How to be a good neighbour

Most people have a good understanding of their responsibilities about the rental property they live in, but did you know tenants also have a responsibility to be good neighbours?

Tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment, the ability to make full use of their property in reasonable peace, comfort and privacy. However, tenants also have an obligation not to interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of a neighbour. This does not mean that you or your neighbours must not make noise – it means that you are required to also respect your neighbours’ right to peace, comfort and privacy.

Although the RTA cannot become involved in disputes between neighbours, it is recommended that you consider the effect of your behaviour on your neighbours' quiet enjoyment. Below is a list of common situations where complaints arise:

  • smoking
  • parking
  • rubbish
  • excessive noise, including pets
  • overgrown properties
  • using paints or chemicals that exude strong odours
  • excessive amounts of water flowing onto adjoining land.

Neighbour complaints

If a neighbour believes a tenant is interfering with the quiet enjoyment of their home, you should attempt to resolve the issue together. If the two parties cannot resolve the issue, the property manager/owner can be notified. It is important to note the property manager/owner is not responsible for a tenant’s behaviour; however, they may choose to address the complaint with the tenant.

Sometimes neighbours may have the same property manager/owner or onsite manager, which is common in townhouse complexes, unit blocks and caravan parks. In this instance, once notified, the property manager/owner or onsite manager may issue a breach to the tenant. If the property manager/owner or onsite manager chooses not to act on this information in a reasonable timeframe and the person who first reported the issue feels it is serious, they have the option to issue the property manager/owner or onsite manager with a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) for breaching their right to quiet enjoyment in their property. Remember, this only applies if the property manager/owner or onsite manager manages both properties.

Other agencies that may be able to help:

  • Local government investigates complaints relating to residential properties (e.g. dogs barking and excessive noise from air conditioners)
  • Local police can act on complaints about excessive noise and bad behaviour, and complaints such as dangerous driving
  • Dispute Resolution Centres offer free mediation services to help manage neighbourhood disputes without going to court.
Original publication on 20 May 2024
Last updated on 22 May 2024

Note: While the RTA makes every reasonable effort to ensure that information on this website is accurate at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after publication may impact on the accuracy of material. This disclaimer is in addition to and does not limit the application of the Residential Tenancies Authority website disclaimer.