Exit inspection dispute

Mark asks:
(updated on Monday, May 20th 2019)

Our landlord is alleging carpet damage (dogs) that requires complete replacement and meth contamination. Our dogs were caged every night to prevent this and, during our tenancy, the carpets were professionally cleaned twice. We asked to do a joint exit inspection to avoid this kind of rubbish but our landlord fobbed us off with an excuse four days before exit despite three weeks notice to do this.

We even got an email saying the place looked good and the proper exit inspect would be the next day - and then this. We asked the property manager for a baseline negative meth test and she won't even reply to our requests. Any advice? We're being screwed.

Our Experts Answer:

A landlord does not have to allow a tenant to accompany him/her on an inspection at the end of a tenancy. Many landlords, especially property managers, will have a checklist for comparison of the property condition against the start of tenancy.

It can be very distracting having conversations with a tenant during an inspection, running a risk that some issues may not be covered. Once the inspection is completed the landlord should discuss the results with you. You haven’t said whether the landlord did regular inspections during your tenancy. This allows a landlord to raise any issues as soon as they are discovered, rather than leaving it until you move out.

If the dogs were permitted there is a certain amount of acceptance by the landlord that the standard of “reasonably clean and tidy” includes consideration of the dogs being allowed.

The age of the carpet, too, is a factor. The IRD publishes tables showing how chattels are depreciated in a rental property. If the carpet is several years old the value of the carpet is significantly less than full replacement.

Finally, meth testing at the end of your tenancy is not useful in your case unless there is a baseline test for comparison. In other words, there has to be a means of identifying the condition of the property when you moved in. Without such a pre-tenancy baseline test there is no way of knowing whether any contamination occurred during your tenancy or earlier.

If you and your landlord cannot agree on a settlement of your bond you may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a hearing.

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