Landlord obligations

Steven asks:
(updated on Monday, January 13th 2020)

I moved in to an newly owned property with my wife (then partner) and paid the landlord two weeks bond for one room. I now understand that this bond was never posted. The landlord claims that because we paid individually for one week each that it wasn't required for the bond to be posted. Is there any justification for this?

He was also a live in landlord but has since moved out. Does he now have to install insulation?

Our Experts Answer:

From the information provided we have assumed this is a boarding house situation. In a boarding house, a tenant rents sleeping quarters in a room (or a whole room) rather than the whole house, and shares the facilities (such as the kitchen and bathroom) with other tenants.

A boarding house landlord can ask for a bond of up to the equivalent of four weeks’ rent and is required to lodge the bond with Tenancy Services within 23 working days of receiving the money. The only exception is if the bond is the equivalent to one week’s rent or less.

Whether the bond will need to be lodged will depend on whether you and your partner are on a single boarding house tenancy agreement that requires two weeks’ bond. If you each have a separate boarding house tenancy agreement with one week rent as bond required, then this will not need to be lodged.

Landlords may be faced with a financial penalty of up to $1000 for non-lodgement of the bond. All residential landlords and boarding house operators must comply with insulation requirements under the renting law (known as the Residential Tenancies Act).

As of 1 July 2019, all residential rental properties and boarding houses must have insulation installed in the ceiling and underfloor where reasonably practical to do so.

To resolve any issues regarding bond or insulation, talk to the landlord to try and come up with an agreement in writing in the first instance. If no agreement can be found, either party has the option to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a mediation or a tribunal hearing to have the matter(s) resolved.

For more information on bond, go to tenancy.govt.nz/rent-bond-and-bills/bond/. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here.  

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