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Neighbour harassment?

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  • Neighbour harassment?

    Hi everyone, I apologise in advance this maybe a long one. I like some advice on my situation.

    So right now I'm (male) flatting in Wellington and our property is a relatively old house near the cbd and is 2 stories. Our flat is 4 bedrooms (up stairs) with 4 tenants (2 uni students and 2 yopros, the others are 3 females) and a down stairs separate one bedroom studio/apartment (I'm not 100% sure since I've never been down there).

    So there is a woman living below us that's been making deliberate banging noises (maybe a broom stick to the roof?) every time she thinks she hear us making noises to keep her up at night even though we never have parties, play music loudly or even have a tv in the lounge (apparently her bedroom is directly below our lounge). We have tried to accommodate her (ridiculous) needs as much as possible by not going to the kitchen late at night or even tip toeing around when we do have to. And yet she still bangs the roof at ungodly hours (2-3am often) as "retaliation" for us making noise for waking her up even though everyone is clearly sound asleep. We have now stopped acting like this because she is not acting reasonable and we refuse to carry on sneaking round our own home.

    It has gotten much worse recently and she started aggressively knocking on our door aggressively at times and we tried to ignore her as much as possible. One of my flatmate eventually had a mini breakdown because of this one night.

    It happened again last night and I opened the door to confront her (3 times) about it and she is still adamant that we are making noise to keep her up at night by "dropping things in the kitchen" and she has threatened to make as much noise as possible everyday at 6 am to make us wake up as more retaliation.

    We have spoken to the landlord and had meetings in the post trying to resolve this issue but from what I can tell the landlord is not very keen on doing anything. My flatmates have also called the police a couple of times in the past (I wasn't around) because she was just going mental with the banging and knocking on our door, the flatmates didn't want to confront her. The police said because she doesn't have a weapon they can't do anything about the situation.

    Now after my encounter with her, I feel like this is beyond a dispute over noise control. I'd say she's pretty much harassing us at some level and definitely disturbing of peace. Personally I don't feel that my safety is compromised but I'd argue my flatmates would think otherwise. But it is for sure disrupting our daily lives). Is there anything I can do to escalate the situation?

    We have approached the tenancy tribunal but because of our everyday life commitments we don't have the time, money or energy to go to court (my flatmates are mostly not keen). Is there anyways I can get the police involved to issue get an official notice and force the landlord to act accordingly?

    Before you suggest just move out, we are looking into that option but for most of us the price of accommodation is so high right now that we can't actually afford to at the moment.


  • #2
    how about tell the LL its her or us, even if you move the new tenants will have the same problem so that may get him doing something.


    • #3
      Not sure why you don't want to go through the Tenancy Tribunal - that is the correct way to proceed and it is not expensive. You are legally entitled to quiet enjoyment under the Residential Tenancies Act and harassment of neighbour is an unlawful act subject to a fine to the landlord of up to $2000.

      My suggestion is to keep a log of the incidents and keep the landlord informed by email so there is a dated record. Include the impact on you and your flatties each time. Tell the downstairs tenant what you are doing and that you intend to take the landlord to the TT if she does not stop harassing you. Put it in writing, stick it on her door and take a dated photo for their record.

      If the LL gives you notice you can apply to the TT to have it set aside as retaliatory, which will at least give you time to move in your own timeframe.

      In practice, letting the LL know that you are aware of your rights and are keeping records may be enough to get him/her to talk sternly to the downstairs person.

      Also, you say you don't have time or energy, fair enough, but if you approach this the right way you will benefit from way less stress. And learn a whole lot about tenant rights in the meantime, always useful.


      • #4
        Nice post Artemis.

        Being an old building there's probably nothing much between the upstairs/downstairs, maybe just floorboards - and no insulation in the ceiling of the downstairs flat so the tenant down there may actually hear every step made etc and be a light sleeper. She's not going to solve the issue by getting you to move out though. The LL can probably solve the noise issue but it may be expensive.


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        • #5
          When you have children, will you not ensure they behave or will you "not have the energy" to do so.

          Let this go on and you will suffer for it. Sort it and you will learn something of life.

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