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Ask Leon Your Own Question
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 44323
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
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We have recently moved into a rental unit & we were not

Customer Question

JA: Hello. What seems to be the problem?
Customer: We have recently moved into a rental unit & we were not notified that extensive balcony renovation had been planned. This has now started & will be on-going until Christmas (10 - 12 weeks) & we would like to know how much we are entitled to request for 'rent reduction'..?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in? What confuses you?
Customer: NSW
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: We are in discussion with the estate agents, we have submitted information & pics to highlight the inconveniences
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: the estate agent has said that there is usually a maximum 25/30% rent reduction in disputes like this. Is that a factual statement..?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 10 months ago.

Good Afternoon

My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand I am very limited on what I can tell you and that you may have to get more detailed advice.

How does it affect you ability to live there and your quit enjoyment? Is the balcony part of the unit you rent and is unusable?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I'd like to list the main inconveniences & smaller inconveniences due to the balcony work:1: The loss of OUR HOME during working hours: due to excessive noise last week our home was un-inhabitable during working hours & as a stay at home dad with a 2.5 yr old son we enjoy daily home home & he has a daily nap so this is extremely inconvenient.2: Loss of VIEW from balcony/main living area.2: Loss of NATURAL LIGHT in main living area & master bedroom (due to closed blinds to retain some privacy)3: Loss of AIR FLOW as we cannot open the balcony doors or master bedroom doors during the day because of the excessive dust (& noise). This is not something I anticipated, but after a couple of hot days last week the unit was extremely hot due too the lack of any air flow.4: Loss of BALCONY. This is not just a daytime loss, but total loss 24/7 as they have now started taking down the walls so there is no balcony wall & we have signs on our windows alerting us that the balcony is OFF LIMITS.5: Loss of SAFETY. Even when the workmen arent around we can't open our balcony door & leave the screen closed because we can't risk the fact that our son could venture out & fall over the open balcony, so once again no air flow even at weekends.6: Loss of SECURITY. One of the reasons we would personally not choose to live on a ground floor unit is because of home security. We enjoy the added security of only having one access point (front door) & the fact that we can have windows open at night without worrying about burglary, however as a by product of the scaffolding we have also lost this benefit as well as any opportunist can now walk up on to our balcony during the night.7: Loss of GUEST PARKING & lots of dust, rocks & debris on all access points into the building & the resident parking.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Once again, my main query is whether we are entitled to more than 30% rent reduction..?
many thanks
Expert:  Leon replied 10 months ago.

I am not able to tell you if you will get a reduction of 30% or not.

In the end this is a matter for the Tribunal.

Here is a link that explains circumstances for rend reductions.

Also the expectations of the parties at the time of renting will also be taken into consideration.

It is not something set in stone and the Tribunal will have to decide what it a fair amount.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for your reply...
Can you please explain:
"Also the expectations of the parties at the time of renting will also be taken into consideration"I appreciate you cant tell me if I will get a specific amount of rent reduction, my query is whether there is a limit OR not to rent reduction..?Can I request 40 or even 50%
i.e. Is there a specific way of evaluating this amount..?
Expert:  Leon replied 10 months ago.

Good Afternoon

Expectations refers to what the parties expected when they entered the lease.

You can ask for what you want but the court will look at what is reasonable.

If you believe and can show that the premises is not habitat as a unit and you can only use 10% of the unit then you can ask for a reduction because you can only use 10%.

If you expected to use the balcony daily and you now cant you have to work out what loss you have suffered.

As I said it is not an easy matter to give you a figure.

You have to look at what loss you have suffered and you have to be able to quantify it. You say loss of security. What exactly do you mean and what has that cost you?

You need to do this for each complaint and give the court figures and how you came up with them.

I hope this makes it clearer.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for the reply...
I think I understand what you're saying, however its hard to quantify loss of habitat..?
Are you saying I should look at the size of my balcony & deduct the size from the unit size..?
With regards ***** ***** now have a open balcony that has stairs leading up to our bedroom window so we cant leave our windows open even though we are on the 1st floor because anyone can walk up. But how can we quantify this, its not a loss, but a worry & not something we chose..?
We have also found out that there is possible 'Asbestos' in the building so this is also a concern as we have 3 small children, but again, how do we quantify this..?
Many thanks
Expert:  Leon replied 10 months ago.

Good Morning.

Yes the area basis is the simplest way to work it out.

You can even get a estimate from a real estate agent about what it would rent for if there is no balcony.

The safety will be hard to prove because if it was only a balustrade that was there its removal doe not make that much of a difference. But if it was fully enclosed and is no open the safety may have a greater impact.

You qualify it all on the basis of what you spend to protect yourself. Asbestos has to be proven and if there is asbestos you may not be able to live there at all.

You list all the issues but if asbestos is one I would be seeking to cancel the lease and they pay costs of your moving. Not a reduction of rent.

I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. if there is nothing further My name is ***** ***** I am a NSW Solicitor. Thank you for your question, and will do my best to assist you with your question. Please understand I am very limited on what I can tell you and that you may have to get more detailed advice.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Leon,
Thanks again, just one last question please...
I'm under the impression that they did a new 'Asbestos Test' prior to starting the job, would I be legally eligible to view that as a resident & someone being effected by the works..?
Expert:  Leon replied 9 months ago.

Good Afternoon

If they have done the test and you go to the tribunal you can seek they order it be released. you would have to send a letter to them and ask for a copy of the report and if they refuse then you can use the letter as evidence of their refusal for the order