Maintenance during notice period
Question from Chris updated on 2nd February 2016:
The tenant gave three weeks notice and vacated after a week. The landlord entered the premises to paint and perform other maintenance. Is the tenant still liable for rent for the remaining two weeks of his notice period?
Our expert Craig Ironside responded:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a tenant is required to give not less than 21 days’ notice to terminate a periodic tenancy agreement. If the tenancy was for a fixed-term (an agreed start and end date), neither party can give notice to end the agreement before the agreed date but the parties can mutually agree to end the agreement earlier. If the tenant vacated the premises before the termination date, they remain the lawful occupant of the premises, as well as remaining liable to pay rent up to and including the last day of the tenancy.
In the circumstances you have described, the landlord would not be able to enter the premises during this time unless they had the consent of the tenant given freely at the time or before the time of entry, or they had given the required amount of notice to enter the premises to conduct necessary repairs or maintenance of the premises. Where a tenancy has been ended by the appropriate amount of notice being given or by mutual agreement, and that date is altered, the new date and reasons for the change should be recorded in writing. If there is an agreement to end the tenancy before the date specified in the notice or agreement and the landlord takes possession of the premises, the tenant would not be liable for rent past that date.
If you need any further assistance or advice please visit our website at www.tenancy.govt.nz or call our Tenancy Advice line on 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.