Landlord to sort 'non-potable' water

Dallas asks:
(updated on Thursday, August 15th 2013)

Further to an earlier question 'Clean Drinking Water Please'. If tenants' tank water is found to be non-potable, is it the responsibility of the landlord to have the tank professionally cleaned and/or install appropriate water filters and/or organise debris collection devices such as first flush systems and guttering diffusers to ensure the future collection of (potable) safe drinking water? Thanks.

Our Experts Answer:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act (the Act), landlords are required to maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair and are required to ensure the premises comply with all the relevant health, safety and building regulations that apply to the premises. Landlords also have an obligation where the premises do not have a reticulated water supply, to provide adequate means for the collection and storage of water. A supply of potable water is a requirement of the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947. If the water supply is found to be non-potable, a tenant should ask the landlord to carry out any necessary work required to remedy the situation. This should be done in consultation with specialist tank water experts. If the landlord does not address the problem, a tenant may give their landlord 14 days’ written notice to carry out the necessary work. As the notice must be in writing, you must allow for service time and should keep a copy of the notice. A template for 14 days’ notice and information about service times can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Building and Housing Group’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz). If the landlord does not comply with the notice, you may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. To discuss your situation further, or for information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can visit the Ministry’s website (as noted above), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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