Fixing flood damage
Question from Karyn updated on 15th December 2017:
I am a new landlord (renting out my family home). Before renting out my property I had some water ingress into my basement garage (no internal access), I advised the rental agent of this and they weren’t too worried.
Due to flood events in Auckland this has exacerbated and there has been a lot of water coming in and the garage now can’t dry out. The garage is now flooded and the tenants are demanding this repaired.
I have had a look into this and two large cracks have formed along the depth of the garage and water leaks out of these. I think this may be groundwater due to recent bad weather. My tenants have asked for a rental decrease of $100 a week (rentals in my area without a garage aren’t this price) which I have said no to.
I have had a guy look at this and while it won’t be a guaranteed fix I would be looking at $5,000 plus to get this looked at. What are my obligations to get this fixed? They are claiming that they will take me to the Tenancy Tribunal.
Our expert Bernard Parker responded:
The tenants rented a home with a basement garage. They are entitled to expect a garage which will serve its purpose. They currently have a flooded garage which it appears they cannot use. The sensible course of action will be for you to drain the excess water away.
I see that the tenants have asked for a rent reduction of $100 per week. This can only be for the duration of the time that they cannot use the garage. I prefer to call it a rent rebate. The tenant continues to pay full rent, and you rebate a specific amount back to the tenant while the inconvenience lasts. If that provides the short term solution you may be able to buy time while the cause of the problem is addressed.
If your tenant wishes they can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a work order requiring you to fix the leak, and/or an order for rent reduction appropriate to the reduced facilities. The Tenancy Tribunal will then assess all factors and make an order that it considers appropriate.
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.