Neighbours in Dispute

From time to time, we receive complaints from neighbours about a tenant. This could be anything from anti-social behaviour, which is harassment or any other act or omission (whether intentional or not), if the act or omission reasonably causes alarm, distress, or nuisance that is more than minor. However, there are the more serious incidents, whereby a tenant may behave in a threatening way or even assault a neighbour.

We also receive complaints from neighbours who can be unreasonable and may have simply taken a dislike to a tenant. In any case, property managers can only act against a tenant if the tenant is in breach of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA), and we require proof.

When an instance of anti-social behaviour occurs during a periodic tenancy, we are required to issue a notice of anti-social behaviour to the tenant. The notice for anti-social behaviour must clearly describe:

• The specific behaviour considered to be anti-social;
• Who engaged in the anti-social behaviour (if this is known to the landlord);
• The date, approximate time and location of the behaviour; and
• How many other notices (if any) have been issued in connection to anti-social behaviour at the same tenancy within the same 90-day period.

The notice must advise the tenant that they have the right to challenge the notice in the Tenancy Tribunal. If the matter does result in a case at the Tenancy Tribunal, we are required to provide proof of the anti-social behaviour, we cannot simply rely on hearsay from neighbours.

Therefore, neighbours should always contact either noise control, the Police, or both and make a complaint. We can then request this information which assists us to ‘prove’ the anti-social behaviour occurred.

If the dispute between the neighbours and tenant isn’t because of the tenant breaching the RTA, then this would be a civil case and the parties would be encouraged to take the matter to the Disputes Tribunal.