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  • #48239

      Hivemind, I have a curly one for you: I am a tenant of an upstairs unit in a very badly built 9yo apartment block on Victoria, which has well over 100 units.

      Three months ago my downstairs neighbours changed hands from an Airbnb to a couple who are owner occupiers. They began a three week reno, run by the lady’s father, that continues to this day. That is fine – they’ve been conscientious about the noise etc – but the smells and fumes from paint and the cigarettes smoked inside their place rises into our toilet and bathroom. Until now we’d close the doors, turn the extractor fan on, and it’d be ok after a bit.

      But last week they laid concrete and concrete sealer. They did not tell us and we woke up at 4am asphyxiating and had to move out for a few days.  My next door neighbour, an owner occupier, also copped it and is filing complaints with the council, the consumer affairs tribunal, you name it. The body corp claimed it couldn’t intervene saying it was an internal issue (the neighbours were doing an internal renovation, therefore not their problem) but our neighbour and the council say that because the fumes have leached into our apartments it’s become a common area issue.

      What makes it worse is they have been very reluctant to engage with us – to the point where the father said he’d sealed all of the holes in the walls etc where fumes may be escaping and it turned out he hadn’t covered any…. so our neighbour went in and did it for him while he was out after laying the first layer of sealant (a whole new issue as the body corp is saying she trespassed). I have a feeling the building is so badly made no matter how well he sealed the apartment, we’d still be getting fumes.

      But what I’d like to know is what exactly are our rights in this situation, as renters and as neighbours in an apartment block? Should they, legally, have told us in advance they were laying toxic chemicals? I don’t need them to pay for our accomodation while we’re staying away, but I’d be interested in finding out if they may be required to. Furthermore, does it relate to the internal structure, as the body corp said, or is it now a common area issue?

      The downstairs neighbour next door to our polluting couple is also about to embark on renovations. How do my landlords and my angry neighbour get the body corp to enforce basic bylaws around having renovations approved or protecting neighbours’ right to live in their apartments, and prevent this happening again?

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    • #48247

        Don’t fight the OC, fight your landlord.

        You have the right to peaceful enjoyement of your unit under your lease.

        Write to the landlord ( so you have a record).

        Tell him you are going to Fair Trading or whoever adjudicates leasing disputes in your state, and will be seeking a rental reduction for the period of the inconvenience.

        The landlord, seeing his income decreasing should get onto the OC and get the appropriate action.

        Your voice as a tenant holds little sway with the OC.

        Let the landlord do the heavy lifting.

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