Taking vacant possession

Todd asks:
(updated on Wednesday, September 14th 2016)

I am currently the property manager for an elderly lady who is incapacitated in hospital under the PPPR ACT. She is the owner of a property in West Auckland which is currently occupied by her daughter and several boarders who she collects rent off. She does not pass the rent on to me. She also refuses to make contact and is not looking after the place. I need to get her out and sell the house. What rights do I have ? Can I treat her as a squatter and simply take possession?


Our Experts Answer:

The fact that you say you have been appointed as property manager indicates that this is a tenancy situation and not simply family house-sharing or boarding.

Assuming the daughter has a tenancy agreement (written or verbal), you should follow the process that applies to any tenancy. In the absence of an agreement between you and the daughter about vacating the property, the only way for you to get vacant possession is by an order of the Tenancy Tribunal. You cannot simply take possession, even if the daughter was a squatter.

The first thing you should do is issue the daughter a 14-Day Notice to Remedy in respect of her rent arrears. Let her know she is in default. Then, if the amount of arrears amounts to more than 21 days’ rent, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for termination of the tenancy. Once this order is granted, you can enlist the District Court Collections service if necessary to remove the tenant from the property. Once again, there is an acceptable process that needs to be followed.

If you need more information take a look at Tenancy Services’ website www.tenancy.govt.nz.

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