Replacing light bulbs

Question from Geoff Hall updated on 19th June 2019:

We have an ongoing problem with a tenant regarding the replacing of light bulbs at the end of a tenancy, prior to re renting the property. Normally a tenant replaces bulbs as required. In this case the bill for three light bulbs is over $ 100. Could you please tell me what is the correct outcome in this type of case?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

Generally a landlord is required to present a property for rent with all lights working. (There may be specific, agreed exceptions, but the normal requirement is for all lights to be working.) In return, the tenant is generally responsible for replacing consumables during the tenancy. This will usually include light bulbs, because a trip to a supermarket is more practical than a callout for an electrician to replace a light bulb.

The more expensive bulbs can become a grey area. They would normally be expected to last for several thousands of hours (depending on the brand), and if they don’t last it can be expensive for a tenant to replace. (It may be that the bulb was very old when the tenancy started.) A happy compromise is often reached by negotiation – a landlord pays for replacing dead bulbs, and a tenant pays to replace missing ones.

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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