Unfair 42-day notice?

Question from Clare updated on 1st August 2012:

We received a letter giving us 42 days notice to vacate the rental property we lived in as the landlord wanted to move family into the property. We found another property and moved out. Then 24 hours after we had returned the keys we found out that the owner had placed the property with another rental company and was re-listing it for rent. What are our rights as we had been there two years and really didn't want to move as our family with four young children were happy and settled there.

Our expert Megan Martin responded:

In most cases landlords are required to give 90 days’ written notice to terminate a periodic tenancy, however, 42 days’ notice may be given in certain circumstances (including where the owner requires the premises as the principal place of residence for the owner or any member of the owner’s family). Where a tenancy has ended upon the expiry of 42 days’ notice and the tenant discovers that the reason for the notice may not have been genuine (and that 90 days notice should have been given instead), the tenant should discuss the matter with the landlord in the first instance. If it is determined that the tenancy was ended with insufficient notice, the tenant may wish to request to be compensated for the early termination. If you cannot reach an agreement with the landlord over whether the landlord was justified in giving 42 days’ notice or whether you should be compensated in your situation, you could make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. To discuss your situation further Phone 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) or visit www.dbh.govt.nz for more information.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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