A tenant received $ 5,786.44 after its owner’s Gray Lynn property was found to be illegal.
The tenant paid $ 850 per week in rent to live in the lower portion of a property at 121 Crummer Rd, Gray Lynn, which is only licensed for use as one residential unit.
Owners Ineke Kranenburg and Andrew Graham converted the house into two rooms by installing a plywood ceiling at the top of the interior staircase.
The downstairs portion of the property had been used as short term accommodation. But, due to Covid-19, the landlord decided to offer it to longer-term tenants instead.
The tenant, who was given a name suppression, moved into the premises with two other roommates on January 6.
Court documents show that the problems started when tenants discovered that the home’s conversion was not soundproof.
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In a statement to court, the tenant said “normal walking seemed extremely heavy, audible and reverberated through the downstairs unit. I could hear conversations from upstairs.
The owner confirmed that when he sealed the stairs, turning the property into two premises, he did not add any soundproofing or insulation to the staircase area, the court ruling noted.
“The stairs are sealed with sheets of wood. The tenant has informed both the landlord and the tenant of the floor about the noise issues during the rental.
She said a roommate left because of the noise and it was difficult to replace them as future roommates asked about the noise and she didn’t want to mislead them.
Under the rental agreement, tenants on the ground floor were not allowed to organize parties.
But the tenants upstairs, one of whom was the landlord’s son, threw several parties during the tenant’s stay, which contributed to her “daily stress, disruption and problems.” [her] well-being, ”the court said.
“If I had known about it [the property being unlawful] I cannot move into the property for rent, let alone $ 850 per week, ”she told the court.
Court arbitrator Toni Prowse said the disruption was enough to cause tenants “daily boredom and high levels of stress and anxiety.”
Prowse also found that “the owner seemed to be aware from the start that the property might not be legal” as the owner was well aware that there was only one set of recycling bins for the property.
These two points contributed to Prowse’s decision to award the tenant $ 5,786.44.
Of this amount, $ 5,666 was a reduction in rent due to the illegal premises.
The landlords counterclaimed, seeking rent owed and damages for the tenant for disposing of what Prowse called an “old, moldy and broken” window shade.
All claims filed by the landlord were dismissed by the arbitrator.