Damage repairs

Margrett asks:
(updated on Friday, May 03rd 2013)

My tenants have left three hard, dirty marks on 10-year-old carpet. I doubt the marks will come and I have no spare carpet to have the marks cut out and replaced. How do I estimate calcuate my loss in respect to the bond? The tenent has also left holes in the wall where they hung their TV (without permission from me). The holes will be repaired and the whole wall repainted so there is no 'patch' mark. Can I charge an hourly rate if I do the work myself?

Our Experts Answer:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), tenants are responsible for damage they or their invited guests cause carelessly or intentionally during the tenancy. When determining the amount to charge for damages, a number of factors should be considered. For example, in the case of carpet damage, the landlord should take into consideration depreciation value such as the age of the carpet, the condition it was in at the start of the tenancy, the size of the damaged area, and fair wear and tear. Once a landlord has determined an amount they think is fair and reasonable, they should discuss it with the tenant. When a landlord is carrying out repair work themselves, a landlord may also seek to recover a reasonable amount in costs to cover their time. However, as the Act does not specify costs a landlord may charge in respect of their time taken to carry out repairs the tenant is responsible for, the landlord and tenant should try and negotiate an amount both parties are happy with. Alternatively, you may wish to determine how much an applicable tradesperson would charge if they were to carry out the work (while considering depreciation value). If a landlord and tenant cannot agree on the amount of any repairs, either party may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a resolution. To discuss your situation further, or for further information regarding costs a tenant is responsible for, you can visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Building and Housing Group’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or phone 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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