This article is about what to do about disruptive tenants in apartments.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: Can a lot owner allow a visitor to reside is their garage?
- QUESTION: Some disruptive tenants reside in our apartment building. Apart from contacting the owners or calling the police each time there is a problem, does the strata manager, office bearers or committee have any powers in this situation?
Question: Can a lot owner allow a visitor to reside is their garage?
I am Strata title secretary of 2 detached units as owners. Only the garages are attached.
Is the owner of the other unit allowed to use his garage as accomodation for his friend who comes and goes whenever he feels like it? How does this affect security and the strata insurance?
I am not personally in favour of this as I have no idea who this person is and whether he has a criminal record or not.
Answer: I would recommend checking with the local council
There is no reference in the Strata Titles Act stating that a resident cannot use the garage for accommodation, however I would recommend checking with the local council on this issue.
In relation to the house guest, Section 19 (4) of the Strata Titles Act stated that the Corporation and Articles cannot prevent or restrict a unit holder from leasing or granting rights of occupation in respect of a unit. This means that other owners do not get a say in who occupies other units in the complex. While the Articles state that a unit holder must advise the Strata Corporation of any change in the occupancy of the unit, they do not need to inform other owners of house guests and background details of the occupants.
This post appears in Strata News #467.
Question: Some disruptive tenants reside in our apartment building. Apart from contacting the owners or calling the police each time there is a problem, does the strata manager, office bearers or committee have any powers in this situation?
Some unruly, disrespectful and disruptive tenants reside in our apartment building. Apart from contacting the owners or calling the police each time there is a problem, does the strata manager, office bearers or committee have any powers in this situation?
Can the residential tenancy tribunal do anything about disruptive tenants for us, or are they only for owner / tenant problems?
Answer: The Strata Act states that there is an obligation for all Residents (Tenants or Owners) to keep respectful noise levels.
Good Question. Tenancies can be very difficult in terms of management when a poor tenant is placed in a unit.
The Strata Act states that there is an obligation for all Residents (Tenants or Owners) to keep respectful noise levels so as to not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of others who are using their residence and/or common property.
A person bound by these Articles:-
I am afraid the responsibility really lies with the Owner/ Property Manager to act on these Breaches because they wield the control over the Tenants in terms of their Lease agreements and can take matters directly to the Tenancies Tribunal for consideration about these breaches and how it relates to the Residential Tenancies Act and their individual Lease agreement. Sadly, South Australia does not yet have a Strata Tribunal.
The Strata will always ask the Owner to exercise their powers under the Tenancies Act, and their Tenancy agreement to ensure that a By-law / Strata Act is adhered to. It may be necessary to raise the Tenancy concerns with the Owner directly if the Property Manager is not getting results.
With these and similar breaches, there must be a history of the breach / offence for a Tribunal hearing to properly consider the case. For this, it is extremely important that those affected take a diary note of the issues when they arise when they were reported, and for the Manager to keep a record of any warnings given to the Tenants. When the matters are severe enough, the Police reports are very beneficial to this process.
Should these Avenues fail, or the group has found the Owner or Property Manager does not heed their concerns, the remaining avenue is a direct application to the Tenancies Tribunal which can be made by Neighbours. In this instance, the more Neighbours who are listed, the more likely the hearing is to be effective. This is a hearing for the removal of the Tenants and, as above, should have supporting documents, dates and times for the Tribunal hearing.
A Tribunal hearing, for those who have not been before (and because the Tenant may be present), can be daunting and as such, some Complainants are unwilling to attend, however, attendance is mandatory, and cannot be simply in the form of a written complaint.
Here is a Link for more information on this process: Getting a disruptive tenant evicted. This page will detail how these applications can be lodged, fees for the application and the process to follow.
Best wishes for a simple and speedy resolution.
This post appears in Strata News #183.
Question: I have disruptive neighbours who are tenants. The apartment is overcrowded with three adults and a baby and their cooking smells waft into my space. What can I do?
I have disruptive neighbours who are tenants and I am located in South Australia.
- My neighbour’s food smell seems to invade my place even though all my doors and windows are shut. I’m worried that the food smell will stay in my paint and curtains.
- The tenants now recently had a baby since moving in. They have the Mother-in-law from overseas staying in the apartment and living with them for 6 months. This is a 2-bed unit leased to just the original two occupants.
I feel this property is too small for 3 adults and a growing baby.
Answer: We always ask and remind Residents in a Strata Corporation to be mindful of their actions, and how it may affect those around them.
The actions of Residents in Strata Corporation living, naturally have an impact on the others around them due to the close proximity of living arrangements. We always ask and remind Members to be mindful of their actions, and how it may affect those around them.
Specifically in regards to your queries:
- Unfortunately there can be issues in properties with the drift of smells from one apartment to the next. In a newer complex, should you be experiencing this, it may be something to address with the Developer, to ensure proper building requirements were met to control and limit the drift of smells. If however, you are in an older Strata complex, then chances are this is a more difficult problem to address. There is no requirement upon the Resident to restrict the foods that they cook or to prevent that drift provided they are simply using their kitchen as intended. You may want to consider some actions you could take yourself, like the installation of new door seals under your door, and checking that the window seals are in reasonable condition.
- There is no action that can be taken in regards to reducing the Occupancy. It is not unreasonable to expect that three adults would stay in a two-bedroom residence. The individual Property Manager for that unit may have imposed restrictions on occupancy at sign up of the lease however allowances would be made for Visitors and certainly, under the circumstances, allowances would undoubtedly be made with understanding for a new Grandmother.
Whilst changes in occupancy, including newborns, can have an effect on those around them, and perhaps on the facilities of a site, this is not unheard of and should be expected within any form of community living. While it can cause you some concerns and frustrations there are multiple persons living in a unit which you may feel is excessive, there are no restrictions under the Strata Titles Act that prevents this.
This post appears in Strata News #171.
- SA: I Feel Unsafe Due to My Threatening Neighbour
- SA: Q&A What Can I Do About Smoke Drift From Neighbour Smoking On Balcony
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
Have a question about disruptive tenants or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.