Addressing property damage
Question from John updated on 29th June 2020:
I have a question on property damage: How long does a landlord have to file and seek costs after the fact (of the property damage? Also, do you still need another Tenancy ruling prior to taking civil action?
Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:
A landlord or tenant has up to six years in most cases to make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal after a tenancy has ended. This time-frame and what can be pursued is set by the Limitations Act. The Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to keep proper business records relating to a tenancy for seven tax years after the year they relate to. This includes the Tenancy Agreement and any renewal or variation, reports of inspection, records of maintenance and any correspondence with the tenant relating to the rental.
If an application is submitted to the Tenancy Tribunal more than two months after the tenancy ends, a landlord generally needs to give a new contact address where a notice of hearing can be posted to the tenant. It cannot be the previous tenancy address or address for service provided on the tenancy agreement. The new contact address must have been provided by the tenant within the two months before the application is filed. The landlord may have to prove that the new tenant’s address is valid (i.e. when and how the tenant provided it to them). Failure to do so may result in a delay in the case being heard at the Tenancy Tribunal until the notice of hearing can be delivered to the tenant as required.
From the information you have provided, it also sounds like you are referring to a civil enforcement. If a tenant or landlord doesn’t do what they’ve been ordered to do by the Tenancy Tribunal, the order may be enforced through the Collections Unit within the Ministry of Justice. There are certain conditions you will need to meet, including receiving an order from the Tenancy Tribunal, before you can pursue civil enforcement action.
For more information on civil debt, see justice.govt.nz/fines/about-civil-debt/collect-civil-debt/. For more information on enforcing decisions, see https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/enforcing-decisions/. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here.The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.