Dealing with property manager dispute?

Tracy asks:
(updated on Wednesday, September 18th 2013)

I have an executive rental property in Christchurch. I paid a property management company to manage it for over five years and paid extra for four monthly inspection reports. My tenant has left and I now find out that there is water damage to the wooden floor in the lounge which has been ignored for over two years and not itemized on the inspection reports. Each report for the last two years stated the floors were in "excellent condition". What can I do in this situation? The property management company was negligent and I now have to pay for the repair to the floor. I can't take the property management company to a Tenancy Tribunal - is there an equivalent which covers property management companies?

Our Experts Answer:

You are correct. The Tenancy Tribunal does not handle disputes between property owners and their agents. The contract of management is a commercial contract, and the Disputes Tribunal is the correct venue for resolving disputes such as you have described. I suggest you try to resolve the issue with the property manager, as there may be other factors which you haven’t considered. There are often two sides to a story. If you can’t resolve the issue, then the Disputes Tribunal process is available to you. It is relatively inexpensive to lodge a claim in the Disputes Tribunal. Take a look at the web site http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/disputes-tribunal for further information. The main focus of the referee is to try to broker an agreement, if possible. If an agreement can’t be reached, the referee is empowered to make a binding decision.

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