Tenant Checking Pre-Tenancy

Question from Lisa updated on 26th May 2011:

I have a tenant who I have discovered has 9 previous tenancy tribunal orders against him. It is obvious reading through the orders that he goes from property to property, says the bond will be by transferred, the transfer never eventuates. Then he doesn't pay rent and waits to be evicted and moves on to the next property.
My question is, when does these continuous multiple breaches with different landlords become a crime? He is lying saying the bond will be transferred from a previous landlord, is there any way a tenant like this can be prosecuted for fraud or criminal nuisance or some other crime to stop him continuing from house to house stacking up more tenancy tribunal orders?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

I am unable to answer your question about whether the tenant’s actions equate to a criminal offence, as this is not a matter covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. I suggest you seek independent legal advice from a solicitor or your local community law centre to determine whether this situation is considered a criminal offence, and what options are available, or pass on any information you have to the police.

Landlords are encouraged to carry out pre-tenancy checks on prospective tenants, which may include: 

• credit checks 

• using the Tenancy Tribunal Orders Online website to see if any previous Tenancy Tribunal orders have been made by or against prospective tenants (www.tenancytribunal.govt.nz) 

• requesting references 

• making the tenancy agreement conditional upon bond and rent in advance being received by a certain date (prior to the tenancy start date)

Landlords can also access a pre-tenancy application form from our website here, and a pre-letting checklist for landlords here. To discuss your situation further, or for information about pre-tenancy checks, you can visit the Department of Building and Housing website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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