Safety compliance

Question from darryn updated on 8th September 2016:

I'm considering purchasing a property that was built in the1960's and had a room added before 1992. This year it had a safe and sanitary report completed on the additional room which, according to what I can find on he Internet, is all that is required.

Is there a need for a code of acceptance or compliance required for builds/mods done prior to 1992? I'm assuming this is normal for older properties where they don't have COA/COC. Are there legal grounds for a tenant to refuse payment in lieu of these certificates?

Our expert Allan Galloway responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord has an obligation to comply with all legal requirements in respect of building, health and safety so far as they apply to a rented premises. To determine whether a property meets the relevant compliance requirements you can check these details with the local council. The council will also be able to provide details on what the current regulations are, and what regulations were in place at the time the renovations were carried out.

Where a landlord is not meeting their obligations under the Act and the appropriate certificates/requirements have not been obtained, the tenant does have an obligation to continue with paying their rent. However, a tenant in this situation may seek a resolution through the Tenancy Tribunal which could include a ‘work order’ (an order requiring the landlord to do any necessary work to remedy the breach), an order for ‘exemplary damages’ (a monetary sum awarded to the tenant should it be deemed that an unlawful act has occurred), and an order for compensation if the tenant is able to demonstrate that they have suffered a loss as a result of the breach.

For further information regarding landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, visit our website at Information regarding a landlord’s responsibilities to provide a safe and healthy home is also available on the website.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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