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03 August 2005 @ 02:24 pm
The Rights of Tenants  
I need some advice on our rights as tenants.

Basically, the situation is that the landlord wants to do some repairs to the property.
They want to replace all of the windows in all of the flats.
This is going to be a significant building job that will mean having builders working in our home for two to three days, causing significant disruption to our lives and property (we have already been warned to have everything covered in old sheets, which the builder told us we will need to buy from an op-shop) as everything will get covered in saw-dust.
The builder also said that he will be starting this noisy, dusty work each day from 7:30am.

Basically, the "tenants rights and responsibilities" handbook only has info on what happens if the landlord doesn't perform repairs that we have asked for, and this is the opposite problem: the landlord wants to perform repairs that we didn't ask for.
They could possibly be considered "urgent" repairs under the definition that the security of the flat may be at risk, but I think that would be drawing a long bow since the only windows that don't lock altogether are ones that adjoin a two-storey drop and besides it would be our property mostly at risk.

The builder himself recommended that we vacate the flat whilst these repairs were taking place, and I feel that it is unfair that they can render our home unliveable whilst they perform repairs that we don't deem necessary.

Can we say no to these repairs, or ask them to wait until we vacate in February?
If not, can we refuse the builders entry until a reasonable hour (i.e. stop them entering before 9am)?
Can we ask for remuneration for the old sheets the builder has told us to purchase?
Can we ask for remuneration for temporary accommodation whilst these building works are ongoing, as the builder himself recommended we vacate for the period?

Is there an advice line that we should call to answer these questions?
HegeMonhege_mon on August 3rd, 2005 04:42 am (UTC)
Outlier Manlukeii on August 3rd, 2005 05:00 am (UTC)
What is going on? You are the second person on my LJ Friends page to have the landlord wanting to do repairs that the tenants haven't asked for or want.
rusty_dkrusty_dk on August 6th, 2005 07:35 am (UTC)
Ask to look at the contract you signed...there could be a clause saying the landlord has the right to perform any work on the building at whatever date.
Jacobyak_boy on August 9th, 2005 10:48 am (UTC)
I have a copy of the lease, but such a clause would be illegitimate because it goes against one of the fundamental clauses of all leases: the right to "quiet enjoyment" of the property.

That basically means that whilst the property belongs to the landlord, the tenant has the right to the use of the property, without being disturbed unnecessarily.

I am going to send a letter to the estate agents advising them that we do not wish these building works to go ahead, and their response will govern any subsequent action.
rusty_dkrusty_dk on August 9th, 2005 10:51 am (UTC)
there's always the arguement though that the work is not uneccessary and is important for security reasons...
Jacobyak_boy on August 9th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
True enough, but since most of the security risk would be on our property, not theirs, I would be happy to argue the point to VCAT.
rusty_dkrusty_dk on August 7th, 2005 09:51 am (UTC)
You could also give LegalAid a call...not sure of their number though