A New Zealand couple has won the right to shorten a fixed-term rental lease after becoming frightened by the behaviour of Airbnb guests in a neighbouring apartment.
Vitor Ugo Roda da Rosa Junior and Mariele Klering moved into the Victoria Residences overlooking the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland last June.
But after being subjected to loud drunken behaviour late at night, banging on walls, and vomit and blood outside their unit door, they took their case to Tenancy Tribunal.
“The tenants have become fearful in the property as a result of incidents at a neighbouring unit which is rented out as an Airbnb,” the tribunal judgement said.
The couple applied for a reduction of their tenancy because, they said, continuing to live next to the Airbnb listing would cause them severe hardship.
They also claimed they had experienced delays in maintenance being completed on their property.
Ms Kleiring and Mr Rosa Jr’s tenancy was ruled to end on February 20 – rather than the original conclusion date of June 4 – giving the landlord 21 days to find a new tenant.
“I am satisfied as a result of what they have endured to date, the tenants would suffer severe hardship if the tenancy were not reduced,” the ruling said.
According to the Residential Tenancies Act, a fixed-term tenancy can be reduced if there have been an unforeseen change in the applicant’s circumstances, there would be severe hardship to the applicant if the term is not reduced, and if the applicant’s hardship is greater than the hardship to the other party.
The couple’s landlord argued he would suffer financial hardship if the contract was reduced because of the of the cost of advertising and the time needed to find a new tenant, but the tribunal ruled the tenants’ hardship would be greater than the landlord’s.
The landlord, who did not dispute any of the facts in the case, was not awarded any compensation.
The property manager Catalise Limited claimed it had attempted to remedy the situation with Airbnb, which stipulates that while its hosts are required to follow a universal set of rules to make the lives of their guests easier, the individual hosts determine the house rules for their guests.