Sub-tenancy curtain issue

Chrissy asks:
(updated on Friday, February 20th 2015)

Hi there. I am flatting and renting two bedrooms with a couple who rent the house off their parents (whom are the owners) but I don't have my name on any agreement. I have given notice to my flatmates that I will be shifting out and they have advised me I am required before to pay over $250 for the curtains to be dry cleaned as they apparently had them done before I moved into that room. From my understanding this should not be expected of me as the curtains are a chattel, I always believed it was the landlords responsibility for household maintenance. They had some mould on them when I went into the room and over winter it has become a little worse. The windows are not double glazed so there was a lot of moisture and mildew on the windows. I would understand if I had caused any damage or marked them in some way but that is not the case. This is just general mould that can't be avoided. Advice would be great please.

Our Experts Answer:

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides advice on the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, which applies only to the relationship between tenants and landlords. It does not cover the relationship between tenants (those people who are named as tenants on the tenancy agreement), or between tenants and their flatmates. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your flatmates, you may wish to seek independent legal advice from a lawyer, your local community law centre (www.communitylaw.org.nz), or contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (www.cab.org.nz) regarding your concerns with your flatmates and your options for resolution.

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