This Is Christchurch: Social Housing Providers Must Protect Non-Residential Neighbours From Harrassment?

First published on This Is Christchurch
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Following up on our article about Housing NZ / Kainga Ora and Otautahi Community Housing Trust’s responsibilities to tenants, we have become aware that in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act of 2010, Parliament sought to strengthen the requirements of the existing RTA by strengthening an existing requirement that tenants were not allowed to create disturbance to other people living in the neighbourhood. The specific wording for the existing requirement is found in the RTA section 40 as follows:

(2) The tenant shall not

(c) 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. (section emphasised in bold)

In other words this is clearly targeted at disturbances which occur in neighbourhoods from time to time caused by landlords who fail to manage the behaviour of tenants. At the moment we need to research the background of this more.

The above words were not actually added to the RTA in 2010, but an additional section was added at that time as follows:

(3A) The following are declared to be unlawful acts:

(a) a failure, without reasonable excuse, to quit the premises in contravention of subsection (1)(e)(i):

(b) a contravention of subsection (2)(ab):

(c) a contravention of subsection (2)(b):

(d) a contravention of subsection (2)(c) in circumstances that amount to harassment of a tenant or a neighbour of the tenant:

(e) a contravention, without reasonable excuse, of subsection (3).

(Note we have added bolding of the relevant subsection (3A) (d)).

The main problem is how a case is established and prosecuted against a landlord. There does not appear to be provision in the RTA for the Tenancy Tribunal to hear such cases. Legal advice would probably be required to establish how someone would be able to get a ruling in a case like this. In the meantime we will attempt further research to ascertain what was the intention of Parliament in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2010.