Dog damage liability

Question from annie updated on 16th January 2019:

We have a rental property in to which the tenant introduced a dog partway through the tenancy. We agreed to this on the basis that the dog was kept outside only. But the tenant put the dog into the basement. This has caused the dog to damage the insulation by pulling it down and biting it into pieces. The insulation type is semi rigid so it didn’t need to be stapled in. This obviously made it easy for the dog to pull it down. The tenants have denied their liability and refuse to pay anything towards the damage. What recourse as a landlord do we have?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

It is interesting how many “outside” dogs become indoor pets when the weather is bad! In this case the tenant appears to have exceeded the permission that you gave for a dog to be kept “outside only”. If the tenant refuses to repair the damage caused by the dog you may like to make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to recover the cost of repairing the damaged insulation. You can argue that the damage was foreseeable and that the tenant cannot claim that the damage was “unintentional” if they intentionally placed the dog in the basement.

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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