Question from Sarika updated on 14th June 2012:
Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:
You have two issues here: the performance of the agent in managing your property and the tenants failure to pay rent. Your most pressing task is to ensure that the roof leaks are attended to and that the tenants are paying full rent. Withholding all rent when there is a leak only in the garage (and not the living areas) seems rather extreme. The question may arise as to whether the tenants want some compensation (and how much) for the inconvenience they incurred as a result of the garage ceiling leak. If you can agree on a solution and get back on track, try to do so as soon as possible. If not, apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for an order for payment of arrears and for termination of the tenancy. The tenants will probably counter with a claim for compensation but they in turn must fulfil their responsibilities to pay rent. The Tribunal will make an assessment and make appropriate orders. You may not be successful in the request for termination unless you can show that the tenants unreasonably withheld at least 21 days’ rent. The agent’s management of your property should be covered by a management agreement which specifies the agent’s responsibilities. If the agent has failed to fulfil their duties under the management contract, you may have recompense from them for your losses arising from that failure. Try to settle with the agent. If you can’t agree, you can apply to the Disputes Tribunal for help in settling that dispute
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