Who pays for leaking water?
Question from Nicole updated on 1st May 2014:
I have tenants in our country farm house that runs off a water pump, they told us there was a leak in the shower and we got it fixed. They received a high power bill for that month. Then a few months later they said the leak was back and we then got it fixed again as they had received another huge power bill. This month they have had the same issue with the shower but saying they expect to be reimbursed for the power bill. I understand it is my shower and I do fix it and I understand that the power bills are horrific but who is liable here for this situation?
Our expert Alan Bruce responded:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), landlords are responsible for ensuring the premises are maintained in a reasonable state of repair having regard to the age and character of the premises. Tenants have an obligation to ensure they notify the landlord of any damage to the premises or of the need for any repairs (as soon as possible after discovery). Where both parties have fulfilled their obligations under the Act (e.g. the tenant has notified the landlord of the problem, and the landlord has fixed the problem as soon as they have been made aware), responsibility for costs that are incurred as a result of the problem becomes less certain. If your tenants have incurred additional expenses due to an issue where it can be established that the premises were not sufficiently maintained, they may choose to approach you seeking reimbursement for the additional expenses. It is recommended in the first instance that both parties try to reach an agreement directly. If you are unable to reach an agreement as to where the responsibility for the extra charge lies or the amount of reimbursement, either party may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. To discuss your situation further, or for information about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can visit the Ministry’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) between 8.00am-5.30pm Monday to Friday to speak with a member of our Tenancy Advice team.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.