28 March 2019

The Tenancy Tribunal has recently made orders totalling nearly $17,000 against three landlords as a result of investigations launched by the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team.

“The Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT) proactively assess and investigate landlords across New Zealand to ensure they are treating their rental properties as a business, and complying with their responsibilities,” says Peter Hackshaw, Acting National Manager Tenancy Compliance & Investigations Team.

“Landlords who are not meeting their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act can expect to be held to account, as is the case with these three landlords.”

In the largest of the three cases, Auckland boarding house landlord Peter Wheeler was ordered to pay $12,344.64 for failing to lodge tenants’ bond money as required by the Residential Tenancies Act. The Tenancy Tribunal Adjudicator described the actions of Mr Wheeler, who owns five boarding houses across Auckland, as being “intended to avoid the need to forward bond money to the Bond Centre” and “to avoid future scrutiny by the Tenancy Tribunal”.

In the second group of Orders, Wanganui Home Maintenance Limited was ordered to pay $3563.52 across eight applications for failing to lodge bonds, failing to maintain the premises, and providing misleading insulation statements which the Adjudicator said “…indicate[d] to the tenants that there was some insulation in the ceilings, which was not the case at all”.

In the third application, Wellington Landlord Perry Rama agreed to pay $1000 after he allowed tenants to return to their rented property while it was still the subject of a ‘Dangerous Building Notice’ issued by the Wellington City Council. He also agreed to pass the management of the properties on to a property management company.

“Tenants need to trust that their landlords are doing what they need to do under New Zealand’s Tenancy law from the start of the relationship. Failing to lodge bond money is a breach of this trust, as is providing inaccurate information on insulation.

“If landlords don’t have the time and knowledge to manage their rental properties as a business, they should pass them on to someone who does,” says Mr Hackshaw.

All Tenancy Tribunal Orders are publically available by searching the Ministry of Justice website (external link) .

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