No letting fee

Question from sammi updated on 19th February 2016:

I have signed a tenancy agreement and paid all the costs. But on moving into the property, I have found it is not 100% healthy and safety. If the landlord agrees to cancel the tenancy agreement, will my letting fee be refunded?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

You have not stated how you conclude that the property is “not 100%”. Did you have medical issues caused by the property condition? Did you have the house assessed as being unsafe? If you decided upon moving in that the house was unsuitable you would have to be able to prove that it was either uninhabitable or substantially different from what you viewed prior to signing the tenancy agreement.

It sounds like you are trying to have the landlord agree to release you from your tenancy. If that occurs you cannot claim a refund of the letting fee.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a property manager or letting agent can charge a tenant a letting fee “relating to the grant or assignment of the tenancy”. It covers the work done and costs incurred by the agent prior to the start of your tenancy. It does not extend into the ongoing period of your tenancy, and is not dependent upon the condition of the property or any subsequent decision to terminate the tenancy. For this reason you have no claim on the letting fee.

Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.

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