Dealing with problem tenant

Question from Vinod updated on 14th June 2019:

My tenant is damaging property and interfering with my builders. He is making malicious complaints about their workmanship. This is causing disruptions to the renovations and maintenance work at the house. I want him gone asap. What can I do?

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a tenant has the right to the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property they rent. This means the landlord cannot interfere or permit interference with the tenant’s reasonable peace, comfort and privacy. Additionally a landlord must give at least 24 hours’ notice to access the property for necessary maintenance, and have the tenant’s agreement for other renovations and maintenance work to proceed, particularly if renovations potentially impact on the tenant’s ‘quiet enjoyment’.

Talking with the tenant to identify their objections is an option worth considering to stop disruptions to the work being undertaken on the property. With regard to the matter of intentional damage to the property the onus is on the tenant to prove that they did not intentionally or carelessly damage the property. If the tenant has caused damage to the property you can ask them to repair the damage, or to pay the cost of replacement or repair.

With regard to your wish to end the tenancy, how that is achieved will depend on the type of tenancy in place. A periodic tenancy can be ended with at least 90 days’ notice in writing to the tenant without reason or by application to the Tenancy Tribunal. A fixed term tenancy can only be ended early by agreement between the landlord and tenant or by application to the Tenancy Tribunal.

For more information on property access for necessary maintenance, quiet enjoyment or applying to the Tenancy Tribunal go to www.tenancy.govt.nz. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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