Question from Hannah updated on 21st March 2011:
Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:
Landlords have an obligation to lodge all bond payments with the Department of Building and Housing (the Department) within 23 working days of receipt. Failure to comply with this obligation may result in a penalty (exemplary damages) of up to $750. Up to a maximum of $1000 may be payable for breaches that occurred on or after 1 October 2010.
Please note, however, that exemplary damages are not awarded in all cases. The Tenancy Tribunal take various factors into consideration before determining whether they are to be awarded or not. I suggest discussing this with your landlord. If your landlord does not lodge your bond, you can give the landlord 14 consecutive days’ notice to lodge it.
If the landlord does not comply with the notice, you could apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. Please note that you need to comply with specific rules when serving notice on the landlord. For example, service time needs to be allowed for delivering the notice to the landlord before the 14 days notice period can start.
To find out about these requirements please visit the Department’s website (http://www.dbh.govt.nz/tenancy-az-s). A template for a 14 days notice can also be downloaded from the Department’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz).
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.