Question from katrina updated on 3rd July 2020:
Our property manager has allowed our tenant to break a fixed term tenancy without ensuring that they will continue to pay the rent until a replacement tenant is signed up and paying rent. REINZ advised that we should try to resolve the situation by talking to the property management company's director. But this is the same person who is our property manager.
We have emailed and phoned her and visited her office to ask for a copy of the paperwork involved. We have also asked her to compensate us in some way for loss of income which to date is $2,750 less the management fee.
Initially, she assured us that rent would be paid until a new tenant was found. However, the tenant stopped paying rent saying he believed he had been told a new tenant had been found and he was leaving early to accommodate this tenant. And, in fact, the tenant left because he had bought another property so hardship was not a reason. Our options seem to be either the Disputes Tribunal or the Tenancy Tribunal. Please advise!
Our expert Bernard Parker responded:
Purchasing another property is not grounds of hardship that would allow the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate a tenancy. The tenant is responsible for rent for the duration of the tenancy. This responsibility is removed when a replacement tenant starts paying rent (not when the outgoing tenant “believes” that a replacement tenant has been found). It would seem that the outgoing tenant left early to live in his new house, not to accommodate a replacement tenant.
I suggest that this provides a clear case of the outgoing tenant’s liability for rent, because he owes $2,750 arrears. It will be for him to convince the Tribunal that he had proof of a new tenant taking on his liability. If the Tribunal rules in favour of the tenant, then the next step would be to claim the lost rent from the property manager. She has failed to enforce the tenancy contract that she was managing on your behalf, thereby causing the $2,750 loss of rent.
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.