Demanding tenants

Question from Bri updated on 10th June 2019:

We are new and young landlords. (My partner and I have invested in a property at ages 24 and 25.) We have tenants who are asking us to fix every teething problem with the property from doors that stick to squeaky floorboards.

The latest is the squeaky floorboards in the upstairs bedroom. They have gone ahead and received a quote to fix them for $1000. I am wondering if landlords are actually responsible for fixing squeaky floorboards as this does not impact the habitability of the property at all? Any help would be appreciated!


Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

When a tenant views a property and then applies to rent it, there is a reasonable conclusion that they are happy with the property that they have viewed. There is an element of “what you see is what you get” in the signing of a tenancy agreement based on such a viewing. Doors that stick can be inconvenient for a tenant, possibly even a risk, and it is reasonable that the doors should open and close properly. Squeaky floorboards may be major or minor, depending on the degree of movement and noise.

While it is nice to eliminate all foibles in a property, it can be an expensive matter. At some point you may wonder if the tenant is wishing to upgrade the property into something better than they initially viewed. (… Perhaps creating a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.) Maintenance is your responsibility and your prerogative, especially if it does not affect the habitability of the dwelling. It is your decision whether the floorboards need re-nailing.

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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