What are my obligations in respect to bad tv reception?

Reon asks:
(updated on Wednesday, June 20th 2007)

Hi, I have a tenant in my first rental property in Epsom. All they seem to do is complain. One thing has me stumped, the TV does not get good reception and they keep complaining that I must fix this problem. I have had a TV Aerial Technician come in and they say that I have provided a good working aerial and it is just a bad reception area. Do I have to put a really good aerial in for the tenants or do they have to do something themselves i.e. get an indoor one. Thanks

Our Experts Answer:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 does not specifically address how “facilities” provided by a landlord should perform. However, under section 45 of the Residential Tenancies Act the landlord is required to “provide and maintain the premises and facilities in a reasonable state of repair.” This obligation does not apply to damage to the premises or facilities caused carelessly or intentionally by a tenant or their invited guest(s).

“Facilities” are defined as those provided by the landlord for the use and enjoyment of the tenant, which includes appliances and fixtures such as television aerials provided by the landlord. The tenant can expect that, within reason, the premises and facilities be kept in the same state of repair as when the tenancy agreement was entered into.

If, during the tenancy, the television reception deteriorated due to damage to the aerial (not being damage caused intentionally or carelessly by the tenant), then you, as the landlord, may have an obligation to repair the damaged aerial or replace it.

If you find that you and your tenant cannot agree on the extent to which your maintenance obligations apply in relation to the aerial, either party can take the dispute to the Tenancy Tribunal. Before an application is referred to the Tribunal, a mediation is scheduled to help the parties in dispute to reach an agreement.

If agreement cannot be reached in mediation, the Tribunal will hear the matter and make a decision on the dispute, which will be binding on both parties. An order by the Tribunal can determine if you have met (or not) your obligations as a landlord. For more information on the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants, contact the Department of Building and Housing at 0800 TENANCY (83 62 62) or visit our website: www.dbh.govt.nz/tenancy.

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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