Tenancy Expert

Ask Jennifer Sykes, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment questions relating to tenants and landlords

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

Payments from bankrupt tenant?

Phillip asks:

We have had $6,100 awarded to us by the Tenancy Tribunal for intentional damage done to the flat during a tenancy. An attachment order was placed against his benefit and 13 payments have been made. As of 26 March, the tenant has successfully been declared bankrupt and payments have stopped. We have filed a creditor’s claim.

Are there any further steps that can be taken to retrieve these damages? We consider it unfair that a person who incurs debts through purposeful damage to property and who continues to draw an income from a benefit can have this debt cancelled.


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Power responsibilities

Abbey asks:

What are my obligations to a tenant and rights as a landlord in relation to a plumbing issue which resulted in a large power bill? The plumbing issue was a leaky pipe from the hot water cylinder. It was immediately fixed when I was notified. The tenant now expects me to pay the huge power bill they received as a result of the leaky pipe. They have threatened to not pay the rent so they can pay the bill. Am I obligated to pay the bill? They thought they had noticed something not quite right two weeks prior, but only called me when they got their power bill.

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Arranging landlord access

Cassandra asks:

The house we rent is under property management and the landlord has decided that she wants to come in and collect her stuff that is still here. (This is four months after we moved in. We've also been feeding her cats which she hasn't bothered taking and has no intention of taking.) Do we have to allow this if it doesn't suit us? We are out of town the weekend that she wants to do it and we don't want her going through our shed without us here.

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