My landlord hasn't lodged my bond, what can I do?

Question from Zephyr updated on 28th May 2010:

July 21st I informed my landlord of a leak in the house, this didn't end up getting fixed till approximately 10th September, we had lost half our lounge and a bedroom because of this. The repair costs I imagine are huge and because of mould growth etc 1 room is still unusable, he did half the job (dried one room professionally,but not the other, it dried itself, but this was walls carpet flooring saturated b4) but keeps saying hes waiting for his insurance company to come through. I've repeatedly asked for a rent reduction to which he says "I'll get on to this and get it sorted today" but again, a week later we just had the carpet people leave yet again saying "we can't finish the job till he pays up" I'm a little concerned also as I have been renting this property for over a year now and he still hasn't lodged my bond. I quite like my landlord, and I don't want to cause problems, but I feel like I'm being taken advantage of. What should I do? I've paid my full rent on time every week.

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Landlords have an obligation to ensure premises are maintained in a reasonable state of repair, and comply with all the relevant health, safety, and building regulations. Landlords also have an obligation to lodge any bonds with the Department of Building and Housing within 23 working days of receipt. Where repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility have not been fixed and where your landlord has not lodged your bond, you can write to them giving 10 working days’ notice to carry out the necessary repairs and to lodge the bond.

You may also include a request for compensation (possibly in the form of a rent reduction) until the repairs are completed, and you have full use of the property. Keep a copy of the letter for your records. You need to allow time for delivering the notice to your landlord. If you hand the letter to your landlord, the 10 working day period takes effect immediately. However, if you drop it in your landlord’s letterbox you must allow an extra two working days, and if you post it to your landlord you must allow four working days.

You can download a template for giving 10 working days’ notice from the Department of Building and Housing’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz). Upon expiry of the notice, if your landlord has not completed the repairs or lodged the bond, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. To discuss your situation further, or for advice and information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

 

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