Tenant doesn't want heat pump

John asks:
(updated on Tuesday, May 28th 2013)

I have had ceiling blanket insulation installed in my investment property (a two-bedroom flat) with the tenant agreeing to this happening. The tenant has a Community Services Card so I qualified for the 60% ECCA subsidy. I also wanted to have a heat pump installed in the flat, but the tenant did not want this to happen. Can I enforce the issue and have a heat pump installed? The rent can't go up for about four months because the tenant has not been in the flat for six months yet.

Our Experts Answer:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 a landlord is required to maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair and carry out any necessary repairs and/or maintenance work as required. Where a landlord wants to carry out work, or install facilities that are not considered to be necessary repairs or maintenance (but rather are seen to be an improvement to the property) the landlord would need to obtain the tenant’s permission to enter the property to carry out that work. Alternatively, a landlord may wish to carry out any improvements to the property that are not seen to be necessary maintenance or repairs in between tenancies. You may wish to point out the benefits to the tenant of having a heat pump installed, noting that it will mean they will have the option of using it if they choose to. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the tenant regarding improvements to the property, or whether the work you wish to undertake is considered necessary maintenance or repairs, you may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter determined. Also worth noting is that when a landlord carries out any substantial improvements or provides improved facilities to the premises during the term of a tenancy, both parties can mutually agree to a rent adjustment. If the parties are unable to come to an agreement, the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a decision on whether an adjustment of rent may be applied. To discuss your situation further, or for information and advice about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Building and Housing Group’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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