Using rental home for business

Question from Todd updated on 23rd January 2017:

My tenant has started a chiropractic business in the property he rents from me.

He never discussed this with me and I prefer that it would not be done, but I did not specifically prohibit such activity in our tenancy agreement.

Do I have a right to request that my property not be used this way? Would I be liable for damages if his patient were injured by his activity?

Our expert Allan Galloway responded:

Where a tenant is using a part of a rental property for a home business, but is still using it primarily as a residence, then they may be within their rights under the Residential Tenancies Act. However, any business activities on the property must be lawful, and the tenant must continue to meet their responsibilities under the Act, such as ensuring they do not interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of their neighbours.

Check with the local council to make sure that the use of the property for a particular business activity complies with local bylaws, council zoning and land use requirements. You should also check whether using the residential property for business purposes will affect your insurance. If you have any concerns about potential liability for the use of the property or professional negligence, speak to your insurer or get independent and expert legal advice.

When you have all the information, discuss the matter with the tenant. If you cannot resolve it, and the tenant is in breach of their obligations, there are steps you can take. To learn more, go to https://tenancy.govt.nz/disputes/breaches-of-the-residential-tenancies-act/. For more on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, visit our website or subscribe to our e-newsletter Landlord News.

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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