TERROR IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
By LEE McDOUGALL
PHIL and Kay Jeffery live in a typical, quiet street that could be found anywhere on the Coffs Coast.
Unfortunately, the retired couple are facing what every homeowner dreads ? the neighbours from hell.
For the past 12 months, the Jefferys and many other neighbours in the vicinity, have had to deal with the alleged anti-social behaviour of two rental tenants in an adjoining flat complex.
The ongoing behaviour has resulted in one elderly resident leaving the family home she has occupied for 57 years ? with the family now placing the home on the market.
"It's a whole gamut of anti-social behaviour," Mrs Jeffery said.
"We have been in pubs for 30 years so I am no shrinking-violet housewife. I've dealt with some fairly offensive behaviour over the years, but this behaviour is just vulgar."
Listed among the complaints are repeated and ongoing loud music, vulgar language, excrement being thrown at properties, rocks being fired at properties by sling-shot breaking solar panels and windows, spray-painted graffiti, and threatening behaviour including death threats and threats to burn down houses.
"The police have been called on so many occasions we've lost count," Mrs Jeffery said.
Property manager for Pacific Property Management, Janette Mitchell, said changes to the Residential Tenancy Act in 2003 slanted the Act towards the rights of the tenant.
"The tenant has all the rights in the world," Ms Mitchell said.
"We have issued the tenant in question with two weeks notice to leave, but if they fail to do so and we go to the Tribunal, then I need written documentation of all the alleged incidents including times and dates.
"Unless the complaints are in writing from the neighbours, there is actually little we can do under the Act.
"I don't want problem tenants any more than the neighbours do. Under the Act, neighbours are entitled to quiet enjoyment and tenants must not cause a nuisance under the terms of the tenancy agreement. But we need complaints in writing."
nThe Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal is an independent body where tenants and landlords can take their disputes. The Tribunal is not a formal court, but its decisions are legally binding.
For further information on dealing with problem tenants, visit the Tribunal's website at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/cttt.html or phone 1300 135 399.