Landlord without boundaries
Question from Dee updated on 24th May 2016:
I am renting a house through a property manager, but the owner has recently shown up to complete minor renovations. For the past five weeks, he has been here every single day. However, he has not finished one single project he has started.
During this time we haven’t been able to use the property to the full extent as he is using the garage as his kitchen/coffee making area and storing his food in our garage fridge. His workmanship is dangerous for our kids, leaving exposed nails, holes in decking and tools/rubbish all over the yard. He also turns up uninvited to sit and drink coffee outside the garage for hours on end and sometimes during the night without explanation.
The situation is stressful and inconvenient for myself and my family – particularly as he keeps changing his date of completion. However, he refuses to deal with me through the agent or put anything in writing. Can I claim some sort of exemplary compensation through the Tenancy Tribunal?
Our expert Allan Galloway responded:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, your “landlord” is the person listed on your tenancy agreement. If the owner of the premises is not listed on the agreement, then they may not be your landlord for the purposes of the Act. If the person visiting your premises is not listed on the tenancy agreement you should discuss the matter with your property manager in the first instance, as this person may be breaching your right to the “quiet enjoyment of the premises”.
Where the issue cannot be resolved, you could consider issuing your landlord with a “14 day” notice to remedy the breach and, if that is not complied with, you can make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved, or the tenancy terminated. Such an application could seek an amount of compensation for any breaches of the Act that are substantiated, and may be awarded by the Tribunal.
For further information on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, you can visit our website at www.tenancy.govt.nz or you can call 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62).
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.