Questioning Tenancy Tribunal decision

Mark asks:
(updated on Wednesday, July 23rd 2014)

I have to express concerns regarding Tenancy Tribunal hearings and the knowledge/competency of certain adjudicators. I am currently waiting on a decision from a hearing where the tenant took the property manager and I to the Tribunal due to the property I rented to him being burgled. He claimed the ranch slider that the burglars supposedly gained entry through had an insecure lock and yet at no time prior to the burglary did he or his flatmate ever raise the issue with a lock. The adjudicator seems to be under the impression that while the tenant is responsible for notifying the landlord it falls on the owner to ensure the property was secure. But if I felt it was secure and no one notified me about an apparent unsecure lock then why am I apparently liable? The adjudicator asked me questions that didn't appear pertinent to the lock.

Our Experts Answer:

Section 46 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1896 (the Act) requires the landlord to provide and maintain locks and other devices as are necessary to ensure that the premises are reasonably secure while section 40 requires a tenant to notify their landlord as soon as possible of the need for any repairs. A tenant who feels that their landlord has not met their obligations under the Act may apply to the Tribunal if they feel they have suffered loss as a result of the Landlord not meeting their responsibilities. It is the role of the Tribunal to determine each application brought before it based on the circumstances of each case. If you disagree with the outcome of the Hearing, section 105 of the Act allows you to apply for a rehearing on the grounds that a substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice may have occurred. If you have any concerns regarding the conduct of a Tenancy Tribunal Adjudicator, you can put those issues in writing and forward them to the attention of the Principal Tenancy Adjudicator, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 2124, Rotorua. To discuss your situation further you can call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) between 8.00am-5.30pm Monday to Friday to speak with a member of our Tenancy Advice team. You can also visit our website: www.dbh.govt.nz/tenancy-index.

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