Problem flatmate

Question from Deanna updated on 29th August 2012:

We had a flatmate who was very unreliable with paying her bills. We have ended all things with her but we need her to pay for the half of the bills that she owes. I'm just wondering what the best way to go about this? Take her to small claims is an option as her name is on both of these bills that need paying. She owes us $500 and we dont want to be out of pocket because of her.

Our expert Megan Martin responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 applies only to the relationship between tenants and landlords. It does not cover the relationship between tenants (those people who are named as tenants on the tenancy agreement), or between tenants and their flatmates. I suggest that you seek independent legal advice from a lawyer or your local community law centre regarding your concerns with your former flatmate and your options for resolution.

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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