Genuine written notice?

Question from Renee updated on 13th April 2012:

My landlord gave me 42 days notice to move out. Her reason being that she wanted to move in to make sure her mortgage was paid and to get the house ready for sale. About a month after I moved out I saw the house for rent again on Trade Me. What steps can I take in a tribunal hearing to make sure that this matter is heard and recognised?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

In most cases landlords are required to give 90 days’ written notice to terminate a periodic tenancy, however, 42 days’ notice may be given in certain circumstances (including where the owner requires the premises as the principal place of residence for the owner or any member of the owner’s family). Where a tenancy has ended upon the expiry of 42 days’ notice, and the tenant discovers that the reason for the notice may not have been genuine (and that the tenant therefore believes that 90 days notice should have been given instead), in the first instance the tenant should discuss the matter with the landlord. If it is determined that the tenancy was ended with insufficient notice, the tenant may wish to be compensated for the early termination. If you cannot reach an agreement with the landlord over whether the landlord was justified in giving the 42 days’ notice, or whether you should be compensated in your situation, you could make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. However, it is important to understand that if the landlord gives 42 days notice on the basis that they (or a family member) require the property to live in and then subsequently the landlord’s circumstances change and they no longer require the property to live in then the landlord is not required to withdraw that notice (provided that it was given on that genuine belief). To discuss your situation further or for information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can visit the Department of Building and Housing’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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