Tenants' objecting to renovations

Alex asks:
(updated on Tuesday, February 22nd 2011)

Our landlord started a huge renovation of the bathrooms. We were told that we will not have a shower over the bath as it gets too expensive, even so we had that feature on since the day we moved in. We are not happy with their decision as we do not feel is fair and we did pointed that we would like to have it back. Do they have any right to do that, to reduce our comfort in any way? The bathroom renovation was due to be done as was a huge leak under the shower. We are really ok with that even so they actually changed everything including toilets and sink, etc. With all the respect of their huge bill for the work, we just want same features there as we found when we rented the house. Are we in the position of asking for that? Really appreciate. Andra and Alex

Our Experts Answer:

Any amendments or variations to a tenancy agreement need to be agreed on by both the landlord and tenant. If your tenancy agreement included a shower which the landlord has removed as part of their renovations, this may be considered a variation of the tenancy agreement which requires the consent of both parties. However, if the shower over the bath was removed and replaced with another shower (e.g. a separate shower), the landlord may have fulfilled their obligations.

If the landlord no longer wishes to provide a shower as part of the tenancy and an agreement cannot be reached, you could apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. As an alternative, you could negotiate a variation to your tenancy agreement with your landlord, such as a rent reduction. To discuss your situation further, or for information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, 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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