Unsatisfactory property

Question from sunny updated on 5th December 2016:

I rented a property which had mould and smelled. I did not get a chance to look at the property beforehand as I was moving form a different country. I cleaned up the property but the smell didn't go away. Also, the toilet didn't flash properly and the front door needed new rollers. I told the property manager about the issues but they didn't fix them or talk to the landlord, I moved out and they still want me to pay rent. I feel this is not fair. Should I have to pay rent?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

When you rent a property without having viewed it, you are well advised to have a friend or colleague to view it first on your behalf. If that is not possible, you are taking a risk in signing a tenancy agreement without knowing what the property is like. In short, you have agreed to take the property “as is”.

However, the Residential Tenancies Act tells you what you need to do if your property is unsatisfactory. If maintenance is required and the property manager fails to heed your requests, you should issue the property manager with a Notice to Remedy. If no action is taken, you can then apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a Work Order.

What you should NOT do is move out and stop paying rent. You are obliged to pay the rent as specified in your tenancy agreement, for the duration of the agreement or until a replacement tenant starts paying rent.

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 30 years.

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