Canada woman loses snoring row complaint with neighbours

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image captionExaggerated snoring can often be a sign of a sleep disorder

A Canadian woman who complained of harassment after her landlords urged her to seek help for her snoring has lost her case.

The woman had taken her landlords to Quebec's rental board seeking a rent reduction over the dispute.

The board's tribunal said her excessive snoring could not be considered a normal level of noise expected in an apartment complex.

It also said she was wrong to refuse to see a doctor about her snoring.

The problems began in September 2016, when the Quebec City woman got a call at 03:00 local time (07:00 GMT) from her landlords saying her downstairs neighbours had complained about snores emanating from her unit, according to the decision released this month.

In October, they showed up at her door to try to find a solution to the situation. They asked the tenant about her health and brought her two boxes of products meant to reduce snoring.

The next day, the tenant found a card on her door with doctor's appointment slip and an attached note saying: "take care of yourself".

The landlords followed up a few weeks later to ask her whether she was planning to seek medical help.

In December, she told her landlords to stop harassing her over the issue. They responded with a formal notice requesting she fix the situation and followed it up with a request to the rental board to cancel her lease.

Her neighbours told the tribunal the snoring kept them awake on weekend nights, and that they heard her snoring during the day when she slept following her Monday to Friday night-shifts at work.

She claimed they would often bang on the ceiling to get the noise to stop.

The tenant told the tribunal that the snoring squabble prevented her from enjoying her apartment and made her hesitate before inviting people over and watching television.

She said she began sleeping in her living room, had trouble sleeping, and had fallen into a depression that kept her from work for three months.

The tribunal noted that tenants in the province of Quebec are expected to tolerate a "normal" level of noise when they live in an apartment complex.

But it said this tenant's constant, loud snoring did not fall into that category.

"Breathing is normal, essential, and even indispensable," it stated. "But snoring is not normal and if it persists in an exaggerated way, it is necessary to seek a [medical] consultation."

Because the tenant could suffer from a sleep disorder, it was her responsibility to seek medical advice. The tribunal said it was unfair for her neighbours to suffer the consequences of her inaction.

The tribunal said the landlords were within their rights to try to remedy the situation so that both the tenant and her neighbours could live in peace.

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