Our Experts Answer:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), any verbal agreement that forms part of a tenancy agreement can still be enforceable as if the agreement was in writing. The Act also requires a landlord to provide the premises at the start of the tenancy in a reasonably clean and tidy condition, to ensure the premises are maintained in a reasonable state of repair, and to ensure that the premises complies with all of the relevant health, safety, and building regulations that apply to the premises. Where a landlord is in breach of their responsibilities under the Act or the tenancy agreement (e.g. any terms verbally agreed to), and discussions with the landlord have not resolved the matter, the tenant may give the landlord 14 days’ written notice requiring the landlord to remedy the breach. As the notice must be in writing, service times must be allowed for and a copy of the notice retained. A template for 14 days’ written notice and information about service times can be found on the Ministry’s website: http://www.tenancy.govt.nz/pub-sorting-out-problems. If the landlord does not comply with the notice, the tenant can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. To discuss your situation further, or for further information about making an application to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) between 8.00am-5.30pm Monday to Friday to speak with a member of our Tenancy Advice team. You can also visit our website: www.tenancy.govt.nz/tenancy-index.