This is just wrong

Russell asks:
(updated on Monday, March 21st 2011)

I had a tenant do a runner owing back rent of approx $1200 plus cost of tidying up the property amounting to a total of approx $1500. The manager lodged it with the tribunal, the tenant did not show, lodged debt with Baycorp. this was on or about Oct 09. I did some of my own investigative work and located the tenants workplace / home address of which I supplied to Baycorp July 10. Tenant gets court ordered to attend an examination hearing, where she cries little money but lots of hire purchases etc, court order of $20 per week, Baycorp collects this and before paying me at the end of the month takes 25% commision +GST. This just wrong and in all corners of this nightmare, all favour is for the tenant. I am sure I am not alone in such a saga, but is there no justice or gain from the courts / management or Baycorp to the landlord and the possible hardship they went through to cover the intial debt the ex tenant left?

Our Experts Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) applies only to the relationship between a tenant and landlord. It does not cover the relationship between a landlord and a property manager, or between a landlord and a debt collection agency.

You may wish to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor or your local community law centre if you have any concerns regarding costs you have incurred (or are still incurring) in relation to your arrangement with your property manager or Baycorp.

The Act has recently been amended to say that the Tenancy Tribunal may make an order for a tenant to reimburse the landlord for any reasonable costs the landlord has incurred in recovering any overdue payments (that a tenant owes as part of a Tenancy Tribunal order), where there is a specific clause in the tenancy agreement that allows this.

Unfortunately this may not assist the situation you have described as the amendment came into effect 1 October 2010. It may, however, assist you with any future tenancies.

To discuss your situation further, or for information about the recent amendments to the Act, you can visit the Department’s website (, 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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