A Wellington student who only had five days' notice before her landlord started building a new house in the backyard has been awarded $1000 in compensation.
Caitlin Bates told the Tenancy Tribunal the landlord of her Mt Victoria home, David Huang, had breached his obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act by carrying out the major construction work.
According to the decision released by the Tribunal, Bates said she was no told about the intended construction work before starting her tenancy, and only received notice of it on September 13, five days before it began.
Bates is a student and remains at home each day until about 2pm, when she attends lectures.
She also works from home, earning money by livestreaming herself playing games on the internet, which is impacted by the noise from the construction.
Part of the reason she chose the property to live at was because she would be able to fly her harnessed cockatiel in the back yard, which she now cannot do.
She asked Huang to consider a rent rebate to compensate for the interference to her quiet enjoyment of the property, but he refused.
He told the Tribunal he informed Bates about the planned construction at the time of signing the tenancy agreement, and that the previous tenants knew about it and would have passed on the information to her.
But Bates said she was not told until September 13, and none of the other tenants living at the property knew or told her about it.
"Furthermore, she says that had she known about the work, she would have re-thought whether to take on the tenancy," Tribunal adjudicator Kaye Stirling said in her decision.
The construction work has continued every week on Mondays to Fridays from 7.30am to 5pm with a small break over Christmas.
"The builders were for a time playing music loudly and using a toilet inside the premises until, at the request of Ms Bates, Mr Huang talked to them about it.
"Building materials are left strewn around the exterior of the house. The work has still not been finished."
Stirling found Huang had breached his obligations by interfering with Bates' quiet enjoyment of the property.
"Building a house is a huge undertaking which generally takes many months and causes disruption from noise, dust and the like, to those living adjacent to the works," she said.
"It is a lengthy project which has been going on now for five months and is expected to take a lot longer yet."
In deciding what compensation should be provided, Stirling considered Huang's advice he was receiving the same rent from Bates as he received from the previous tenants, who were not subjected to the building work.
"Therefore, any suggestion that the rent charged already takes the works into account is negated."
She ordered Huang to pay compensation of $1000, which equated to a weekly rent reduction of about $50 per week.