Rental arrears issues

Question from Karena updated on 17th January 2018:

Due to my garage flooding my landlord agreed to lowering my rent either until I move or until he fixes the garage. The flooding also damaged a lot of my property in the garage but my landlord has refused to pay for it.

There are a lot of problems so I have served him with a remedy. But now he is hiring property managers to deal with his properties. I am currently dealing with his second property manager and she is taking me to the Tenancy Tribunal for arrears. The arrears come from him changing his mind about lowering the rent to $400 per week until I move to only lowering it to that price for a month and then it goes back up.

Unfortunately, I do not have the texts where he agreed to lower rent until I move. I am livid that he may get away with putting me into significant rental arrears. What can I do in court?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

It appears that your understanding of your rent reduction is different from the instructions that your landlord gave the property manager. If you served him a Notice to Remedy you will have told him what problem he was required to remedy.

But there appear to be three separate issues here. Firstly, your notice to the landlord, then the subsequent reduction in the rent (for whatever period should have been agreed) and then the property manager’s claim for rent arrears.

Keep the issues separate and argue them one by one. Your task in the Tenancy Tribunal is to explain your side of each issue so that the Tribunal can decide a fair result. Your best course is to write down your side of each of the issues, and to have as much evidence as possible to support your argument. Then use your written summary as a guide when you present your case in the Tenancy Tribunal.

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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