Q. I own a duplex with a common property driveway. One of the two dwellings is currently tenanted and I want to renovate the untenanted half. What are my obligations to my other tenant?
A. Renovating is an exciting process for you, but let’s face it, your neighbours will probably not look at it the same way. You’ll be thinking about the future, maybe an increase in rent, whereas they will be focusing on the sound of the banging and drilling.
It goes without saying that you should firstly inform your tenant and direct neighbours of the date you will commence works and the anticipated date of completion. Comply with council guidelines and rules around safety, noise and rubbish removal. For example, what hours and days of the week are works permitted?
Whom should the tenant contact if there is an issue? Sometimes people just like to be heard. Be considerate, but also don’t pander to your tenant. Be open about the fact that there will be disruption as well as noise and be firm about what is reasonable.
As the driveway is shared you must not obstruct the driveway without the tenant’s permission and agreement. If you need constant use of the driveway during the works, negotiate this with the tenant beforehand by offering them a rent reduction.
Beware, your tenant may ask for a rent reduction as a result of the disruption to their “quiet enjoyment” of the rented property if the situation turns sour, and you obviously want to avoid this as far as possible.
Lisa Indge, Managing Director, Let’s Rent
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