Our Experts Answer:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) landlords are required to maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair, and are required to ensure the premises comply with all the relevant health, safety, and building regulations that apply to the premises. Landlords also have an obligation where the premises do not have a reticulated water supply, to provide adequate means for the collection and storage of water. The Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 specify the minimum standard of fitness for houses and require premises to have a potable supply of water in the kitchen, and a supply of wholesome water in every bathroom. If you believe that the water tanks are not up to a sufficient standard, you may ask the landlord to carry out any necessary work, or request that the landlord have the water tested. If the landlord does not consider that there is a problem, or is unwilling to have the water tested, you may choose to have the water tested yourself. If the test results confirm that there is a problem with the water supply, the landlord may be required to fix the problem. If the landlord does not address the problem, you may give your landlord 14 days’ written notice to carry out the necessary work. As the notice must be in writing, you must allow for service time and should keep a copy of the notice. A template for 14 days’ notice and information about service times can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Building and Housing Group’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz). If the landlord does not comply with the notice, you may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. To discuss your situation further, or for information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can visit the Ministry’s website (as noted above), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).