Letting fee refund?

Debbie asks:
(updated on Thursday, March 29th 2018)

My niece and three others moved into a house, the bond and letting fee was split four ways. After three weeks the "head" tenant kicked the three other out. She gave them two weeks notice and returned their bond but not their share of the letting fee, is it possible to get this back after five weeks? And does it come from the "head" tenant or the property management company? I would of thought the "head" tenant should have paid this herself? 

Our Experts Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act applies only to the relationship between tenants and landlords. It does not cover the relationship between tenants and other tenants (those who are named as tenants on the tenancy agreement), or tenants and flatmates (those who are not named as tenants on the tenancy agreement). All tenants named on a tenancy agreement are jointly and individually responsible for the tenancy. So if your niece was a named tenant, she may wish to check with the landlord that her name has been formally removed from the tenancy agreement.

Any disputes between flatmates and tenants, such as return of any monies paid to the head tenant for the letting fee, are not covered by the Act. If your niece was a flatmate (not named on the tenancy agreement) then she will need to seek independent advice from places such as a local community law centre, or the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau regarding available options for resolution, which may include the Disputes Tribunal. For more on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, go to www.tenancy.govt.nz.

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