Can tenants attach any fixtures to the premises?

Tanya asks:
(updated on Tuesday, March 08th 2011)

Q1. the tenant who rents our property has put up a sky satellite dish with asking or informing us. Are they allowed to do this? Apart from being exceedingly ugly and very poorly sited, the disk has been badly installed - damaging the concrete tile roof its been attached to. What can we do about this?
Q2.They have also put pictures up all over the place using pins and nails plus hung children's ornaments and toys from the ceilings, including a boxing bag - this has caused cracking though the ceilings. We have just done an inspection and want to know if its reasonable to mention it to them and get a quote to repair this and take it out of their bond when they leave, or if we should be getting them to repair the damage immediately?

Our Experts Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 prohibits tenants from attaching any fixtures to the premises without written approval in advance from the landlord (the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent). Tenants are also responsible for any damage caused carelessly or intentionally by them or their invited guests. I suggest addressing your concerns with the tenant(s) as soon as possible, and discussing the repairs for the damage, as well as any damage that may occur if the fixtures are removed.

I recommend recording any agreement between you and the tenant(s) in writing, preferably on the tenancy agreement. If you cannot resolve the matter by discussing it with your tenant(s), you can write to the tenant giving them reasonable notice to repair the damage the tenant is responsible for. You can download a template for giving notice from the Department of Building and Housing website.

If the damage has not been repaired within the period in your letter, you may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved.

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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