peace.

Using power tools, leaf blowers or listening to music at a reasonable level are all examples of reasonable noise. However, as the holidays begin, there may be increases in the level of disruptive noise coming from the houses around you.

If your neighbours are unusually noisy, talking to them first before laying a complaint can be a good option. You may be able to come up with a reasonable solution that suits both you and the tenant, eg. asking if their guests can go inside after 10 pm or turn down the stereo.

What type of behaviour is unacceptable from tenants?

Not all noise is acceptable, and you may feel intimidated asking your neighbours to keep it down. Unacceptable behaviour includes:

  • loud, aggressive behaviour by tenants towards neighbours or each other
  • intimidating behaviour such as ‘hate speech’
  • an invasion of privacy
  • noise control callouts where a problem has been found
  • graffiti or damage to a neighbour’s property or public property

What are the new rules for noisy tenants that disturb the peace?

The new laws to anti-social tenants require landlords to apply to the tribunal to end a tenancy after they have served three anti-social behaviour notices on a tenant within 90-days. Landlords must also apply to end the tenancy within 28 days of the last notice issued.

The new laws also mean landlords can no longer end a periodic tenancy without reason. That means a landlord can’t issue a “no cause” notice and remove noisy neighbours without telling them why.  

How to deal with a neighbour who is a noisy tenant?

If you aren’t comfortable approaching your neighbour you can complain to your council’s noise control officer about the noise. This is a good solution for ending immediate noise control issues.

However, when a noise complaint happens we also recommend reporting the disturbances to their landlord.

The landlord can serve a notice to the tenants giving them 14 days to remedy their behaviours. If your neighbours are renting in a Kainga Ora home, you can make a complaint to Kainga Ora.

Landlords can only apply to the Tenancy Tribunal after multiple anti-social behaviour notices are made under the new laws. They will also need evidence or witness accounts to support the eviction. This is why it’s so important that landlords know about any noise disturbances happening at the property.

How to find out who owns the property?

The Citizens Advice Bureau has some good advice on finding out who owns the property your neighbours are occupying.

We recommend asking your neighbours who are managing the property when they first move in. This way you will have that information at your disposal before you ever need to contact them.

There are many reasons you may want to know who your neighbour’s landlord is that don’t relate to noise issues. If you share a fence or have trees that overhang your property, it is in your best interest to have access to this information before you need to use it.

How do I know if I’m following the rules to evict my tenants?

The tenancy tribunal website has information regarding noise disturbance and breaching of quiet enjoyment laws. Keeping up with the ever-changing Residential Tenancies Act can be difficult for private landlords. If you are looking for an experienced property specialist who understands the changes, give Glenn and Helen a ring at (09) 832 0832.