Property management dispute
Question from pip updated on 9th September 2019:
My tenant moved on after 10 weeks. I was not privy to her contract until I pressed the management company for it. She wasn't looking after the gardens and never lifted a finger. I subsequently found that although I had signed up for a six week fixed tenancy, she had signed for a periodic. No wonder she treated it like a hotel!
I had spent money, time and effort to have it completely shipshape all for a short tenancy. I would never have gone with them for that. I want my money back (first weeks rent went to them)and the three and a half months rent I was expecting. How would I stand in terms of a dispute and/or at the Tenancy Tribunal? Also, why can't the landlord see the contract at the start to make sure we're on the same page?
Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:
Dispute situations between property managers and landlords, like the one described, are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. The Act covers the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and the Tenancy Tribunal covers disputes between those two parties. The Tribunal does not have jurisdiction for disputes between a landlord and the property manager. This means that the Tenancy Tribunal cannot provide you with a resolution.
With regard to the rights of the landlord and the property manager acting as agent, you should have signed a ‘Residential Management Authority’ which gives the Property Manager the exclusive right to manage the rental property. This document sets out the owner’s obligations and the obligations of the Property Manager. It is likely to have included an obligation for the Property Manager to keep the landlord informed about issues relating to the management of the property.
We suggest you ask for a copy of the Residential Management Authority if you do not already have one. A claim for the situation described could be made through the Disputes Tribunal which can settle claims up to $15,000. However talking through your issues with the Property Manager would be a good first option.
The Tenancy Services website has some guidance for choosing a property manager. For more information on what to look for when choosing a property manager, and other tenancy related issues go to www.tenancy.govt.nz. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here.
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.