Furnishing & maintenance duties
Question from Lara updated on 1st September 2017:
I just moved in to my fixed term leased property which was supposed to be fully furnished. The rent is very high and I expected everything to work. Before moving in I stipulated some conditions via email (not on lease doc).
Having moved in I have found that it is only semi furnished. There is no television, microwave, dryer and the plates and cooking utensils are unusable. In addition, the dishwasher does not work, none of my requirements have been actioned and the house is falling apart.
Can you please advise if based on this I can end my tenancy?
They have said that they will fix everything that is broken but the reason I am paying so much for a fully furnished property is so that I don't have to fork out any money as I am not sure I will be staying here more than three months.
Our expert Allan Galloway responded:
The landlord has an obligation to make sure the property is maintained in a reasonable state of repair, given its age and character. The length of time it will be used as a residence may also be taken into account, for instance a brand new property might be held to a different standard than one about to be demolished. The landlord must also provide any chattels, furnishings or facilities that were promised as part of the tenancy – either verbally or in writing. They must also maintain or replace them throughout the tenancy.
Where a landlord is in breach of their maintenance obligations or has not provided any chattels, furnishings or facilities that were agreed to, there are steps a tenant can take. The first one is to discuss the matter with the landlord, as you have done. If this does not resolve things, you could give the landlord 14 days’ written notice to remedy the breach of the agreement or their responsibilities – for example, to conduct any necessary maintenance or repairs and to provide any chattels, furnishings or facilities that form part of the tenancy agreement. Download a template at www.tenancy.govt.nz/forms-and-templates and find out more at www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/breaches-of-the-residential-tenancies-act/.
If the landlord does not comply, you could then apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the matter, as well as seeking an order to terminate the tenancy and compensation. Find out more at www.tenancy.govt.nz/disputes. The Tenancy Tribunal also has the ability to either vary or set aside a tenancy agreement where it is established a landlord or a tenant’s agreement was based on a misrepresentation. It would be for the Tribunal to decide whether certain items were required as part of your agreement and whether there was any misrepresentation by the landlord.
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