Damage liability claims
Question from Mark updated on 4th October 2017:
We have two separate claims currently with insurance companies. They involve a situation where the tenants got in a house sitter while they were away and the house sitter damaged the house. There is $700 excess for a small fire and $650 excess for a new garage door. But both parties are currently avoiding paying us the excess.
Our question is what can we do in the meantime? Recent Tenancy Tribunal decisions show tenants walking away with the bond in their pockets. How do we tie up the bond until the appeal result is out? If we can't hold the bond up, can we take the house sitter to the Disputes Tribunal?
Our expert Myles Noble responded:
Unfortunately, there are no further avenues available for appeal on the Holler vs Osaki matter and the decision now stands. You are right that the Tenancy Tribunal is now likely to follow this precedent when considering claims under the Property Law Act and not hold tenants liable for the two situations you describe. I would expect that referring this matter to the Disputes Tribunal will not make any difference as they will deem this matter should fall under the jurisdiction of the Tenancy Tribunal.
Myles Noble is head of claims and earthquake response for Crombie Lockwood. He also holds various advisory board positions in the insurance industry.