Tenant's trespass notice

Question from Alan updated on 1st January 1970:


During an onsite meeting with tenants about an issue at the house, one of the tenants became very agitated. When my wife said that she didn’t feel safe we were ordered off the property. The tenants then expressed interest to terminate the fixed tenancy so we later delivered a letter to their letterbox outlining the options they had and the conditions attached to each option. They took exception to this because last night I was served a trespass notice by the tenant. As a landlord I have certain rights of entry to both the section and the house and am wondering where I stand regarding this now. Your advice would be most appreciated.


Our expert responded:

Under the Trespass Act 1980 a person in lawful occupation of the place or land is an occupier. Your tenant, by virtue of lawful possession of your property pursuant to a tenancy agreement, is therefore an ‘occupier’ of your property so has the right to issue a Trespass Notice to you under the Trespass Act.

Under section 48 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 you have limited rights to enter the premises to carry out maintenance and repairs, or conduct inspections as long as you give proper notice to your tenant. You have these rights even if a Trespass notice has been issued. If your tenant is agitated when you contact them you should take care how you communicate that you are still entitled to inspect your property. The Ministry has a self-resolution guide which includes tips for how to talk with tenants to sort things out: http://www.dbh.govt.nz/tenancy-sort-out-problems-self-resolution

Your fixed term tenancy can be ended early by mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant, or by application of the landlord or tenant the Tenancy Tribunal in certain circumstances. Using some of the communication tips from our guide will hopefully help you to discuss the tenant’s interest to want to terminate the tenancy so you can reach an agreement to end the term early without further agitated behaviour from the tenant.

If your tenant has actually threatened to assault you or any member of your family, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for an order terminating the tenancy.

For further information about your rights or ways you can discuss your concerns with your tenant call our contact centre 0800 TENANCY 0800 83 62 62.

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