Listing chattels

Question from Robyn updated on 28th May 2012:

We are new landlords who have recently rented our house. We downloaded the standard Tenancy Agreement from the Department of Building and Housing's website. We listed two items of furniture as chattels but not the curtains in each room, even though these were ticked on the initial property inspection by the prospective tenants. Two questions: 1. When the tenants vacate can they take the curtains if they wish since they are not listed as chattels? 2. We would like to collect/remove one of the items of furniture we listed as a chattel for our daughter's use. Can we do this?

Our expert Megan Martin responded:

Tenants are required to leave all chattels provided by the landlord at the end of the tenancy. If the curtains were not listed on the tenancy agreement at the start of the tenancy and were omitted from the initial property inspection report then you may wish to contact the tenant and arrange to document that fact that curtains were provided as part of the tenancy. You could do this by adding the curtains to the list of chattels on the tenancy agreement and having both parties sign next to the change. This will help avoid any misunderstanding over what was provided at the start of the tenancy and the fact that those items are to be left in the property at the end of the tenancy. Removing chattels that were provided as part of the tenancy such as items of furniture, constitutes a variation to the tenancy agreement and can only be done if agreed to by both parties. Neither the tenant nor the landlord are obliged to agree to any such variation. I suggest you contact your tenants to discuss whether an agreement can be reached regarding the furniture item being removed from the property and excluded from the tenancy. To discuss your situation further or for information about landlord and tenant responsibilities, you can visit the Department of Building and Housing website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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.

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