Locked out costs incurred

Question from Lucas updated on 11th November 2011:

I locked myself out of my apartment. I called the apartment manager. She demanded $350 to unlock the door. $350 is extremely expensive compared to any other apartments. I asked my friends from other apartments, they were charged much lesser than mine. $50 seems to the highest amount from what I know. Am I being overcharged? What can I do about this? I have the receipt with me.

Our expert Ben Turner responded:

There is no obligation to un-lock the door for a tenant. Because it is an additional service not required under the residential tenancies act or the lease then the landlord could charge for the service.

But if a tenant believes they are paying too much and a mutual agreement cannot be reached between the Landlord and tenant then the tenant can apply to the tenancy tribunal to deem whether the amount is fair.

If the landlord was coming from Wellington to Rotorua to un-lock a house then the tribunal would take into consideration being charged $350 also if it was an 11pm callout then also would consider that too.

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