Deducting bond

Question from Selena updated on 29th September 2017:

I'm a new property manager and a tenant recently told me about deducting the full bond as four weeks rent because she will be moving out in four weeks... Can she do that?

I think the landlord will leave it as negative history on the tenancy check website if the tenant is going to do that. Can I tell her that or will that be identified as threatening? 

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

You have raised two issues here.

Firstly, it is unlawful for a tenant to withhold rent in anticipation of the landlord claiming the bond. The purpose of the bond is a security against any debt that the tenant may owe the landlord at end of tenancy. This includes rent, damage and cleaning. If the tenant chooses not to pay the last four weeks’ rent there remains no security for any other end-of-tenancy costs. All rent is required to be paid on the date it falls due.

Secondly, a landlord cannot lodge a debt on a credit reporting website without first having received an order of the Tenancy Tribunal. In short, until the Tenancy Tribunal makes an order the debt is not settled – it is still in dispute.

Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.

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