Friday, May 23, 2014

Your rights in action: Peace, comfort and privacy

In todays guest contribution, the Brown Couch welcomes contributor Anne Coates. Anne is a Distance Education Student with a story to tell! This article first appeared in the April edition of Tenant News - the TU's regular newsletter.

As a distance education student, my rented apartment is not only my home, but also my main place of study. So I particularly value the right to ‘reasonable peace, comfort and privacy’. One way this right is maintained is through the landlord or agent giving proper notice, prior to access – at least in theory! Recently I discovered in practice, things may be rather different.
Our landlord, it turns out, has decided to sell the property. In preparation, a tradesperson was arranged by the landlord to paint all the windows. Our notice of this work was a knock on the door by the painter, one Thursday morning just after 7am, requesting for all the windows to be opened, and left open ‘for the next few days’.
The failure to give adequate notice (not less than 2 days notice for maintenance), and the painter’s noisy scissor lift starting each morning from 7am, upset the 20 odd tenants in the apartment block. The tenants exchanged ideas for action. Some put up notices in response to the painter’s sign for ground floor tenants, while others sent emails to the Managing Agent. Eventually, the message made its way to the painter, so towards the end of the job the noise was not starting until 8am (the legislated time).

The following Tuesday a letter under our door advised that a Selling Agent (not the Managing Agent!) wanted to inspect the premises on Friday at 9.30am, another failure to provide adequate notice for access. Again, the protests of the tenants in the building resulted in the inspection not taking place. Our efforts in objecting to our rights being breached eventually resulted in the legislated 14 days written notice prior to showing the premises to prospective buyers. So, as one of my neighbours’ signs appropriately summed up, “Check your lease and be empowered!”

For more info, check out Factsheet 8, Access and Privacy at


  1. My next door neighbours are tenants and rent the property. I own my property. They acquired a Sh'itzu dog which had five puppies and they have kept two making 3 dogs in total in the property for the last 9 months. Our back gardens back on to a slip road and the dogs are left out in their garden all day. They bark hysterically at anyone passing whether on foot or by car. Protestations from me tot he agents were initialy met with sympathy and I was told it was against the lease. Now it seems the landlord has given the tenants permission to keep the dog(s). The landlord lives abroad and I do not know whether she realises there are 3 of them. I had builders in my house today and they barked hysterically for the 45 mins they were there. This is in addition to barking throughout the day of they sense or hear a stranger going by or the postman or dustmen arrive. I am becoming at my wits end with the continual barking and my complaints are met with "well that's what dogs do". I have a right to reasonable peaceful enjoying of my property" which I am not receiving. Aside from complaining to the Council and to the landlord direct via the agents, what else can I do. The barking is high pitched with all three of them whipping themselves into a frenzy. It is simply unacceptable and intolerable. What would anyone else do in these circumstances?

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      How would you approach this situation if your neighbours were home-owners?



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