Tenants' duty of care

Question from Karl updated on 10th September 2018:

What can you do when tenants don't open windows and that is leading to too much moisture inside and then to mould (of course)? We have asked them to do it several times. Also, what can you do when a tenant removes a smoke alarm?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

If mould appears to be developing as a result of a tenant’s failure to take reasonable steps to care for the property you can issue a 14-Day Notice to Remedy. If they fail to take the necessary care (e.g. by opening windows and airing the property), you can then make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal for an appropriate order. You may ask to have the tenancy terminated, or you may ask for the cost of cleaning the mould and addressing the moisture issue.

A landlord is required to ensure that smoke alarms are provided at the start of tenancy, and a tenant is required to ensure that the alarms remain in place and working. Removing a smoke alarm is a breach of the Residential Tenancies Act, section 40(ca). You can notify the tenant of this breach and require that they re-install the smoke alarm.

Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 22 years.

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