Reno provisions for tenants

Jenny asks:
(updated on Wednesday, June 10th 2020)

Our rental property has a sleepout that is not compliant, so we are making it compliant. The current tenant will have to move out for approximately three weeks while renovations are completed (ie: firewall, electrical work, insulation, plastering and painting.) There is no room in the main house for the tenant to go.

What are our obligations to the tenant? She will have to move all her belongings out for those three weeks. The electrical work in there currently failed inspection so it will be classified as urgent once council has approved the renovations. We will not charge her rent during the renovations but are we expected to pay for her accommodation while she is not in the sleepout?

 

 

Our Experts Answer:

During a tenancy, if a landlord has plans to renovate the property they must get the tenant’s agreement in writing. If the property needs to be vacated for building work to occur, a landlord must also come to an agreement in writing with the tenant regarding alternative accommodation or a rent reduction/removal for that set period.

As the tenant’s ability to live in the premises will be impacted during this time, both the tenant and landlord need to consider how big the impact is when discussing the arrangement. The landlord is not expected to pay for the tenant’s alternative accommodation unless this is part of the agreement. However, a rent reduction or removal should be considered if you will not be providing alternative accommodation during this period.

Once the period has ended or the work has finished, the rent goes back to the original amount. This is not a rent increase and notice doesn’t need to be provided. It’s worth noting any changes in regard to rent reductions or alternative accommodation are variances to the tenancy agreement and also need to be recorded.

For more information on rent reductions for a specified period or event, go to tenancy.govt.nz/rent-bond-and-bills/rent/increasing-rent/. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here

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